Surviving & Thriving with EI: Family Edition – Social Awareness

In the last post, we talked about ways to think through the four core motivational drivers and make a plan as a family. Today we will focus on communicating your needs and listening to theirs in order for everyone to be both seen and heard. As discussed in our last post, this is essential to do not only as a personal reflection exercise, but also as a tool to build social-emotional skills for our children. This is an excellent character development opportunity for kids to do their own social-emotional learning and build skills in advocating for what they need as well.

Once we’ve built our self-awareness and developed ways to self-manage - we are ready to do our “other” work. This other work comes in the form of connecting and seeing what the needs are of those we love.  What does everyone need from each other and how can we all support each other to get what we each need?

Create The Conditions For Thriving

Bring everyone together and share that you are going to have a family conversation in which you all will better understand what each person needs to thrive and “live their best life” right now and beyond. Our number one goal while listening to others is to really affirm and champion each other's goals. Make each other feel heard and seen.

Social-Awareness Application:

Being Seen Clearly: Communicating Your Needs

“Ask not, get not,” the saying goes. We often don’t get what we need because we haven’t told anyone what we want and need in order to thrive. This leads to resentment and frustration; however, most often it is self-inflicted. You may not be clear about what you need, or perhaps what you need changes day to day - that’s ok. The goal is to identify some of those needs, not all of those needs. Think, the “good enough” list and not the “perfect” list.

To help us reflect on our needs, there are two questions we ask ourselves:

  • What is your ideal version of the next several months, in which you feel calm, grounded, positive, connected to your family, and generally good about yourself?
  • What is your worst case scenario of the next several months, in which you feel lonely, depressed, suffocated by your family, bad about yourself, and generally stir crazy?

Seeing Others Clearly: Identifying And Listening To The Needs of Others

Seeing others clearly is hard, especially if there are things getting in our way of seeing and hearing them. Do we have too much on our plate right now and that’s making it hard to focus on their needs? Maybe there is a lot going on at home, work, or school. Managing ourselves and our life right now can be difficult.

To help us reflect on the needs of others, there are two questions we ask ourselves:

  • Where is my partner, child, and/or loved one emotionally? 
  • Where do they want to be?

As you continue on in your week, notice how aware you are of others and where they are in relation to where they want to be. Now that we are aware of where each of us is, our next post will focus on relationship management and ways to meet each other’s needs.

If you are looking for more ways to build your emotional intelligence, here’s a free resource on “The Science of Well-Being” from Dr. Laurie Santos at Yale University.