Practices of Relational Intelligence with Others
The roots of resilience are to be found in the felt sense of being held in the mind and heart of an empathic, attuned, and self-possessed other.
– Diana Fosha
Relational intelligence is a term I use for the people skills that allow us to navigate our world, especially our people world, competently, effectively, skillfully.
Human beings are social beings, evolutionarily hardwired to connect. We are born, raised, schooled, and rewarded or repudiated in kinship families, tribes, societies, and cultures, for better or worse.
We’ve all had the experience of relationships that derail our resilience: we’ve been let down, had our feelings hurt, been betrayed, been treated unfairly. We may be part of communities that have been oppressed and discriminated against or that have oppressed and discriminated against others.
Yet people can also provide both the best refuges and the best resources for healing from any pain we have ever experienced, especially the pain we’ve experienced in relationships.
People can act as genuine refuges, offering respite and sanctuary from pain or grief, especially pain and grief caused by other people. The empathy and understanding offered by compassionate companions allow you to regroup, restore your faith in yourself, in other people, and in life itself again, and recover your resilience.
People can act as resources. You learn response flexibility and recover your resilience from role models, advisers offering wise counsel based on their experience, and from people who provide material resources (such as financial or logistical assistance) or links to those resources. People create safety nets — in families, communities, and societies. Whenever a difficulty or disaster strikes, that safety net is already in place.
Relational intelligence allows our brains to create bonds with others that sustain us through thick and thin. Research show that these bonds provide us with a deeper sense of happiness and well-being than anything else in the human experience. They are among the essential resources that sustain our resilience.
- Deep Listening to Develop Resilience
- Monitoring the Rhythm of Resonance
- Compassionate Companion
- Honoring Shared Humanity
- Reaching Out for Help
- See also Reaching Out for Help
- Circle of Support
- See also Creating a Circle of Support
- Getting the Most Out of a Relationship Workshop
- Comfort with Closeness and Distance
- Communicating without Shame or Blame
- Negotiating Change
- Setting Limits and Boundaries
- Repairing a Rupture
- Walk A Mile in Their Shoes
- Just Like Me
- See also Forgiveness
Additional exercises are available in Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster.