A Letter from your Minister — October 2020

Minister's Letter

Could a greater miracle take place
than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
~Henry David Thoreau

Dear Folks,

Welcome to a shift in the seasons! Our theme for the month of October is Emotional Intelligence. October is not only Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month; it is also Mental Health Month, and it’s the perfect time (i.e., presidential debates!) to take a moment to assess where you are in terms of both.

While, there are many theories regarding emotional intelligence (and you’ll see some of those in this month’s edition of our Touchstones Journal), the Harvard Business Review* notes that Emotional Intelligence has four domains and multiple “competencies.” It begins with self-awareness then branches out to self-management (emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, and a positive outlook). Then comes social awareness (empathy and organizational awareness), and finally, relationship management which includes things like influence, mentoring others, managing conflict, navigating teamwork, and providing inspiration to others. Can you identify your strengths in these descriptions? Or perhaps areas you’d like to hone?

Social awareness and empathy may be THE keys to living a compassionate life. From a place of empathy, we feel what another being is feeling or experiencing from their perspective. And from a place of compassion, we don’t stop at just feeling; we also take action to offer care to that being (person, dog, toad, cow, anole, bird, cat, caterpillar, etc.). Our UU Principles point out the interconnectedness of all things, and we name the dignity and worth of all beings as one of those 7 Principles as well.

The next month may hold some heightened stressors as we approach the election. We will all need extra doses of compassion. So, be kind to yourself and to other beings as well. Take some extra deep breaths, drink more water, seek out beauty, and take care of yourself with the same compassion you would offer others. Remember that we can affect change both individually and collectively. Think of the narrative you want to help create from a place of love, empathy, and good will.”
May it be so!

~Rev. Mary Frances

The following journal questions are suggested for daily use by the Emotional Intelligence Institute and are designed to enhance one’s self-awareness:

Journaling for Self-Awareness**

“1.What were the highlights of my day? (things to value)
2.What am I grateful for today? (emotional grounding)
3. What did I tell others that I would do for them? (keeping promises)
4. What did I learn about myself today that I hadn’t realized before? (new learnings)
5.What angered or bothered me today? (emotional grounding)
6.How may I have inconvenienced or offended someone today? (amends?)
7.What have I borrowed from someone today that I need to return? (being accountable)
8.What did others borrow from me or say they would do today that I need to remember? (expecting accountable)”

* Goleman, Daniel and Richard E. Boyatzis, HBR, 06 February 2017.

** Touchstones, October, 2020.