We humans are wired to believe that everything we think is right, to defend our self-images, and to divide the world into “we” and “they.” Yet the fact is, we perceive only what our brains have been trained to notice, what fits into our systems of thinking. Often our defense of our self-image blinds us to truths we would otherwise find important. And our tendency to we-they fools us into thinking we have enemies when we have common goals and values. It’s very hard to see beyond our own perceptual boxes, and to pull back and examine our defensive reactions and our strong biases for those like us and against those not like us – or for those who agree with us and against those who disagree with us.
Some twenty years ago, Daniel Goleman introduced the idea that “emotional intelligence” is at least, if not more, important than cognitive intelligence in overall human success. His research demonstrated that four emotional intelligence skills were critical not only to career success, but to personal happiness. Those skills are: 1 – being aware of one’s own emotions – knowing one’s hot buttons and where they come from; 2 – the ability to manage those emotions so they don’t manage you – being able to actively choose one’s responses in the moment based on chosen long-term goals, such as maintaining a relationship; 3 – understanding others’ emotions – reading people, understanding where they are coming from and what they care about and why, and being able to empathize with them; 4 – being able to use the other skills to create trusting and satisfying long-term relationships and, especially when one is a leader, being able to create effective teams and environments. While further research has demonstrated the interconnections between cognitive and emotional intelligence, as well as the roles of expertise and personality in success, training in these emotional intelligence skills has improved leadership and relationships in organizations. These skills are important tools in our efforts to stretch beyond the reactivity of our “subliminal” brains – so wired for survival in a world of threat, and so inappropriate if we want to evolve into a world of compassion and cooperation.
Interestingly, despite recognition of the power of emotional intelligence, it is still seldom taught in schools or other organizations. Even so, most of us know that these skills are fundamental to success and happiness, and have developed many of them. Although they do often come with age and experience, we all can get better at them. And they are directly connected with our efforts to live our UU values and grow spiritually. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the opportunity to learn and practice these skills within our own congregation?
Recognizing the power and complexity of our and others’ perceptions and emotions is an important part of building trust and harmonious relationships. Our Right Relations training sessions will be grounded in these skills, and build on them with practical applications and exercises to enhance our ability to understand and communicate with each other, and to resolve conflicts in ways that honor each other and preserve relationships and community.
Please bring your full selves to our sermon and two training sessions – you will learn concepts and skills that will help you in all the relationships in your life.
Please plan to attend!
Right Relations Sermon
Sunday, September 24, 10:00 a.m.
In preparation for our upcoming workshop on Right Relationships we will dive into the many aspects of relationship, communication, respect, and care for self and others. One of life’s great opportunities for purpose and meaning comes with being able to be in right relationship with ourselves and others.
Building Trust and Understanding
Saturday, October 14, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This session features an internationally-known expert, Lee Mun Wah of Stirfry Seminars and Consulting, in developing healthy ways of communicating across all types of disagreements and differences – and we have many in our congregation! Lee Mun Wah specializes in breaking down barriers between people, and in introducing and practicing skills to build trusting and understanding relationships.
Saturday, November 4, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
This session features the Dispute Resolution Center of King County, a local organization known for developing experts in conflict resolution and mediation across the County. We’ll learn and practice the skills professionals learn – how to discern different conflict styles in ourselves and others, and how to meet our various needs and interests in a collaborative way.
It is important to attend BOTH sessions, but if you cannot, attend what you can.
Please register online or in the lobby after church on September 10, 17, 24, and October 1, 8. ESUC Members and friends – $10; UU members of another congregation-$20; Non-UU folks-$30
These are the fees for attendees. If you are unable to pay, you are welcome to attend. If you are able to pay more than one fee to help offset the cost, please feel free to do so.