Understanding LQ as it relates to IQ and EQ is simple. LQ refers to the intelligence of the heart. It is one’s ability to be kind and compassionate to self and others. LQ begins where EQ ends. It is the next evolutionary step in the intelligence paradigm and in some ways LQ may be more important to our development than either EQ or IQ.
If someone has a low IQ, or a low EQ, they can still learn to love themselves and in turn to be more kind and loving to others. We all know of that one person in our lives, who is not book smart, or street smart but has a heart of gold.
Which person would you rather be around? Someone who is has a high IQ but is not very kind, someone who has a high EQ, but uses that knowledge to manipulate others in a self-serving way, or someone who displays emotional maturity in a kind and loving way?
That is the power of LQ. It is the magnetism of the human experience and as we will explore so much more.
The Misuse of Emotional Intelligence and What It Looks Like When We Operate Without Love
EI and its application has had a great impact on our society, in schools, in our personal lives and in business. However without love and kindness (LQ) there can be a tendency to use a high EQ in a self-serving or selfish way.
At times for some who have a highly developed EQ and are adept at reading the emotions of others, they could use that knowledge in unhealthy ways to manipulate others. Developing LQ and really loving oneself deeply, with the intention to be kind and loving to others will lessen the impulse to operate in a way that serves oneself exclusively.
High EQ without a high LQ inhibits our ability to create mutually beneficial solutions. When we have a high LQ, we will work to find a solution that not only fully benefits ourselves but also benefits all parties involved in the interaction. Stephen Covey, in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, refers to this type of transaction as a win/win situation. When we combine EQ with LQ, we approach situations from a loving place, our endeavors become more meaningful and we are more easily able to create universally beneficial solutions that not only serve our best interests but the interests of those around us.
EQ has been used very effectively to manage conflict, but without high levels of LQ it can be difficult to fully feel the negative emotions that arise as a result of conflict. Without love we may find ourselves being defensive or we may operate from a place of fear. When we operate from a place of fear or defensiveness in managing conflict, it typically causes the other person to respond in turn, also operating from a place of fear, thus creating a less than optimal interaction.
When we operate from a place or fear or scarcity there is often a lack of internal love and safety in the body. When we feel safe in our bodies, we are able to deal with negative emotions as they arise and to move through them using positive self-love techniques.
Without love, vulnerability, which is the magnetism of human connection, will be avoided, feeding into the tendency to mask or hide how we really feel. Even though we may have an awareness of what those emotions are and how to communicate about them, we don’t feel safe enough to be vulnerable, thus we mask, avoid, hide or escape being with or communicating to others how we really feel.
While EQ is a function of the mind and body, being both physical and intellectual, LQ is a function of the heart. LQ is the energy or fuel that empowers and enlivens our EQ through our intuition. When LQ is present, a different set of neuro-chemical reactions come into play.
Taking a Broader View of Love
Understanding LQ requires that we open our minds to the possibility that our ability to give and receive love may be an indicator of the quality of our lives and the many complex relationships in it. Really, LQ is about opening one’s heart. It goes beyond the mind and that is why for many it is intellectually elusive or inaccessible.
Social psychologist Barbara Fredrickson frames the idea of love most aptly in her 2013 book Love 2.0. Fredrickson asserts that many of us are clueless about love. We think about love as finding that one special person and we reserve love for a small group of family and friends. She encourages her readers to look instead at the science of love to expand our understanding of it. Fredrickson promotes the idea that love is neither in the head nor in in the loins. It is in the heart.
Quoting Fredrickson’s TED talk from Jan 2014, she says:
“When you really connect with another person a beautifully choreographed biological dance is unfolding. As your smiles, gestures and postures come to mirror one another they come into sync but when you’re really connecting with somebody else your heart rhythms come into sync, your bio-chemistries come into sync, even your neural firings come into sync. It is as if in that single moment a single positive emotion is rolling across two brains and bodies at once creating a momentary resonance of good feeling and goodwill between you. As you have more of these micro moments of goodwill in your daily life, it changes you for the better not just socially and psychologically but also physically.”
While it is interesting, it is not surprising to learn that there is a biological basis for the feel-good factor of loving interactions.
Frederickson goes on to discuss how these micro moments of goodwill can contribute to better health and happiness. She encourages us to “exit our cocoon of self-absorption” and “look for opportunities to love”.
So how do we “exit our cocoon of self-absorption”? When we are operating from a lack of love, we can find ourselves stuck in a cocoon of self-absorption. We become selfish and are focused only on feeding our ego or identities i.e. “who we think we are”. This is because we are not truly loving our inner self or inner child.
We seek to feed a part of ourselves that has been built to protect the inner child who is craving and calling out for love, but we end up missing the mark. When we shift our focus to loving our inner child, we free ourselves of selfish tendencies and feel safe to exit the cocoon of self-absorption. That is a critical component of building one’s LQ.
Being kind and loving to others can be quite effortless. Once we begin to love our inner child looking for opportunities to love others becomes much easier and more sustainable. Has it ever felt like a drain to you to be kind and loving toward others? That’s most likely because you haven’t loved yourself sufficiently or have not developed a loving relationship with your inner child.
Our ability to love can come from a natural place. When we have so deeply loved ourselves, loving others becomes a natural expression of the love that we have expressed toward ourselves. In loving others it also fuels our love for ourselves and a loving momentum is created. It starts with loving ourselves, and then loving others, which in turn fills us up, it becomes cyclical.
Furthermore, we could just love ourselves and still be loving when we interact with others but I think that when we set the intention to deeply love ourselves and to deeply love others, then that intention puts the love that we’ve been giving ourselves into action for others.
How Does LQ Empower EQ? My Observations
Let’s begin with a quick recap of EQ. Emotional Intelligence or EQ is said to describe how well we handle ourselves and our relationships. Paraphrasing Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, the crucial skills that people with a high EQ exhibit may be described as follows:
- Self-awareness is knowing how you are feeling, why you feel the way you do making good decisions through self-awareness.
- Self-management pertains to handling your distressing emotions effectively. It means becoming attuned to your emotions so that you can manage yourself better.
- Motivation involves marshaling positive emotions and aligning your actions with your passions.
- Empathy is knowing what someone else is feeling or being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
- Social skill involves putting all that together in skilled relationships.
EQ can be increased through a better understanding of our own and others emotions and how to navigate them for increasingly effective relationships. Like EQ, LQ can be learned or developed. As suggested above, by increasing our LQ, we can transform our relationships into a loving, life-giving source of energy and strength. As we develop our LQ, it can have a direct impact on our EQ development.
LQ and Self Management
Self-management is no easy feat. Often, we react emotionally in unhealthy or unproductive ways to a situation either because we are emotionally depleted or because we come at a situation from a place of fear or anxiety. Taking the time to love ourselves can be very emotionally grounding. It enables us to approach interactions from a place of emotional abundance where feelings of fear and anxiety have been greatly reduced or may no longer even be present and if they are can be felt from a place of internal security.
LQ and Empathy
Another area in-which LQ and EQ overlap is empathy. In EQ empathy is increased through an awareness of another person’s emotions. However the depth to which empathy can actually be experienced is limited by how deeply we have loved our inner self. When we have loved ourselves very deeply it increases our capacity to empathize.
Here is a great way to think about it. Stephen Covey uses the analogy of an emotional bank account. Just like a real bank account we can’t spend funds unless we have them and if we spend more than we have, we get overdrawn and slapped with penalties. Our emotional bank account works the same way. Most of us fill up our emotional bank accounts from external sources. Our accomplishments, the praise we receive from others, the love we receive from our partners, friends, kids, etc. In this way, we become dependent on others to fill up our emotional bank account because we haven’t learned how to be the source of our own funds, i.e. love or emotional fulfillment.
Through self-love practices and other ways of increasing our LQ we not only fill up our emotional bank accounts we actually expand its capacity! As we fill up our emotional bank account and expand our capacity to love, we deepen our ability to empathize with others and in so doing we can more fully use the emotional intelligence we have learned from EQ.
LQ and Self Awareness
Developing self awareness helps us to better understand what motivates us. One of the most effective ways to increase self awareness is through meditation. However meditation can be difficult for those who have trouble staying still for extended periods of time. For many, it can be very challenging to just sit quietly and breathe. This is caused by an over stimulated nervous system and usually a discomfort in stillness or a fear of being with oneself. Techniques such as the ‘I love you’ practice help us feel safe in our bodies so that we have the ability and a greater capacity to meditate. Love opens the door to greater self awareness. This is another direct way in which increasing your LQ will directly impact your EQ development.
LQ and Motivation
Self awareness and motivation are inextricably linked. We must know ourselves to understand what drives us. Meditation or self reflection leads to greater self awareness. When we develop a loving relationship with our inner self, we create a new dimension for self reflection. We begin to understand the unfulfilled desires of the inner child and by loving and “consulting” our inner child we can gain deeper insights into what really motivates us.
One of the results of increasing our LQ is being able to show up in a more loving way. Our motives will thus be less selfish, more compassionate and geared towards mutual benefit. As we know mutual benefit is one of the most sustainable paradigms for any relationship. Regularly aligning our motives to our actions ensures steady and ongoing progress as well as feelings of fulfillment in any endeavor, be it personal, professional or commercial.
Tying it all Together
When we deeply love our inner self we become more emotionally grounded and have a greater capacity to empathize. We have a deeper sense of self awareness and are better able to understand what motivates us. In developing a more loving relationship internally, the external manifestation of that love shows up in improved social skills and more fulfilling relationships. Furthermore, when we have loved ourselves fully, relating to others in a kind and loving manner becomes instinctive and effortless.
Increasing your LQ will open the door to more easily developing your EQ. LQ is more than a framework for smoother social or commercial interactions; it is the impetus for creating new energy. The spark that ignites powerful and productive collaboration.
We would love to hear from you. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.
I will be delving deeper into each aspect of EQ and how LQ helps to unlock EQ. Watch this space for regular articles about LQ and its many applications.