What is emotional competency? It is the ability to get along well with others. Being able to get along with others is an important skill in life. It’s not okay to fly off the handle and verbally unload on another. That is a form of abuse. But not everyone has the competency to keep it together in a group setting. This is a skill we learned back in the sandbox. Can we share our toys, play in harmony and get along with one another? If not, we may have missed some emotional development along the way. That is why I asked the question: Are you emotionally competent?
Kids have to practice at being emotionally competent
I have young children and it’s sometimes difficult to watch them fight. But I have to step back and let them work things out for themselves. Learning how to stand up and advocate for oneself is a necessary skill in life. But sometimes, the situation can escalate and create havoc. Hence, the kids have to separate and the game paused temporarily. As soon as they cool down, they can come back together and resume playing. Sometimes they have to process what happened, sometimes they just move on. Either way, equilibrium returns to normal and we move on.
When I lived in Nashville, I was part of a band which used to tour around town. When we lost our drummer and needed a new one, I suggested that we ask one of the best drummers in town to join us. That suggestion was shot down. Why? Because the best drummer was also a jerk. He was not easy to get along with and none of the other musicians were willing to put up with him. In fact, they let me know that if I was going to hire him, they were out of the band! We ended up hiring someone who was not the best drummer. However, he was willing to practice with us and could get along well with everyone.
Back in the 1930’s, Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart wrote a song for the play, Babes in Arms, called “Poor Johnny One Note.” It was hugely popular, and recorded over and over by huge names in the industry. Including such names as Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald! The song is about a man, Johnny, who was in a band but could only sing one note. He sang so loudly, that it drowned out the other musicians. He couldn’t hear the others because he was too busy singing his one note. In the end, he was alone.
How funny that a song from almost 80 years ago is still relevant. It’s an important reminder in our world today of the importance of not being a “Johnny One Note.” Although we may not be singing in a band, we are present on social media and in our social circles. The question that has to be asked of ourselves is, are we singing or playing so loudly that we don’t hear others? Listening to others viewpoints and opinions is a holy endeavor. There is a great value in learning from another’s perspective, even when we don’t agree with it. It is the first step in cultivating a greater sense of compassion, understanding and grace.
Striving To Grow Spiritually
It’s easy to forget, in life what our true purpose really is. Sometimes we get distracted by the call of material wealth, or the vain pursuit of fame and accolades. However, true peace comes from serving a higher purpose. It may include serving God, or it may just boil down to being a more loving person and serving others needs. Whatever we set our intentions to be, the ability to be kind and gracious to another is truly a spiritual endeavor. Although it’s not easy to hear a viewpoint different than our own – we can train ourselves to do so. It will open us up to greater understanding and a more expanded worldview. And most important: It is a holy thing to be open minded.
What we learn is that we are not right and they are not wrong. We just see the world from different perspectives. Having the ability to see another’s perspective takes patience, willingness and practice. Learning to truly listen – to stop judgment and to stop making another person wrong – is not easy. But it can be done. And when we can actually do so, the result is incredible.
The gifts we receive from getting along well with others and being open minded is three fold:
- Love replaces contempt and fear
- We live in harmony despite having differences of opinion or outlook
- True partnership replaces separation
The journey from being a soloist to being part of the greater ensemble takes time, patience and willingness. Sometimes it feels as if we are back in the sandbox, learning how to share and get along, all over again. But it’s worth it. So take your Tonka truck and shovel and go play with others. It’s good for the soul and it’s good for the spirit. I want to hear your experiences about getting along with others! Feel free to comment or drop me an email.