I am proud to be a member of TalentSmart, an organization that is celebrating the U.S. federal holiday of Juneteenth. On June 19, 1865, a group of enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned that the institution of slavery had ended two and a half years prior with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln. When the news finally reached this group of slaves, I can only imagine the different emotions that each of them experienced from happiness, sadness, anger, confusion, fear, strength, weakness, joy, and shame.
Has history repeated itself?
As a 54-year-old African American, I have personally experienced many of these emotions myself related to Juneteenth because of a lack of knowledge and teaching on this part of American history. For example, I grew up in California and didn’t learn about Juneteenth until I relocated to Houston, Texas in 2013. I was never taught about Juneteenth in primary, secondary, or higher education! Like the slaves in Galveston, information, knowledge, and policy was not shared or taught to me. In essence, history has repeated itself! I believe that effectively recognizing, understanding, and managing our emotions is critical because our brains are hard-wired to give emotions the upper hand.
As TalentSmart commemorates Juneteenth, we can practice the EQ skill of social awareness by intentionally increasing our knowledge of American history related to this group of people from Galveston, Texas and how important it is to observe, recognize, and understand the emotions, moods, and tendencies of other people, groups, or organizations. One of my favorite EQ strategies of social awareness is “Seeing the whole picture” by deliberately seeking to learn more about a person, group, or organization beyond what is above the surface, or I can see visually. As we seek to develop a new perspective on empathy, author Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart, said, “We need to dispel the myth that empathy is ‘walking in someone else’s shoes.’ Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it’s like in your shoes and believe you even if it doesn’t match my experience.” In conclusion, social awareness allows us to see the whole picture, better understand others, see and seize opportunities, and communicate!
Better EQ leads to better lives!!