This year, why not focus on your SQ rather than your EQ or IQ?
Everyone knows about IQ, and most people know about emotional intelligence, (EQ), but how many people really recognize the importance of focusing on their SQ: Soul Qualities or Soul Intelligence.
Today I want to propose the idea that developing your SQ is undeniably the most assured path to happiness and inner peace.
Soul qualities are part of our true nature, also known as our divine nature. They are the qualities that make us virtuous, and help us live an honourable life.
They include qualities such as: patience, understanding, tolerance, self-discipline, kindness, loyalty, forgiveness, generosity, modesty, humility and compassion.
These qualities are universally recognized by all cultures and spiritual paths as basic attributes necessary for our well-being, happiness and sense of fulfillment.
We all know these are good qualities to have and let’s face it we gravitate and seek to be friends with people who possess these qualities.
But how many of us make a concerted effort to achieve and develop these aspects in ourselves, to the same extent that we make the effort to earn a degree, be rich, famous, right, or be fit, and look good?
We all possess the seeds of these qualities within us at birth, but these seeds need to be fostered to germinate. It’s just like language. We are all born with the capacity and potential to speak, but if nobody ever spoke to us, we would not know how to talk. It’s the same with patience, kindness, understanding, and tenderness.
The good news is that even if these qualities have not been fostered in our growing up years, they are never lost; they simply remain under-developed or buried within us, ready to be accessed at any time.
It’s in us to be holy. The message of every spiritual master, discipline and teaching has been the same: they came to give us a path to develop these soul qualities.
Each time we act against our true nature, we are reminded through our feelings of guilt. Guilt is the language of our conscience, and our conscience is the voice of our soul. It serves as our compass to help guide and inform us as to whether we are acting in line with our True Self or not.
Developing our soul qualities is also the unique remedy to overcoming the negative habits, or what I commonly refer to as our “character liabilities”. These are the habits we have developed that overshadow and get in the way of expressing our True Self. These include habits of: selfishness, criticalness, moodiness, defensiveness, rigidity, meanness and stubbornness.
Everyone wants to be happy and feel content. But most people don’t have the right road map to get there.
So this year, why not make an effort to develop better habits of behaving by developing your SQ. Here is one way to do this. One of my favourite Apps helps you track your daily habits. So let’s say you want to work on being more patient. Every night, you can review and ask yourself: how well did I do? And you can then track that on your App. This also helps to remind you daily to pay attention to this new habit/quality you are trying to develop. The only way to change is with practice. Give yourself several weeks, even months to work on one new habit at a time.
We’ve been told that if we focus on our wealth, power, prestige and beauty we will feel fulfilled and content.
However, my experience has taught me that the path to developing happiness, confidence and self-worth is by increasing the expression of our soul qualities, which allows the negative habits to fall away. Rather than constantly focusing on what’s wrong with you, and feeling bad about it, focus on what’s right with you and the potential you have to be better. My favourite analogy for this is: Rather than trying to chase the darkness out of the room with a stick, turn on the light.
You can access these soul qualities in stillness and silence, by reading inspirational books, by being in nature. You can access the goodness in you in moments of tenderness, intimacy and by behaving in ways that you feel truly proud of.
This is the key experience that will produce inner contentment and ultimately relief from anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression are rooted is deep fears, and unproductive habits of behaving that clouds our connection to our true nature.
A great saint once said: “Fulfillment lies in continually improving yourself so that rather than constantly seeking others, others will seek you”
Our true purpose in life is to change ourselves, our way of thinking and behaving so that we may realize and manifest the eternal truths that all great saints and sages have realized themselves.
Does that mean it’s wrong to have ambitions, aspirations and goals to be wealthy, smart or popular? On the contrary, it’s imperative to seek to achieve all our goals and ambitions, and next month I will explain why and how striving for your material goals is critical to developing your SQ…soul qualities.
Claire Maisonneuve, MA.
Registered Clinical Counsellor
Director of the Alpine Counselling Clinic