|EQI.org Home |
More About This Site and Steve Hein
When I started the web page I had a large unmet need for self-expression, self-acceptance, and self-knowledge; and for connection with other people on a personal level -- people who would relate to what I have been through and who would offer me some emotional support. The site offered me a chance to share very private thoughts, feelings, beliefs and experiences with anyone who took the time to read what I wrote in my online journal. A few people were very understanding and supportive, which I will always appreciate.
I have taken most of the personal information off now, but below are a few other things which may interest you about me and my ideas.
Other EQI.org Topics:
|Why I Do This Website
The beginning of the site - a little history
A friend of mine created a website for me in 1996. She had just taken a class on HTML and I had just written my book. She wanted to help me promote the book while she practiced her web-making skills. She did this voluntarily, and even without telling me till she was almost done, something I still appreciate.
Later I decided I needed to be able to make changes myself instead of relying on her so I created a new site. I chose the name EQI.org because I had a vision of setting up something called the The EQ Institute. At this point "EQ" is not being used much to refer to emotional intelligence and there is still nothing which could be called an institute, so I have moved away from using that name.
At first the site was largely a place for me to express my thoughts and feelings about whatever was on my mind. It was much more personal than it is today. I had, for example, a list of the things in my car and the books on my bookshelf. I had copies of love letters from and to old girlfriends. I also wrote about my family and shared more personal stories about them while I was going through an extremely emotionally intense period of my life.
This period was the time just after my second divorce --a time of heightened awareness and intense striving to understand life. During this period I saw things about my family which had always been there but I had never noticed. I gained more awareness and understanding than my family could accept, at least when I tried to share it with them. I realized I felt judged, mocked, disapproved of, lectured to, advised, controlled, under-valued, under-estimated, misunderstood, invalidated and unaccepted.
So I began to separate myself from them. I stopped going home for family holidays, stopped writing and stopped calling. For about three years I had almost no contact with them. Just a month ago (April 2001) I saw most of them again in Indiana, USA. Things went better than I feared, but I again saw signs of how I was emotionally abused/damaged.
Back when I was going through this period of change in my life I was writing about it as it happened on my site. Not many people were visiting my site then, but of those who did, many were relating to me on a personal level, sharing their stories of how they were abused or what kinds of relationship problems they were having. Later people started to write more about their dissertations and research projects than about their personal lives. But this trend has now reversed so it is more personal again as of this edit in 2011.
One motive for writing on my site in the earlier years was to express my deepest beliefs. I saw things which I felt a need to speak out about and I sometimes feared that I might die before ever releasing these things from the depths of my mind. So after I had satisfied most of my need for self-expression, my needs slowly changed. I began to feel more of a need to help the world on a larger or at least different level. I started putting notes from books I had read on my site. I reasoned they were not doing much good sitting on my hard disk.
Somewhere along the way I put my notes to Dan Goleman's book, "Emotional Intelligence" on my site, and I shared my criticisms of the book. I also started writing reviews of other websites which were on, or claimed to be on, emotional intelligence. I thought these were the kinds of things which would be helpful to the public.
Contacting Peter Salovey and Jack Mayer
By this time people started asking me questions, as if I were some kind of authority in the field. They would also ask me things like, "How do I reach Peter Salovey?" So at some point I contacted Peter and asked how he would feel if I put his email address on my site. He wrote back a very open, very personal note and said he would rather I didn't because he was already getting something like 100 or 150 emails a day. He did offer to put together a list of the papers which he and his colleague, Jack Mayer, had written.
Shortly after that, Jack put such a list together. It can still be found on my site, but it is a bit outdated now. I corresponded a few times with Jack regarding the list, pointing out what I thought were a couple of small typing errors, for example. I also asked Jack to read something I had written about the history of the term emotional intelligence and he shared his feedback openly. At one point Jack mentioned that I had reversed his name and Peter's on an article which he had done the most writing for. It was on my review of the Salovey/Sluyter book for Amzon.com. I apologized to Jack and contacted Amazon and asked them to correct my review. I then asked Jack how much he forgave me between 0 and 10 and he wrote back and said 10 and explained why. This impressed me and since then my impression of him has continued to climb.
I found Jack and Peter to be very "real" people. I was also impressed when Jack told me he wanted to make sure people were not giving him and Peter credit for coining the term emotional intelligence, as Time Magazine mistakenly had reported. (A mistake which many people continue to make.) Jack, in fact, has gone to considerable length to find other uses of the term emotional intelligence prior to his and Peter's use of it in 1990. His humbleness touches me and inspires me.
Having more academic content
At one point I contacted Neal Ashkanasy with EMONET and asked if they might include a link to my site. Neal checked with some other EMONET members and said they were not quite comfortable with that. I felt a little resentful of this at the time, but I also felt motivated to make my site more academic, partly so I might one day be included on their list of links. (Which I now am!)
At around the same time I began to pay closer attention to what Jack Mayer was writing in his academic journal articles. I say Jack because he has done the lead writing since 1990, though Peter and David Caruso generally all contribute.
I began to see how Goleman had misled me and how he was misleading others. This offended my sense of truth, so I began to speak out against Goleman. Moreover, my sense of justice was offended by how Goleman was profiting from the work Mayer and Salovey had done without giving them due credit or sharing his new wealth with them.
Partly because of these feelings I wanted to help increase the exposure of the scientific papers which Jack and his colleagues were writing. I knew most people either didn't have access to them, or didn't have time to try to figure them out. I appointed myself as something of a translator or interpreter between the scientific journals and the public. I have also criticized the scientific papers when I saw fit, and made suggestions on how they could be improved. Recently I have been extremely pleased to discover that some of the scientific researchers have actually read my reviews, have given some thought to my suggestions, and have agreed with some of my ideas. This has helped inspire me to continue doing my best with this website.
My current motives
At this point, I have several motives for maintaining my site.
First, I want to continue to bring more truth to the field of EI. Second, I want to provide a public service by my reviews and commentary. Third, I want to share my own ideas on emotions and emotional intelligence. Fourth, I want to influence the most influential people in this field. In some cases I want to support the work they are doing, in other cases I want to influence them to reconsider their approach. Fifth, I am still doing this to fill some of my own unmet needs to feel valued, influential, recognized, known, respected, admired etc. Sixth, doing this work continually educates me and helps with my own personal growth. Seventh, there are a few children and teenagers who I feel a responsibility towards to try to do what I can to lower the incidence of child and teen abuse, particularly emotional abuse since that is the kind I am most personally familiar with.
The final reason I am doing this is even more personal. As I have written about briefly, my oldest brother has been labeled manic-depressive or bipolar. He was my strongest ally and my most faithful protector when I was growing up in what I consider to be an emotionally dysfunctional family. I firmly believe that if he would have not been so emotionally damaged by my mother and father -- in particular if he had not been so invalidated and emotionally manipulated by my mother, and not been so frightened by my father - - he would not need to be on the medication he is on today. He is not dead, but a part of him has been killed by that medication, and it is a part I miss- a part I loved. So in a way I am doing this for him, especially that part of him that I am unlikely to ever see again.
My brother is probably a genius level in terms of IQ and he probably was an exceptionally emotionally intelligent child as well. But his emotional development was terribly damaged, not only by my parents, but by the American society in which he was raised. He was at Cornell University during the Vietnam war. Cornell was one of the hotbeds of protest against that war. It was there that the students took over the school president's office, for example. I have never spoken to my brother about his activism during those years, but I know he had strong feelings against the war. I believe any sensitive human being would.
(It has been hard to hold the tears back as I write this. Actually, there is no reason to hold them back. Well, I guess there is a reason. So I can get through writing this and get it posted.)
In conclusion, I firmly believe that what the real researchers are doing, (and I do want to give some credit to Dan Goleman for bringing them to my attention) is of utmost importance. I also believe my own ideas and experiences have value to the world. I have seen firsthand the results of emotional damage to children. We were not physically or sexually abused in our family. But our parents did not value our feelings. This, I realize, is because when they were children, their feelings were not valued. As Salovey and Mayer explained back in 1990, and as Wayne Payne wrote about in his dissertation before that, society in general has undervalued the role of emotions and emotional processing. This has been the case for thousands of years -- much to the detriment of humanity, or at least individuality.
I see the work of Jack Mayer and his colleagues as potentially the most important research of the millennium. I do not want to see it discredited by those who have exploited it for their own personal gain. I want to see it form the basis of a new, healthier way of looking at ourselves and our life together on this planet. And I want to help create that new vision, and live to see us making progress towards it.
After my divorce I entered a new stage of my life. A stage where I began questioning things. I wanted to find out why the American definition of material success had not worked for me. I wanted to find out how I had become so miserable. I wanted to find out why I kept pushing away people that I wanted close to me, including two more women within the next year and a half.
Because I had saved enough money to live for a few years without working, I had a lot of time on my hands to think. I also did a lot of reading, observing and journal writing. Between 1995 and 1999 I wrote over 2,000 pages in my personal journal, in fact. In this time I questioned the meaning of life in general and my own life in particular. The more I studied the more I became aware of the many forms of abuse in the world. I got involved in volunteer social work and saw even more abuse of every kind. I have had direct experience with rape victims, suicidal teenagers and adults, sexually abused children, and abusive parents. And I myself was sexually abused when I was a teenager, something which still troubles me for several reasons which you can read about in my abuse story.
There came a time when I felt so overwhelmed by my thoughts and the pain I felt from the troubles in the world that I even briefly considered what religion -- both eastern and western -- might have to offer me. From my study of western religion I have concluded it is generally a very unhealthy and dysfunctional belief system based on fear, judgment, appearances, rituals, dogma, mythology, superstition and external rewards and punishment. I got a little more out of eastern belief systems, and I even tried meditation once or twice, but I concluded I must find my own way.
In my thinking I kept returning to nature and reason to try to find answers, since they seemed to offer me the best hope of coming up with something I could accept as my own belief system. One night I was feeling especially hopeless and directionless. I asked myself what was it that nature wanted from me. I wondered what was keeping me alive and why I hadn't decided to end my life. At the same time I was thinking in terms of what is the most powerful force in nature and evolution. The answer to all my questions was survival and the survival instinct.
I reasoned that once I was born, nature wanted me to live. To kill myself would be the exact opposite of the path nature wanted me to follow. So it was clear to me that my first mission or purpose was to take care of my health, both physical and mental.
More than that I realized that nature's larger goal, for lack of a better word, was the survival of the species. Once I had taken care of myself, or perhaps at the same time as I was taking care of myself, nature it wanted me to contribute something to the survival of the species. I wondered briefly if the survival of the planet was perhaps a higher goal still, but then I realized that if the earth were to be threatened by something like a meteor explosion or a change in the orbit around the sun, we humans would abandon the earth if it meant the survival of the species, and that this would be exactly what nature would "want" us to do.
So to me it seems that nature has developed feelings to guide us toward its goal of survival of the species. To put it very simply, when we are in harmony with this goal we feel happier. We feel more content, more inner peace, more fulfilled. Or at least I do. I believe if we can figure out the general direction of evolution, and then align ourselves with that, everything will be easier. For example, it seems clear that increasing intelligence is part the general direction. I believe increasing independence and freedom is also. I would also guess that cooperation is in line with the future trends. Whether we are becoming more emotionally intelligent or less so is anyone's guess, but I can see how it could contribute to a more evolved species.
As I thought about nature I began to wonder what our natural emotional needs are. I knew that one of our strongest needs is to be accepted. I reasoned that this is because a baby instinctively knows that if it is rejected by parents it will die. I realized that in prehistoric times if a person was rejected by a tribe in the jungle or desert that person would soon die as well. Thinking both of a baby and of a member of a tribe I realized that other emotions were related to acceptance and survival. For example, in a tribe or prehistoric family if you weren't important or valued or needed or helpful or appreciated, you ran the risk of being left behind. At the same time if you had needs it was necessary to communicate those needs to the others. If you tried to communicate and you weren't understood, or heard, or important enough for anyone to listen to you, then you again faced possible death. But how did you know if you were important or understood or needed or helpful? I propose that you know through your feelings. In other words, your feelings were the first signals that you were either important to the group or not. Especially before humans could verbally communicate, I suspect that one knew one's place in the group through one's feelings. I reasoned that one also communicated one's needs through one's expression of emotion. For example, if one was in pain, one made a crying sound for help, or even a facial expression as a plea to others. I suspect that the better one was at feeling and expressing feeling, the better their chances of survival. This, I suspect, is the foundation of emotional intelligence.
The more I thought about our feelings, the more I realized they were like gauges telling us whether we had enough, too much or just the right amount of any number of things. For every basic feeling it seems there is an ideal amount. For example, when we feel lonely we don't have enough company. When we feel crowded we have too much.
There are a couple of other things I concluded about our emotions and society. First, it became clear to me that each one of us is born with a different set of emotional needs. I may need more privacy than you and you may need more than someone else. Second, while living in the USA I realized that it was not unmet physical and material needs which were causing all, or many of, the problems there. To me, it seems that the problem is what I will call unmet emotional needs. In the future I plan to write more about this, but for now I will just say I see a lot of adults in the world who are still trying to fill their childhood emotional needs to feel accepted, important, approved of, in control, etc. If we ever want to make serious improvements in society, therefore, I believe we need to address the unmet emotional needs of both children and adults.
That is the foundation of my personal belief system. Along with this I believe that children are born with the potential to contribute to the species. It is up to the adults to develop this potential. A very large part of that, I believe, is the development of a child's innate emotional intelligence. I discuss the importance of this in more detail on my parenting page.
|More about how I got into EI work
People often ask: How did you get interested in emotional intelligence?
Simply put, it was my trouble with relationships which lead to this work and this web page. Once I started looking at myself I got interested in the whole area of families, psychology, parenting, education and realized that I grew up in a highly intellectual family that didn't talk about feelings, and where my mother's unmet emotional needs set the tone of the house.
I realized that coming from such an environment I would never tell people how I felt using feeling words. Instead I would just tell them what I thought, and I was quite good at analyzing other people. The problem was, I didn't take a look at myself. I would blame my girlfriends for my negative feelings. I really thought it was their responsibility to make me happy. I did fine in my business life and academic life, but my personal life was really a mess.
Then in about 1994 I decided there were enough computer consultants in the world and I would permanently get out of the business and do something more worthwhile. Not long after that the book "Emotional Intelligence" came out & I got really interested in the topic & have been ever since. A lot of what the book made sense and fit with my own experiences and observations, even though I now realize it wasn't all actually part of emotional intelligence, as the serious researchers are defining it.
Looking back, I am trying to remember some of the more specific things that happened to bring me where I am today. I remember visiting a highschool counselor who was a friend of the family. I told her of my desire to help teenagers. She gave me a book called "Peer counseling," by Gary Myrick, which had a list of feeling words. There were about 50 or so, separated into categories of positive and negative. I immediately started adding words to the list & have never stopped. Now my list is over 1500 and I am quite proud of it. I remember how proud I felt when Norma Spurlock in a training course she was giving said "This is Steve Hein, he collects feeling words."
Once when I had just started dating someone, I gave her a one page list of feeling words. I asked her to circle all the ones she felt when she was with me. As she went through the list I learned more about how she felt than I had in the two weeks or so that we had been going out. She circled words like "accepted, honored, and sexy." I asked her why she circled honored and she said because I had chosen to spend time with her. Without this list, I doubt she would have ever told me "I feel honored because you are dating me." I realized I had accidently developed something which with some real practical value.
I am convinced these feeling are the ultimate in clear, concise, direct communication. I have found them to be amazingly full of information. It is said that one picture is worth a thousand words; I say that one feeling word is also worth a thousand cognitive words.
At any rate for a couple years I read nearly everything I could find on relationships as well as on family systems and general psychology. I tried taking some university courses but found I got more out of my own self-study program. I was too smart and too rebellious for the professors. I asked too many questions and challenged them on too many things.
I was excited to share some of the things I was learning so I organized a few classes which I taught in local coffee shops and through a local adult education center. I tried teaching a few courses for men in particular. One course was on how to learn from divorce another was called "How not to be a jerk" and another was a general course about men, fathers, sons, etc.
I spoke to a lot of groups, but eventually came to realize that group speaking wasn't what I most wanted to do. I felt pressured to say what others wanted me to say. When I was most honest, the people who brought me into speak were shocked and sometimes resentful or worse.
Slowly I came to realize that I didn't fit in American society, or any traditional society which I had experienced. I yearned for a society free of religion and superstition, a society free of child abuse, a society where children, nature and emotions were valued. Where cooperation was valued more than competition; where reality was valued more than appearances; where reason, respect, judgment and individuality were placed above rules, obedience inflexibility and conformity. Where simplicity was valued above consumption and materialism. In short, where my values and those of the group were more in harmony.
After much searching for a group of like-minded people, I decided to search instead for a place I could live in relative solitude; a place where I could read and write and not have to be bothered by the rules, social norms, opinions and judgments of others. A place where I could invite others to join me.
In March of 2000 I bought 100 acres of land in Australia which serves as my private retreat. Now I have a place to go to get away from everything and everyone. Yet I can easily return to "civilization" whenever I chose. At the present time, I am quite content, let's say a 9. I feel satisfied with my plans and my progress, also a 9. And I feel proud, 10, that I have made the changes and taken the risks to reach the point I am today-- April 5, 2000
January 2001 Update - After that I found a place in Canada where I stayed till I could make my first snowman in many years. Now I am back in Australia till the end of February.
May 2001 - Back in Canada. Still feeling good about my progress. Am feeling more inspired and more valued these days since I have gotten even more involved in the EI research world. I feel more included, let's say, instead of just being an outside observer, reporter and commentator. A challenge will be to maintain my outside, independent perspective. Or, at least to keep everything in a healthy balance. I feel a greater sense of responsibility now to those around the world who come to my site, whether by chance or intention, so I want to use my site wisely.
July 2003 - Haven't updated this in a while! See my personal site for more recent stuff. http://stevehein.com
|Some personal writing|
|How to cite Steve Hein in papers
Steve Hein is an independent writer who maintains the website eqi.org, one of the leading sites on emotional intelligence and emotional abuse, as ranked by Google.com.
EQ for Everybody, Aristotle Press, 1996, Tampa.
"A Process of Discovery," (New Times, Clearwater FL 1995)
"Freedom of Choice," (New Times, Clearwater FL 1995)
"Leisure," (New Times, Clearwater FL 1995)
"From Macho to Mindful," (Pathways, Clearwater FL 1996)
Radio Interviews: Dallas, 1991; Tampa, 1995; Pinellas Park, 1999 (The Recovery Show)
TV Guest speaker: Dallas, 1991; Tampa, 1994 (Kathy Fountain Show); 1995, ("Whine & Cheese" Show), Tampa 2000, (Everything is Wonderful talk show)
|If you are not tired of reading yet you can go to this link for more stuff - some of it will probably be repetition...it is an older file.|
/ Personal complaint against telcan international