“I SHOULD be the last one to pardon them, as the Japanese killed my wife and three children… I am doing this because I do not want my children and my people to inherit from me the hate for people who might yet be our friend, for the permanent interest of our countrymen.” —President Elpidio Quirino, July 6, 1953
In the endless pursuit of understanding the human psyche, scientists believed that human intelligence belonged to the realm of the brain—and rightly so. Intelligence quotient or IQ is a score derived from standardized tests.
The abbreviation “IQ” was coined in 1912 by William Stern, a psychologist, from the German term Intelliez Quotient. Current IQ tests have a median raw score of 100. Any deviation up or down would determine one’s intelligence. It is estimated that 2/3 of the population scores between 85 and 115. About 5 percent of people score above 125.
Be that as it may, IQ was given great importance in order to determine the capability of a person for academic achievement, educational and job placements. However, a new way of studying people emerged, with the deeper appreciation of emotional intelligence inherent in everyone.
In the light of this new way of looking at the whole person, what mattered more— the mind or the heart?
Never the same man
President Elpidio Quirino (1948-1953) lost his family in the Battle of Manila during World War II. While fleeing from retreating Japanese forces, most of his loved ones were killed, leaving him with only two surviving children, Tommy and Vicky.
People close to him observed that he was never the same man after that tragic day. Oftentimes, they would find him sitting quietly in a corner, looking out into the distant horizon in silence, as though revisiting the past. The pensive reflection would pass, after which he was transported back to the present.
Could this have been the compelling reason why he never remarried? Possibly. After all, Alicia was truly his soulmate and beloved wife. Despite the emptiness in his heart, he managed to focus on the job at hand—to rebuild a war-torn country.
In 1953, he granted executive clemency to 148 Japanese prisoners of war detained in Muntinlupa and had them repatriated to Japan. His famous quote encompasses his journey from hatred to forgiveness, which opened the door to reconciliation. Was it the mind or the heart that led him to the crossroads between hurt and healing? And when he actually forgave, was it a decision born of the functions of both?
For many people, emotional quotient or EQ is given more importance than IQ in achieving success in life. The ability to sense, understand and process emotions, and the acumen that comes from reading emotions, gives the possessor of high EQ a sense of inner balance and power.
To possess high EQ means that a person has an equally high emotional intelligence or EI. Thus, the ability of an individual to recognize his/her own emotions, as well as that of others, guides one toward better thinking and behavior, especially when confronted by emotional challenges.
Some scientists believe that EQ can be learned, like developing a skill. Others say it is an inborn characteristic and may also be hereditary. The debate continues.
A good EQ will reflect the following qualities. In all his words and ways, Quirino had them all:
1) Self-awareness—to tune in to your feelings and to evaluate and manage them in a calm, confident way.
2) Self-regulation—to exert effort in controlling anger, anxiety or depression. To be open to new ways of channeling pain.
3) Motivation—setting clear goals and adopting a positive attitude. Reframing one’s negative feelings by setting high and optimistic goals.
4) Empathy—to discern people’s feelings in order to determine the emotional landscape of a group, community or country.
5) Social skills—in a global community, there is a growing need for people gifted with interpersonal skills. These “people skills” will assure one of success in negotiating and communicating. People with developed social skills are prepared for leadership, conflict management and team-building.
(Reference: Michael Akers and Grover Porter, PsychCentral.com. If you want to test your EQ, go to psychology.about.com/)
It is said that a person is meant to “become” his or her name. In Quirino’s case, his initials said it all—EQ. But, above all, there is an EQ in all of us. We need only to listen to our hearts. Once we do, we will find the courage to forgive—as Quirino did. By one’s capacity to forgive is the sense of humanity defined.
The public is invited to attend “Defining Quirino,” an interactive exhibit, at Ayala Museum.
This week’s affirmation: “I have a courageous heart.”
Love and light!
E-mail the columnist: firstname.lastname@example.org