What a wonderful study of human behaviour and emotional intelligence ‘I’m A Celebrity ….Get Me Out Of Here’ provides. Voyeurism aside, we could do worse than learn some lessons from studying the campmates’ human interactions.
Take the conflict which divided the camp this week – with Lady Colin Campbell, Chris Eubank and Kieron Dyer on one side and apparently everyone else on the other. Whatever your thoughts about Lady C, it was heartwarming to witness the way Kieron was willing to listen and engage with her, when most others had walked away. A sure sign of emotional intelligence that looks and listens for what is behind the words, and a strength and integrity to resist crowd-following. Vicky Pattison showed similar social skills when she said that Lady C just ‘wants to feel appreciated’. Her insight that Lady C’s difficult upbringing in a Jamaican community could be why she now feels ‘defensive when a man talks to her’, demonstrates her ability to empathise, and makes for an altogether more mature and professional attitude.
Undoubtedly, Lady C seems to be top of the leader board when it comes to triggering reactions in others – she certainly doesn’t hold back with her opinions and words. But the point here is that some people, as Vicky and Kieron have shown, are able to manage the reactions that others evoke in them and cultivate a willingness to look beyond the persona.
Of course we only get to see the edits and that’s an important point – it’s easy to make judgements when you’re watching scenes that have been brought together for the very purpose of pushing opinion. Were we in the jungle and able to take in the whole off-screen atmosphere, there would be so many other things said and done that could help balance our views of the participants. The problem is that we’re all susceptible to making judgements of people and situations – it’s human nature. And often those judgements are taken on board by others, creating standpoints and positioning, prompting misunderstandings, and leading to conflict.
Nonviolent Communication© is a remarkably powerful way of communicating, in everyday situations, both work and personal, which encourages non-judgement and helps build emotional intelligence. Through a focus on basic human needs that we all share, this methodology offers us a 4-step process to turn our judgement of the situation into an observation, connect with our feelings triggered by a situation or words, and understand our underlying need, at which point we can then move forward with our strategy to meet that need. The same process, which is also used in mediation situations, can help us understand and empathise with others and prepare for dialogue that has a greater chance of meeting the needs of both parties.