Subject Line Only

It’s really easy to see that there are some serious problems in the world. While what I’m about to throw down may not seem as important as other problems in the world, I promise you, it is. What’s this problem I speak of? “Subject Line Only” memes.

A Definition

You know the ones. The single line of information that was pondered and researched by countless scholars, philosophers, and more, only to be boiled down to one tiny chewable bite that people can conceptually like, but struggle to experientially adopt into their lives. So they throw a 👍 and make a mental note to add it to their arsenal of superficial conversation contributions.

While these memes are important to raising awareness of a concept, to truly understand and speak with authority, you have to go deeper. You have to “experiment” with the concept and build your knowledge in order to cultivate your understanding.

Alas, that doesn’t happen and incomplete information is then further misunderstood, misapplied, and spread with abandon. Enter the social media warrior.

Another Definition

By “social media warrior,” I’m referring to one aspect of the stereotypical individual who has crafted a narrative of their life purely through the lens of how they have meticulously sculpted social media image. They see information they conceptually like and apply it to their lives, through their life’s lenses/biases. There is not even a glimmer of understanding that to truly understand their “concept du jour,” they must reveal their biases to themselves and learn new ways to think. These types of exercises develop self awareness, which is intimately tied to emotional intelligence and overall wellness.

This Post’s Inspiration

I’m reflecting on this topic of “Subject Line Only” meme-ers because one of them told someone I care about that they have the “emotional intelligence of a rock.” The thing was, I’ve often told the person in question that they have a very high EQ — which means that I think they have high emotional intelligence.

Full disclosure on my knowledge of emotional intelligence

It’s true, I don’t have my PhD just yet. Still working on it. But the theory of Emotional Intelligence, which was made what it is today by Daniel Goleman, is a very big part of my dissertation. I have written many papers referencing peer reviewed journal articles on this very topic. So while I’m not an expert on emotional intelligence, I do feel confident tackling the subject to set the record straight. Plus, the more I do things like this, the more I learn. Win | Win

Back to The Story

So my friend was told that they have the emotional intelligence of a rock and I was baffled by the statement. It made no sense. That’s when I realized, the person attempting to take a stab at their target was using a subject line only meme which was likely snagged from an online support group comprised of zero therapists, academics, philosophers, etc. And made up of 100% people just like her.

I realized that she actually thinks that emotional intelligence has something to do with how well someone understands the emotions of others. She speaks as though “intelligence” is measured by how much you know about something outside yourself.

In truth, it’s much more likely that she thinks that an individual’s EQ has everything to do with how they understand her emotions. But I digress.

What’s The Point?

The moral of this story is to remind you that when you come across memes whose concepts resonate with you, don’t be like the basic social media warrior. Go further. Ask questions. Seek to understand the many theories which helped develop the information used to make the meme into a chewable tidbit. Challenge yourself. Remember, it isn’t selfish to develop self awareness. But it is selfish to manipulate profound theories, such as “emotional intelligence” to suit yourself.

Memes should inspire you to learn more, not simply agree and regurgitate information. The essence of the body of work is lost when this happens, and misinformation is spread. Not to mention, it gives someone like me the opportunity to hold a mirror up in an effort to help you realize that everything you say about others is really what your inner voice is trying to tell you about yourself. Trouble is, when you don’t notice this, it means you lack emotional intelligence…not someone else.

You see, it really is all about you. The good, the bad, and the ugly.