“Does not play well with others”—sounds like a negative comment on an elementary level report card to describe a type of emotional intelligence that is as important in Congress as it is on a playground. Getting along with our families, co-workers, and acquaintances requires the ability to balance self interest with the common good or welfare of the whole.
Playing well with others happens when we are able to practice both containment and boundaries. Containment looks like keeping our temper in check, avoiding injury to others, telling the truth, not infringing on the rights of others, and following rules that have been agreed on. Honoring boundaries helps us to take a stand on what we need and want and to protect ourselves from being overrun by others. It is a matter of balance.
Emotional intelligence sometimes requires the art of compromise. Compromise, whether on a playground or on the national stage, is a matter of believing that winning and losing are not the point. Moving forward to something less than perfect but better than stalemate is the point.