Show Your Emotional Intelligence
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Most people consider emotional intelligence (EI) to be something you are either born with or not, like your genetic makeup. Others say it can be learned through courses or training, but none of that is true!
Simply put, EI is just knowing how to identify and manage your emotions.
There’s a reason why some people have a knack for keeping their emotions in check while others don’t. It’s because they have trained themselves to recognize what makes them feel good and unhappy about things and learn how to avoid making those experiences self-fulfilling prophecies.
This article will talk more about how to increase your emotional intelligence by targeting specific traits and behaviors. But first, let us look at the importance of having a high level of emotional intelligence.
Emotional quotient and leadership
Too many people underestimate the value of emotional intelligence. They think it is only valuable if you want to be a leader one day, which it is, but there is so much else it offers.
Becoming a great leader isn’t as easy as being smart or charismatic, it is also about having strong relationships, motivating others, communicating well, etc. All of these things require lots of emotional skills.
Without emotional literacy, you won’t know how to relate to other people, you will lack empathy, and you will struggle to understand what motivates different individuals.
How can you improve your emotional intelligence?
Developing your empathy is an excellent way to increase your EI. This will help you relate more effectively to other people – whether they are close or not!
People who have high levels of empathetic ability understand that there’s no one right way to feel about something, nor is it their job to make you feel better or worse. That’s what psychologists call internalizing emotions — thinking that your mental state is important and should be acknowledged by others.
Instead, individuals with higher EQ recognize that everyone has different experiences and thoughts about life that are unique to them. They believe that if someone else feels sad, then that person should let themselves feel that sadness without trying to change how they feel.
This doesn’t mean they don’t care, but it does mean that they trust that each individual will figure out how to deal with his or her own feelings in a thoughtful manner.
Here are 12 ways to boost your emotional intelligence
Developing your emotional literacy is an excellent way to improve your overall well-being. While some might consider studying psychology or counseling as forms of emotional literacy, we can add another category to that list: developing your emotional quotient (EQ).
This term was coined in the 1980s when psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote his bestseller “Emotional Intelligence.” Since then, it has become one of the most popular concepts in leadership development.
Golem defined EQ as how effectively you manage your emotions and relate to others. This includes understanding your own feelings and those of other people, and using these insights to solve problems and achieve goals.
He also mentioned two main factors that influence someone's EQ: internal and external sources.
Internal sources include personality traits such as empathy, self-awareness, and responsibility. These qualities make it easier for you to recognize and understand what makes other people feel good and bad, and why they behave the way they do.
Tell people about yourself
It’s very easy to talk about how smart you are, but what if we asked you to tell someone why it is important to be smart?
It’s hard to explain just how essential education is for your long-term success in life. People who lack a degree often struggle to find employment that doesn’t involve minding other people or serving under privileged individuals.
Education gives you opportunities to learn new things and make money, which helps you achieve your goals. Almost every successful person graduated with an undergraduate degree, so it makes sense to consider it important.
However, educational achievements alone can’t measure your emotional intelligence. What good is being intelligent if you let all kinds of negative emotions control you?
You should try to understand others’ points of view, but only when they are expressed clearly and respectfully. You shouldn’t assume anything about them unless they have given you permission to do so.
Running away from your problems will only prolong their duration, and that won’t help anyone. Start thinking more about how you can fix your issues instead of focusing on how much pain you are causing someone else.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of emotional intelligence, work on developing these skills yourself first. Once you feel like you have mastered this area of your life, then you can share your knowledge with others.
Make eye contact
Making direct, meaningful connections with other people is one of the most important things you can do as a person. When others look into your eyes, they subconsciously feel that they are being listened to and understood.
When we avoid making eye contact we send the silent message that something about them isn’t worth acknowledging. We become distanced from each other because of this.
Direct eye contact doesn’t necessarily mean looking someone in the eye for very long- it can be a quick glance or even a short conversation accompanied by some kind of expression. What matters is whether there is an understanding between you.
Making friends takes time so don’t get discouraged if you have to break off a relationship at first. Keep trying, and eventually you will find someone who makes you feel valued and loved!
If you ever feel uncomfortable around someone, try not engaging with them directly. Find another way to communicate such as talking through a third party or texting instead.
Avoid sticking to online forums or chat rooms where only likeminded individuals gather – this could create more distance than closeness. People come in all shapes and sizes, and not everyone is the same.
Don’t assume anything about someone just because they look similar to you or seem familiar. We all have different personalities which affect how we behave.
Consistency is one of the most important things to be when developing your emotional intelligence. Just like with any other skill, you will not grow your emotional literacy if you do not practice it consistently every day.
It sounds odd, but this makes sense. We all have different days where we feel good about ourselves and others, so why would trying to improve our own self-awareness require that we use our skills only in certain situations?
By establishing a routine for seeking out opportunities to recognize and understand your emotions, you are investing in yourself as a person. You are educating your mind to learn more about itself and the world around you.
In order to show your emotional intelligence, you have to be real. You have to feel things fully and intensely. That could mean feeling happy for one minute then being upset for another.
Your emotions should move you, not just make you do something. If you can’t relate to what you are feeling or it doesn’t affect you in any way, chances are you don’t really understand it.
Tracy is more likely to display her emotional intelligence than Daniel because she experiences his feelings much more deeply.
She feels angry when he gets frustrated and she knows how that makes him feel so she tries to calm down before talking to him. She also recognizes that he needs time to process what happened so she gives him that by listening without saying anything back.
If she didn’t know this about him, she wouldn’t try to use these strategies on him. It would be too hard for her to put herself in his position, which is why most people avoid showing their true selves to others.
Be honest with your peers
Sometimes, in order to show your emotional intelligence, you have to be straightforward about things. You may have to speak up or call out someone for their actions or comments that hurt others.
This can sometimes feel uncomfortable but it is important to keep relationships strong by addressing issues when they arise.
By being direct, people will know what to expect from you and will trust your leadership skills.
As a leader, you should strive to create an open environment where everyone feels comfortable talking about anything.
That includes discussing difficult topics like disagreements, as well as praise and acknowledgements of good work.
It takes a lot of effort to develop these communication skills so don’t hesitate to take some time off to refresh yours!
At the same time, remember that no one else could possibly understand how you are feeling at this moment except you.
Try to put yourself in their shoes and think how they would respond if something happened to them. If there’s nothing you can do to change how you're feeling, then try to relax and focus on what you can control - yourself.
Above all, stay focused on what matters – not just to you, but to those around you as well.
Be honest with your parents
Even if you think they don’t agree with your choice of career, even if they always seem to talk about how hard their life is without you, even if they never make eye contact when they speak to you – give them credit for trying to be there for you as much as possible.
They invested in you by giving you birth, which means they care about you, but also may feel like they are not allowed to say anything else because THEY ARE YOUR FATHER! Or maybe they just can’t bring themselves to tell you that you aren’t quite cut out for being an engineer.
Either way, remember this from our emotional intelligence article: being able to identify and understand your emotions is one of the most important skills you can have.
So ask yourself these questions: are my parents going through something difficult that might affect me? If so, what am I doing to help them get through it? Am I avoiding talking to them about things because I’m too scared or nervous?
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or depressed after leaving home, try asking yourself whether those feelings are related to something you did or didn’t do while you were there.