As our world changes and grows, a big subject of discussion is emotional intelligence. Those who have it seem to be happier and more successful overall.
What does it really mean?
A person with this skill has a distinct advantage over those who do not. Psychology Today defines three specific skills commonly found in those who exhibit emotional intelligence.
- Identify their emotions and the emotions of other people.
- Harness emotions to accomplish tasks and solve problems.
- Regulate their emotions and encourage positive emotions in others.
They’re naturally able to govern their own emotions successfully and demonstrate empathy when dealing with the emotions of those they interact with.
In daily life, you might know a person who’s able to remain calm in negative situations. Emotionally intelligent people are peace-keepers, dispute settlers, and able to think clearly in circumstances that cause others to experience anger, fear, or frustration.
Do you have a friend who remains calm in any situation? Traffic jams, long lines, or even medical emergencies simply don’t rattle them. Somehow, they remain calm while the people around them lose their minds.
If you’re like me, that’s the person you call when you need a level head.
It’s the one you know will never make a scene, yell at a server in a restaurant, or roll down the window to scream at the driver of another car. That’s the person who calmly and quickly reacts in an emergency to call 911, help a person choking or drowning, diffuse an argument, and simultaneously calms the people around them.
Emotionally intelligent people are rarely truly angry and they forgive more readily than most.
As in most things, there’s a spectrum. All of us have varying degrees of this skill. There may be certain people or situations in your life that inspire higher degrees of empathy and other areas where it’s not as evident.
Maybe you’re great with your own kids but have little or no patience with other people’s children. Perhaps you roll your eyes at the way your spouse drives but completely flip out over the same traits in a stranger on the road.
Then there are those people who have none of this skill who are usually a highly toxic personality. Maybe they never had it or maybe they shut down any feelings of empathy in certain circumstances. Their negativity is evident to friends, family, and total strangers.
A person deficient in emotional intelligence – any form of empathy – is not a person most want to be around. They’re the ones who rage, complain, or otherwise express to those around them that they’re not happy and someone better do something about it. This is a person who makes others look away uncomfortably or rush away from a developing public scene.
Some days, it feels like there are far more toxic people than those with the ability to think clearly, react calmly, and keep the peace. We need more of the latter than ever before and there are ways to improve the balance.
It’s a skill and like any skill, if you don’t have it naturally, you can develop it. It can be taught, learned, and improved upon just as skills in cooking, crafting, and building.
5 Tips to Develop Emotional Intelligence
1. Save your “complaints” for when they’re important. A server who takes a minute longer to bring your drink refill is not on the same level as a server who throws your food at you. A cashier who requires a price check is different from a cashier too busy talking on her phone to check out customers. Construction workers doing their jobs are not out to ruin your day. Elderly drivers are not trying to slow you down. A person who complains about everything isn’t taken seriously when they complain about something important.
2. Know when to stick to your guns. Compromise and kindness are becoming synonymous with weakness and naivete. There are certainly times when you shouldn’t negotiate. Your personal safety, your emotional well-being, and protecting your loved ones don’t allow wiggle room. However, being willing to compromise to keep the peace for the greater good shouldn’t be considered you “rolling over” or “letting someone else win” because it’s not. Knowing when to compromise is a strong sign of self-control and confidence.
Knowing when to compromise is a sign of self-control and confidence. #emotionalintelligenceClick To Tweet
3. Avoid drama kings and queens. Nothing will sap your desire to be empathetic more than the toxic personality that won’t stop whining and complaining to you until you literally start screaming. You attract people into your life based on the kind of person you are and the environment that surrounds you. If you surround yourself with toxicity, it’s all you’re ever going to attract.
4. Let go of the negative aspects of your past. You can’t move forward if you’re always looking behind you. To develop true emotional intelligence, you must let it go. Take the lessons you learned and move on. The negative people or circumstances of the past belong there – not influencing your health and happiness today. It’s time to put a boundary in place between your “before” and your “now.” Live for the future you want, not the life you used to have.
Live for the future you want, not the life you used to have. #WiseWordsClick To Tweet
5. Your happiness and fulfillment depend on you. No matter what you’ve experienced, how you live from this moment on is what defines you. If you find yourself angry or frustrated easily in even mild situations, you need to ask yourself why. Too often, unhappiness with yourself or your life circumstances translates to lashing out at both loved ones and strangers in an attempt to purge the way you feel inside. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to live like that. Negativity doesn’t have to control your life. Kindness (to yourself and others) is a great place to start.
Emotional intelligence – empathy – isn’t something you have to live without.
If you already have a high emotional IQ, then look at the people around you. Surround yourself with men and women who lift you up, improve your life, and make you look forward to spending time with them.
At the end of the day, it’s about seeing the world around you with a clear heart and an open mind. Realizing that not every bad situation is life or death and not every person is good or bad puts things in much-needed perspective.
Looking at the world through a place of emotional intelligence changes everything.See the world around you with a clear heart and an open mind. #emotionalintelligence Click To Tweet