How do you tell if someone has a high level of emotional intelligence? Do you have it in everyday life? While being “happy”, “motivated”, or “optimistic” is often viewed as a sign of a healthy individual, they are not included in the signs of emotional intelligence. The common signs are related to how you manage your and other people’s emotions, putting them into account in your behaviors.
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
An emotionally intelligent person understands how his or her acts affect emotions, both for themselves and others. Despite different opinions in describing this kind of intelligence, psychologists and researchers generally agree that it covers at least three things:
- Ability to recognize emotions, even the most complex ones (emotional awareness)
- Ability to use the emotion in a proper way to conduct critical thinking and problem solving
- Ability to manage emotions, such as by expressing them the right way or saying the right words to people with different characteristics
Emotional intelligence (EI) does not have a formal measurement tool. However, you can rely on several prominent signs to detect it.
Common Emotional Intelligence Signs
Here are seven common signs you may notice from someone (or yourself) that has high emotional intelligence:
- Able to describe complicated emotions
People with high EI can discern layers of emotions, and relate them to their own experiences, decision making process, and motivations. For example, they understand the true emotions behind the superficial expression, and how those emotions affect certain behaviors or decision making.
- Take time to reflect
Reflecting and pondering are more difficult to do nowadays, due to numerous distractions and fast-paced lifestyle. The ability to reflect and think deeply helps in factoring all aspects before making a decision. It also helps to keep perspective in check, even when facing a crisis.
- Show strong empathy
Empathy is one of the strongest characteristics of EI. Showing empathy means able to understand people’s view and thoughts from their perspectives. It does not mean that you always agree with them. Empathy helps you to see the bigger picture and look at a problem from different perspectives.
- Able to construct positive feedbacks
Positive feedbacks are harder to make than cynical criticism because they require deep thoughts and low ego. Positive feedbacks can help the recipients to fix their mistakes, without making them feel self-conscious or humiliated.
- Able to set boundaries
People who always say “yes” often view themselves as helpful, but this is the sign of inability to set boundaries. The ability to set boundaries shows that you are strong, assertive, but not secluded. This means that you understand your limit, demand respect, and refuse to fulfill other people’s requests while sacrificing your well-being.
- Don’t dwell in self-rumination
Self-rumination is a fancy name for “unable to move on”. A person with high EI is able to solve the negativity that arises from one bad incident and prevent it from ruining his/her day. While tackling negative emotions is important, you must know when to let negativity pass when necessary.
- Be honest about emotions and feelings
“Emotionally honest” does not mean being a drama queen or screaming jerk. It means you can communicate what you feel honestly when trying to solve a problem with someone else. People with high EI usually do not use tricks like silent treatment, passive-aggressive attitude, or emotional blackmail.
These are not the only signs of high emotional intelligence. However, having these traits may reflect a healthier psychological aspect in a person.
Tips to Develop Emotional Intelligence
You can learn to develop EI and be a better person at a psychological level. Here are some tricks to try every day:
- Learn to harness emotion and think deeply
It is easy to explode with anger when something bothers you. When something that angers you happen, such as an argument with your coworker or spouse, don’t lash out immediately. Give yourself time for several minutes to ponder the situation from various perspectives.
- Practice speaking with a proper vocabulary
Words reflect your emotional skill, and the ability to explain yourself properly will nurture emotional intelligence. Practice by imagining several scenarios when you have to face something bad at home or work. Imagine the best course of action to take and the words you can use to describe your thoughts. Deliver them out loud to make the situation more real.
- Track down your stressors
Knowing things that stress you out the most will help in harnessing your emotion. Keep a journal to record what happens during the day. Remember the times when you feel anxious or angry, and describe them in the journal. Review the content after a week. By understanding your main stressors, you can take steps to manage them.
You can also review the times when you feel overwhelmed from doing everyone’s work. Review your limits and learn to say no. Start from something small, and experience the ease when you are able to find more time for yourself.
Emotional intelligence is important to develop a healthy mind and good communication skill. By developing this skill, you can grow your potentials and achieve more appreciation in your daily life.