• The Positive Professional

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, manage, and constructively use emotions of both ourselves and others, in a positive way. Becoming more aware of and in control of our own emotions, as well as successful in identifying and responding to the emotions of other people with whom we interact and relate, can help us accomplish more in our daily lives.

The use of emotional intelligence in our personal and professional relationships results in more effective communication and a greater ability to manage conflict. This can help us reduce stress and anxiety, get more done in less time, live in accordance with our own values and goals, and enjoy healthier and more satisfying relationships.

According to Harvard theorist Howard Gardner, “Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them, and how to work cooperatively with them."

Emotional intelligence involves much more than academic intelligence because it has to do with a person's ability to process, control, and regulate their own emotions as well as be aware of and receptive to the emotions of others in an effort to foster positive relationships.

While emotional intelligence may be rooted in family dynamics and communication, it's impact goes far beyond intimate relationships. The coping skills that we were supplied with as children by parents and caregivers to help regulate our emotions and be aware of the emotions of other people carry us through the various aspects and phases of our lives.

For example, a child who was taught to become aware of and in control of his or her emotions might, as an adult, be better equipped to handle an emotionally charged situation at work than another person whose parents failed to equip them with emotional intelligence of this kind.

A person who has low emotional intelligence may be unable to control impulses and emotional reactions toward others. This can lead them to high conflict scenarios where their behavior, body language, and the words they express to other people cause rifts in their relationships due to mixed signals, emotional friction, and misunderstandings.

Low Versus High Emotional Intelligence and What it Can Mean for You

People who lack emotional intelligence often find themselves stuck in phases of their personal development. Examples of this are as such:

They may grow up as "problem children" with a tendency to buck authority and who have trouble advancing to the next phase of maturity and responsibility.

They may tend to become stuck in a negative and self-defeating mindset which prevents them from taking necessary action in their lives.

They may take longer than others to find and commit to a healthy and satisfying romantic relationship because they weren't shown what a healthy relationship based in higher emotional intelligence looks like.

As adults in the professional world, they may be passed over for positions of responsibility both in their social life and their academic or work situation.

They may experience a string of failed relationships that leave them scratching their heads in frustration based on a lack of emotional awareness and understanding.

They may have unpleasant encounters with authority figures who perceive them as a threat based on their actions, words, and body language which can lack finesse and convey a certain disrespect or disregard for others.

People who have higher emotional intelligence are able to successfully navigate a variety of interpersonal scenarios, from the ways they function with friends and intimate partners, to how they navigate through social and professional scenarios.

Because of their advanced ability to process human emotions, they are able to use the insights gained into other people and their motivations, to further their own goals while simultaneously nurturing healthy relationships with their peers and professional associates.

People who have higher emotional intelligence seem better equipped to navigate the challenges of life, work, and relationships. This might include…

Fostering positive communication between family members that ultimately increases understanding, cooperation, and emotional closeness.

Moving forward with developmental milestones and experiencing personal success.

Nurturing healthy and satisfying friendships based in empathy, mutual appreciation, respect, and understanding.

Being granted positions of responsibility due to the ability to communicate, cooperate, compromise, and negotiate with others to the positive agreement of all involved parties.

Enjoying satisfying, committed romantic and intimate relationships based on open communication, emotional trust, consideration, and mutual respect.

Commanding a leadership role based in empathy and emotional insight rather than driven by manipulative tactics.

Signs of High Emotional Intelligence

How does your emotional intelligence rack up? Have you ever wondered? You might be inclined to score low, medium, or high on the spectrum. Are the below coping strategies a part of your daily interactions with other people? Then you may just have a well developed emotional intelligence.

Listening with empathy. Listening to words is one thing, but listening with empathy takes a human connection to a deeper level. This involves immersing yourself in another person's experience; listening to the words they're telling you, observing their body language and facial expressions, and trying to imagine what they may be feeling.

Good emotional control. Emotional control has to do with feeling a certain way but not permitting your emotional gut reaction to dictate your actions or behavior. A person with high emotional intelligence might feel disappointed by an outcome, but yet not let that disappointment change their commitment to polite, courteous, and respectful communication.

Ability to express emotions in a healthy way. Emotional control is not about stifling emotions, but regulating them. Someone with high emotional intelligence will be able to say "I feel (or felt) angry and here's why," yet at the same time avoid engaging in angry communication such as yelling, using aggressive body language, or making hostile facial expressions. Emoting should be done at an appropriate time, and expressing oneself in a way that does no harm and causes no discomfort to others.

Ability to read others' emotions. Being able to read other people's emotions offers social advantage. If you can predict another person's emotional reaction before it happens, you can have greater control of the outcome in a tricky social situation. We all have a basic need to understand and be understood by others. When this is achieved, real happiness and human connection results.

Ability to relate to others' emotions. High emotional intelligence is about more than just reading or predicting another person's emotional state. It's also about truly connecting with how they feel - empathy. We develop empathy by becoming mindful during emotionally charged situations. One way to do this is by relating someone else's experience to something that you yourself have gone through. Even if you can't always relate emotionally to another, you can use the tool of self-reflection to recall a challenge of your own that was similar to whatever your friend or associate is facing.

Awareness of what motivates other people. Having an understanding of why people do what they do is one of the major hallmarks of an elevated emotional intelligence level. It's also the stuff that strong leaders are made of. But this isn't about manipulation -which is ultimately selfish and uses fear tactics to control people. When emotional awareness combines with genuine empathy and concern for the good of the group, this brings satisfaction all around. Honing one's emotional intelligence means that you can really get inside the heads of your team members and motivate them in a way that brings great reward and personal satisfaction for all parties.

Positive, assertive communication. Expressing oneself in a positive way is tantamount to success. Negative thoughts keep us struggling for longer than is necessary. When expressed, they also have the effect of devaluing, discouraging, and de-motivating people- creating a bad emotional state all around. Learning to express oneself tactfully, with grace and respect for the opinions of others, learning to see the solution, and be open to other viewpoints -- all are major factors in how to communicate to a higher emotional intelligence standard. Criticism, as well, can be offered in a way that does not stifle or put down another person's intelligence - but shares a constructive suggestion to potentially make a good thing even better.

Healthy boundaries and respect for others. People who have high emotional intelligence are aware and respectful of boundaries. They are also skilled at defending their own boundaries. When one has a good understanding of human understanding, one will be able to naturally intuit when they or another person has "crossed the line" into another person's territory, be it physical, mental or emotional. A simple example of this might be making it clear to others that you don't take calls after 9 p.m. To enforce the boundary would be to not answer your phone if a friend calls at this time

Symptoms of Low Emotional Intelligence Do you or someone you know seem to lack emotional insight? Some people have well developed emotional intelligence, and others can use some help in this area. Just know, though, that even if you "see yourself" in the below descriptions, emotional intelligence is something that can be gained by way of personal experience. Each new day brings another shot at connecting emotionally with other people whom you deal within your work, personal, and social life. Below find some typical behaviors of people who come up short on emotional intelligence. Inability to control one's impulses. If you know someone who always seems able to keep their cool during a pressure-filled moment, then they probably have a higher level of emotional intelligence. But they tend to fly off the handle at small upsets, express themselves in a way that creates discord and discomfort among their peers, and generally tend toward emotional knee-jerk reactions… then they probably score low in the area of emotional intelligence. Makes decisions based on their emotion at the time. One of the biggest problems of people who have not mastered basic emotional intelligence strategies is that they tend to see a situation through the lens of whatever emotion they are currently experiencing. So if a person arrives into a scenario already in a negative mindset, then they are more likely to draw conclusions based on this pessimistic viewpoint. A basic example of this could be meeting a new person at a time when you were tired and cranky, and deciding that this person "gave you a bad feeling," and judging them for it. When really, it was nothing that the other person did, but rather your own emotional state that drove the assumption about the person's character. Has trouble identifying emotions in others. Another typical trait of people who have lower emotional intelligence than most is the inability to "read" others' emotions. Emotion-reading is an important skill that can take us far in our dealing with other people as well as our relationships. Not being able to identify another person's emotional state can cause serious problems in the timing and quality of your communication. It can also set you up to be at odds with the people with whom you come into contact in your daily dealings. Lets emotion rather than reason rule their decision-making process. One of the most important aspects of good decision making is being adept at using objective reasoning and solving problems from your rational mind. Emotions tend to raise our stress levels, which releases adrenalin and cortisol in the nervous system, essentially putting us into fight-or-flight mode. In this primitive mental and physiological state, we are unable to utilize the functions of our higher mind because our nervous system is now stuck in a do-or-die survival state. People who have better control over their emotional reactions are able to summon higher cognitive function as a result of remaining calm and in control of their rational thought process. Has child-like responses including blaming, name-calling. Many people who lack emotional intelligence tend to use lower-level communication with their families, circle of friends and associates, and coworkers. Rather than using their strengths to inspire, motivate, and encourage their peers, people who score low in the area of emotional intelligence tend to criticize, condemn, cast blame, and devalue others. This has to do with a lack of emotional awareness but it can also be related to poor psychological boundaries that occur as a result of conditioning by family members, caregivers, and peers during our formative years.

Written by Tracyavon Source https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-intelligence-eq/ Follow me on Twitter @PositivePodcas2

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