Intelligence is subjective. It’s not the absolute that it’s sometimes claimed, as it can come in many different guises. In fact, anything that’s considered to be a skill can be thought of as a form of intelligence, which can include anything from cooking to parenting. One of the most common, but often overlooked forms is emotional intelligence. It’s something we all possess to a greater or lesser degree. However, some of us are naturally more adept at managing our feelings as well as those of others. You could be forgiven for assuming that someone fitting this description might be a little too involved with themselves or too insular to appreciate real-world concerns. But just the opposite is true. Emotionally intelligent people have a huge advantage in many social situations and their general mental health.
- They Pay More Attention to Feelings (Not Rogue Thoughts)
The first advantage is emotional intelligent people are able to separate themselves from their thoughts and tune in to how they’re truly feeling about something. This means that the head doesn’t overrule the heart when it comes to making important decisions. They can take a step back and figure out what’s true for them in the present moment instead of basing they actions on what’s happened in the past and thus avoiding the trap of continuing to play out tired narratives that don’t serve them.
- They’re Able to Empathise with Other People Better
By virtue of having a greater awareness of your own emotional state, it then follows that you’re better able to recognise discomfort in others. However, empathy is much more than simply analysing people from afar. It involves engaging with them in a meaningful way by listening to people and responding in kind to what they’re saying. It’s about recognition and response to people’s real-life needs. This is very different from sympathy. Although the two are related, they’re actually very different behaviours. Sympathy is passive engagement, while empathy is active engagement.
- They’re More in Control of Their Emotions
Being more in control means you’re less likely to be triggered when confronted with a tense and/or stressful situation. This means that you’re better able to make a considered response instead of acting from a place of fight or flight. Another way of thinking of this is self-regulation. It doesn’t mean that you’re immune from experiencing negative emotions. But what it does mean is that when they do arise, you’re better equipped to deal with them. In this sense, emotional intelligence provides a grounding that prevents rash judgments or assumptions.
- They Have a Greater Sense of Ambition & Motivation
In terms of creating a successful mindset, people with greater emotional intelligence are able to follow through with their ambitions for several reasons. In the first instance, they’re able to free themselves of any negative self-talk. But perhaps more importantly, they’re able to avert themselves from falling into destructive and self-sabotaging patterns of behaviour that keep them from ever truly making any progress. They’re able to use their improved emotional regulation to look beyond setbacks and see the oppurtunity for learning and growth instead of failure.
- They Have Increased Social Skills
Those with a high degree of emotional intelligence are most often highly adept at navigating social situations. Part of this skill is an ability to read the dynamic of the situation and recognise where there is a need to either compensate or give a little ground in the interest of a more harmonious group dynamic. This is most often done without ever seeming to exert any unnecessary influence or appear to be over-controlling. Instead, they simply provide a subtle nudge in the right direction and always talk about the interests of the whole rather than any one individual.
- They’re Not Afraid of Discussing Their Feelings with Others
Sometimes, those who’re highly in-tune with their emotions might not be able to translate that awareness into a meaningful exchange with someone. Those who are emotionally intelligent, on the other hand, are not only aware of their feelings but also know how to express them in a constructive manner. They’re able to question in the intent of another person where it might not have been clear – and possibly offensive – and bring clarity to a situation that might have been allowed to spiral into unnecessary animosity.
- They’re able to Identify the Root Cause of Their Issues
This isn’t always the case, as no one is completely without their blind spots. But when it comes to self-examination, those with higher emotional intelligence, find it much easier to retrace their steps from the resulting emotional outburst or behaviour back to its root cause easier than most. What this skill actually represents is an innate honesty with oneself that allows the individual not to self-censor uncomfortable parts of their character they don’t want to deal with. Once identified, they’ll take full ownership for their action and make the necessary changes.
- They’re Able to Project a Positive Outlook
In general, emotionally intelligent people have a greater degree of contentedness. They recognise that nothing is permanent and the bad – as well as the good – things in life must eventually come to an end. It means they have the ability to reframe their problems within a larger context and see that most of the time, their problems aren’t actually that big a deal. This ability to shift perspective is a core skill that allows them to adjust to any seemingly dramatic or unexpected life-change with relative ease. And as a result of this, they’re able to maintain a positive outlook during even the most challenging of times.