Anyone can be emotionally intelligent (EI/EQ) – no, it is not gender-biased. It’s something that is learned and cultivated from the lessons life throws at us. However, emotional intelligence is not a hat that can be worn by all; while it is not a “you either have it or you don’t” kind of trait, it is true that some people are more emotionally intelligent than others. And in the same what that your IQ is not the true measure of your intelligence, your EQ is not always correctly assed. Your EQ is a measure of how well you are able to recognise your own emotions and the emotions of others as well as your reaction to these emotions. Simply put – it is an indicator of how you treat people. You could rank high in emotional intelligence and not even know it because of how subjective emotional intelligence is. But there are signs to look out for in order to understand if you are more emotionally inclined. If you’ve ever wondered if you rank high in emotional intelligence, here are some checkboxes for you to tick off:
☐ You are curious about the world around you.
Whether you are introverted or extroverted, people with high EQs tend to be curious about everything (even if they aren’t vocal about it). Think about it this way – the more you care about people (what they do, why they do things, how they do it) the more curious you are, no? Emotionally intelligent people will notice behavioural changes in the people around them, from the language they use to the tics they show. You are often told, “you understand me”.
☐ You know how to pay attention.
One of the reasons why you are able to understand people better is because people with high EQs are always paying attention. You pay attention to changes in peoples moods, changes in the environment that can affect peoples’ moods and when things go wrong, you know how to focus on the real problems by filtering out the things that don’t matter.
☐ You don’t linger on the past or the future.
People with high EQs live through their day; they don’t just go through it. There is no time for regret and no space in your heart for the past mistakes you’ve made. You focus on moving forward, on progressing and working towards a goal. But, you don’t obsess over what tomorrow brings because you can’t control what happens tomorrow, only what happens today.
☐ You understand your feelings.
Not many people can identify the way they are feeling accurately. People who do not possess high EQs are more likely to misunderstand the way they are feeling, leading to irrational choices and counterproductive actions. Meanwhile, people with high EQs will find the exact word to describe what they are feeling. For example, your friend might say they feel “bad” and have nothing else to add to that when asked why. But when you feel “bad”, you will be able to determine if you feel bad because you are “frustrated”, “disappointed”, “anxious”, “tired” or so on and this will allow you to understand the cause of the “bad” feeling. From there, you will know what to do next.
☐ You know what makes you strong and what you need to be working on.
You are more self-aware than you are self-critical. This means that you are good at picking out your flaws and then working on them in a constructive way. Not only that, you welcome feedback from those you trust – and specifically from those you trust because you the feedback you get is important to you. It allows you to delve deeper into what you are good at and what you aren’t. This in itself is a superpower because you know how to respond to situations with your strengths. There is not holding you back once you’ve achieved self-awareness.
☐ You Are Difficult to Offend
You are so intuned with yourself that you don’t let what other people say affect you. If someone says something negative about you that you agree with, it simply becomes something for you to work on. If someone says something you don’t agree with, but someone you trust also agrees, it will also become a point for improvement. But if someone you aren’t close to says something you feel is unwarranted, you won’t let it affect you because you know that it’s not the truth. Emotionally intelligent people are both confident and open-minded, allowing you to differentiate between humour and insult.
☐ You Know How to Say No (to Yourself and Others)
Being emotionally intelligent, you know when to say no. This is because you know what you want and what you need, stopping you from making impulsive decisions based on whim. And honestly, the more you say “yes” when you really mean “no”, the more likely it is for you to feel more stress and anxiety. Saying “no” is honouring your feelings, your emotions and your being – allowing you to take care of yourself.
☐ You are true to your word
Emotionally intelligent people build strong bonds with people because they care about others and show that they do in staying true to their word. If you find yourself doing things for others without expecting anything in return or keeping your word no matter how big or small the promise, you’re respecting the feelings of the other person involved. And more often than not, they are going to be thinking of you just as much as you think of them because they know that you are considerate.
Did you tick all 8 boxes? There are tonnes of facets to being emotionally intelligent so if you’ve only ticked off a few of these boxes, don’t worry. Take the boxes that you didn’t tick as aspects to work on and grow towards. There’s always time to improve; growth doesn’t happen instantly but accepting that you want to grow is a great first step forward.