Emotional intelligence, or EI, refers to the ability to perceive and respond appropriately to emotions in oneself and others. A high level of emotional intelligence allows individuals to be more effective in relationships, work, and their lives overall by helping them to understand their own emotions and those of others, then take appropriate action based on that understanding. Here are five crucial things you need to know about EI and how it can affect your life and relationships with other people.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
When it comes to success in life, emotional intelligence—otherwise known as EQ—can be just as important as, say, knowing what you’re doing. At a time when career and life choices are more complex than ever before and social media allows people to display only their most flattering moments and situations, being aware of your emotions is an incredibly valuable skill. Here are five crucial things you need to know about EQ:
Learn your strengths and weaknesses
If you want to improve your emotional intelligence, it’s important that you first know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Take some time out of your day to determine how you react in different situations and how others perceive you. If people generally see you as relaxed but anxious, for example, then there’s probably a good chance that anxiety is not one of your strengths. On the other hand, if most people see you as happy and energetic, these are likely qualities where your emotional intelligence is quite strong.
To make yourself more emotionally intelligent, there are a few things you can do. The first is simple: be persistent. It’s easy to get discouraged when change doesn’t happen fast enough or when you face a major setback, but getting around these types of roadblocks requires patience and persistence. Building up your emotional intelligence takes time—you won’t become more aware of your emotions overnight—so don’t get discouraged when you don’t see results immediately.
The first and arguably most important pillar of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Although it may seem easier said than done, being self-aware means, you understand what makes you tick—your personality, your motivations, your strengths, and your weaknesses. The more you know about yourself and how you operate under pressure, deadlines, or when facing challenges, for example, the better equipped you’ll be to handle those situations with aplomb in the future. As Charles Duhigg wrote in The Power of Habit, People who are aware of their deficiencies have a clearer sense of their options going forward.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others often means you’re wasting your time trying to keep up with an impossible goal. Chances are you won’t achieve whatever it is you think everyone else is doing—and if you do, it probably won’t last for long anyway. Don’t stress about how much money your friends have or how well their careers are going; instead, focus on what matters—and for most people, that will be family and friends. Not being able to get enough of your loved ones may not pay as well as a career in finance, but chances are it will make life far more enjoyable. Why chase after something you can never have when love is already right there?
A certified career and life coach, Malavika Kishore is a Librarian in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Kabirdham District, Chhattisgarh.