Mental Health Moment – What Does Emotional Intelligence EQ Look Like in Everyday Life?

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by Nancy Bergeron, RPsych | [email protected]

In previous months, I discussed emotional intelligence. I explored what EQ was, what it could look like, and I recommended the book EQ Applied – Justin Bariso. This month, I decided to give you a little preview which will hopefully entice you into wanting to know more. Here are 20 things that emotionally intelligent people do:

  1. They think about feelings: They are able to identify emotions and understand the role they play in influencing a person’s thoughts, words, and actions. They do so by quietly observing both themselves and others, reflecting on those observations, and sometimes sharing their conclusions.
  2. They pause: They realize that emotions are fleeting and that, often making impulsive decisions leads to regrets. Therefore, they try to pause and think before speaking or acting – especially when they find themselves in an emotionally charged moment. Their goal is to never make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.
  3. They control their thinking: Most emotions are experienced instinctively, meaning you can’t control how you feel in any given moment. They recognize they can control how they react to those feelings by focusing on their thoughts. In doing so, they avoid becoming a slave to their emotions.
  4. They learn from “emotional hijacks: “The truth is, none of us can control our emotions perfectly. We all make mistakes, and we’ll continue to do so. Those with true EQ endeavor to learn from mistakes. They study their behavior, identify their triggers, and cultivate the habits they need to successfully keep their emotions in balance.
  5. They demonstrate humility: Many people today view humility as weakness. Those with EQ value humility, and are quick to accept criticism, using it to grow. They realize being humble doesn’t mean that they lack self-confidence or that they never stand up for their opinions or principles. Rather, it involves recognizing that they don’t know everything, and being willing to learn from others.
  6. They practice honesty: They do more than say what they sincerely believe, they also avoid half-truths and strive to present information in a way that won’t be misinterpreted. They realize that a focus on technicalities, loopholes, and escape clauses may win them a trial in court, but it won’t win them others’ trust.
  7. They’re authentic: Those with high EQ realize authenticity doesn’t mean sharing everything about yourself, to everyone, all of the time. They endeavor to always say what they mean, mean what they say, and stick to their values and principles above all.
  8. They show empathy: Instead of labeling others or freezing them in time, emotionally intelligent people work hard to see things through another person’s eyes. They listen, not to form judgments. Instead, they listen to understand, which leads to deeper, more connected relationships.
  9. They commend others: They look for the good in others. They share specific praise. They also focus on nurturing others’ potential. By doing so, they create positive, self-fulfilling prophecies.
  10. They deliver necessary feedback effectively: Negative feedback has great potential to cause hurt feelings. Realizing this, they reframe criticism as constructive feedback, so the recipient sees it as helpful instead of harmful.
  11. They apologize: “I’m sorry” can be the most difficult words to say. They realize the power of those words. They also know that saying sorry doesn’t always mean you’re wrong – just that you value your relationship more than your ego.
  12. They forgive and forget: Hanging on to resentment is like leaving a knife inside a wound. While the offending party moves on with their life, you never give yourself the chance to heal. By forgiving and forgetting, they move on and prevent others from holding their emotions hostage.
  13. They keep their commitments: We live in a world where it’s become commonplace to “bail”, “ghost”, or simply flake out. They realize that keeping their word, in things big and small, establishes a strong reputation for reliability and trustworthiness.
  14. They tell good stories: Everyone loves a great story. They use anecdotes and narratives to bring numbers, facts, and key ideas to life. Through illustrations and real-life examples, they touch others and motivate them to act.
  15. They help others: One of the best ways to inspire someone is to help them. By extending a supportive hand, they help others to become the best version of themselves.
  16. They know when to relax: Those with high emotional intelligence realize they needn’t understand every feeling as they experience it or dissect every event as it happens. Instead, they search for deeper understanding when beneficial. And simply enjoy the moment when not.
  17. They safeguard themselves from emotional manipulation: They realize that there’s a dark side to EQ, like when individuals use deception to manipulate or pursue selfish goals at the expense of others.
  18. They embrace diversity: They recognize that EQ comes in all different packages, shapes, and sizes. Quiet or loud. Brash or meek. Leader or follower. As they become aware of their own emotional tendencies and weaknesses, they endeavor to learn from those who are different, realizing it is these persons from whom they can learn the most.
  19. They recognize the power of emotions: Our emotions influence practically everything about our lives. They help us decide which career path we take, for which jobs we apply. They determine whether or not we enjoy a movie, a song, or a piece of art. They impact our decisions as to where we will live and for how long. They help us determine with whom we choose to spend our time, whom we fall in love with and marry … and whom we leave behind. Emotions can cause us to make a split-second decision, with consequences that will follow us for the rest of our lives. At times, they make us feel like we’re stuck in a black hole with no way out – even if in the eyes of the rest of the world we’ve got it made. But, they can also provide light at the end of the tunnel making the most dire of circumstances more bearable.
  20. They hunger for more knowledge about EQ.