What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is an often overlooked aspect of our inner worlds. Usually, we focus on confidence, avoiding sadness and keeping our mental health in check. But underlying these and many other dimensions of our internal lives is emotional intelligence.
By learning emotional intelligence, you can unlock your ability to regulate your feelings. You also become capable of resolving inner conflicts. For maintaining your mental health, emotional intelligence is a neccessity. You can also find personal tricks for boosting your mood and confidence. Introspection allows you to recognize problematic tendencies. Most importantly, you can empathize more with others.
First of all, here are some attempts at defining emotional intelligence:
the ability to understand and control your own feelings, and to understand the feelings of others and react to them in a suitable way.
Wikipedia (see original sources on the Wikipedia page):
Emotional intelligence […] is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one’s goal(s).
Emotional intelligence is your capacity to:
-perceive and identify emotions (yours and other people’s)
-manage and regulate emotions
-react appropriately to other people’s
Emotional intelligence can be divided into 5 areas (here’s a source):
Introspection/Self-Awareness: your ability to recognize your inner workings and emotions. Consequently, your ability to analyze them. Without this, you would be essentially blind to your emotions. Self-Awareness is most fundamental to emotional intelligence.
Self-regulation: your ability to handle your emotions. Your ability to stop and think instead of acting impulsively. Also, your ability to manipulate your emotional world. I find the latter part difficult to fully express, but I hope you have a good idea of what I mean.
Motivation: your ability to regulate your emotions to make you more productive, driven and focused. E.g. dealing with procrastination, delaying gratification, reminding yourself of your end goals, knowing how to reward yourself for successes.
Empathy: Your ability to be aware of other people’s feelings. People with high empathy listen to others and are slow to judge. They also frequently attempt to put themselves in other people’s shoes mentally. Thus, they try and succeed at understanding other people’s wants and needs.
Social skills: Based mostly on empathy, social skills are our ability to communicate as well as to maintain and nurture fulfilling relationships. Social skills also include our ability to lead others and to navigate social settings appropriately.
Importance of Emotional Intelligence
Why are all these so crucial to success, happiness, social interactions and pretty much anything else?
If you can’t identify your feelings, you are missing important emotional signals of your psyche. And by not understanding exactly what is happening within you and what causes you distress or happiness, you are setting yourself up for continuous suffering and disorientation. Which also negatively affects the people around you.
If you can’t manage and regulate your emotions, you can fall victim to them. Emotions are what makes life worth living and they are behind our every thought. Nonetheless, or maybe especially so, you should learn to manage your emotions. Otherwise, problems such as procrastination, anxiety and trust issues can and will arise.
And if you can’t react properly to other people’s feelings, you are going to hurt people unintentionally. Obviously, you will harm your relationships. And you will prevent them from flourishing and living up to their potential. Understanding the foundations of your relationships will be harder.
A lack of emotional intelligence also prevents you from being a good problem solver when it comes to emotional and social complications. Your ability to find acceptable compromises suffers. You are also less able to assess situations and their emotional impact. You find it more difficult to adapt to your own and other people’s needs and wants.
Key to happiness
If you want to find happiness, you need to have a good grasp of what makes you happy and how your emotions function. If you want to have great relationships with the people you love, you need to develop your empathy. And if you want to be productive, motivated and to reach your goals, you need to be able to handle emotions, both yours and those of others.
Therefore, emotional intelligence is the key to happiness, success and mental health.
How to grow your Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence ought to be nourished and trained in order to develop and bloom.
Some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent and empathetic. But anyone can sharpen their emotional intelligence.
I will get more in-depth on this topic in future posts, but for now, here are some ways you can improve:
-make a conscious effort to put yourself in other people’s shoes
-keep a journal
-think about your feelings and what they mean
-keep asking why you feel a certain way (blog post about this particular part coming soon! Here’s an existing related post!)
-practice staying calm
-accept your feelings instead of fighting them
Now you know emotional intelligence is crucial to your happiness and success. I hope you found my post helpful and intriguing. I will write more on this particular topic soon, abiding by my 3-step-process guide to a happier life (introspection -> strategy -> life improvement).
The first step is to identify what makes you happy and why you feel what you feel. Then, setting long-term goals follows. Based on your goals, feelings and means, you can develop a strategic plan to reach your dreams and become happy/happier. This will be the execution/life improvement part, where I will focus particularly on passive income streams.