Emotional intelligence is a more reliable indicator of career success than the IQ, as well as the level of happiness and emotional balance with which we face adversity. Therefore, it is not surprising that more and more people are wondering how to be emotionally intelligent.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage emotions, both yours and those of others. It shouldn't be understood as the triumph of the heart over the brain, but rather as an intersection point between emotions and the reason each emotion and topic is pondered.
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper and self-esteem,” said Robert Frost. Unfortunately, this concept is often left on a theoretical level because those who want to develop emotional intelligence do not find a well-defined path that allows them to grow. These three questions can serve as a starting point for you to be emotionally intelligent.
Being more emotionally intelligent: from introspection to practice
- What are the differences between how you see yourself and how others see you?
The first step to being more emotionally intelligent is to improve self-perception; that is, developing a more accurate image of yourself, which means comparing the image you have of yourself with the image you project and perceive others.
Being aware of how you express yourself and knowing what impact your attitudes, words and behaviors have on others is an essential component of emotional intelligence. You may think, for example, that you are an understanding person, but maybe those around you don't see you that way. In this case there is a dissonance.
The problem is that if you are not aware of the image you convey, you will not be able to identify the characteristics you need to modify to improve your emotional intelligence. If you think you are a good speaker but are not, you will do nothing to improve.
This means that you need to be open to the judgment of others and you don't want to be defensive when someone criticizes you. Compare the image you have of yourself with the image that others actually perceive.
- What is important to you?
The fact that you take into account the opinions of others about you does not mean that you have to give up your essence to meet their expectations. In fact, one of the pillars of emotional intelligence is self-confidence.
This means you need to listen to those around you but you also need to be clear about your goals. Where are you going? How do you see yourself in the future? What do you like about yourself and what do you want to change? What characteristics do you need to strengthen to achieve your goals?
Never lose sight of the fact that being emotionally intelligent isn't about satisfying others but about feeling good about yourself. Therefore, any change must begin with crossing the different levels of self-knowledge and the desire to improve as a person, not the desire to please others.
For example, if they tell you that you are not a very understanding person, instead of taking those words as an attack in dissonance with your image of yourself, take a step back, take a psychological distance and ask yourself if this is really the case. Then, ask yourself how important it is to you to develop understanding and empathy and how these can help you achieve your goals. The idea is that you find an intrinsic motivation that facilitates this change.
- What changes do you need to make to achieve your goals?
Many people reach this point of the journey without daring to take the next step. But any reflection is useless if it doesn't give way to change, and that means you have to get to work.
Once you have established what skills you need to develop, you need to identify specific actions to follow. If you want to become a more understanding person, for example, you can try to talk a little less and listen more, pay more attention to the reactions of your interlocutor and try to put yourself in his place before making a judgment.
Establishing a specific set of actions is what will allow you to be more emotionally intelligent. So, it's about taking advantage of every opportunity to practice those skills, because doing so will train your brain to respond more comprehensively to different situations. Each time you do this, you will strengthen the connections of empathy. Gradually you will find that it will come naturally to you to behave sympathetically and you will no longer have to try so hard.
These three simple questions will help you set your roadmap for being emotionally intelligent, based on your goals and priorities in life.