Generally speaking, the higher your emotional intelligence (EI), the better you get along in life. People who are aware of their feelings, have control of their own thoughts, and maintain an open mind, even to criticism, have some of the markers of emotional intelligence. Another sign is authenticity. People who have integrity—those who do what they say and say what they mean—possess an important aspect of emotional intelligence.

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Here are some more signs of emotional intelligence:

  • Are you empathetic? Do you have the ability to walk around in another person’s shoes to understand how they feel? It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, it only means you can see their point of view. You don’t judge them or label them out of hand. Instead, you take the time and effort to try and see how they see things. When you try hard to understand how other people think—even, or especially, when you think differently—you create a connection that has the possibility to grow into a deep relationship.
  • Do you give positive feedback? This doesn’t mean you have to be a Pollyanna or artificially sunny. That wouldn’t be authentic. But it does mean you strive to see the positive, and when you have the opportunity to praise others, you take it. You actively look for the good in people, and when you share it, you reinforce the good in them. This helps them become the best version of themselves. Likewise, when you see something negative, you try to give constructive criticism that can be helpful instead of hurtful.
  • Do you know how to say you’re sorry? Sometimes it takes great courage to admit you’re wrong and apologize. It takes strength of character to put your relationship with someone else above your own ego. It demonstrates your own humility, a quality people with high EI have. You don’t hold a grudge. Instead, you learn to let go of resentments and try to forgive those who wrong you. When you can let go of old hurts, you can move forward with your life.
  • Do you help others? Sometimes the best medicine for helping yourself is helping others. When you put yourself out to make others feel better, you make a positive impact in the world, and that has to help you feel good, too. But the point isn’t to do something for yourself. The point is to be selfless and help those in need without any expectation of getting something out of it. When you’re willing to take the time to find people in need and listen to them, maybe even roll up your sleeves and get to work to help them, that is a demonstration of high EI.
  • Do you know how to protect yourself from toxic people? This is maybe the most difficult thing to do because it’s hard to imagine people taking advantage of you in such a way that it can hurt you. It’s hard to imagine because it’s something you would never do. But there are people who will use you and manipulate you for their own benefit and to your own detriment. People with high EI are realistic and they know they must protect themselves from others who would use and abuse them.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact