All humans have emotions. In fact, it is a fundamental part of what makes us who we are. It is a conscious reaction that is subjectively experienced accompanied by behavioral changes. This state of feeling is what (de)motivates us to make the choices that shape our future.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to evaluate, perceive, and control our own emotions and those of others. The term was coined by two researchers, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, in their article “Emotional Intelligence” in 1990. Many studies suggest that EQ is just as important as one’s cognitive intelligence and that it can be an inborn characteristic and can likewise be learned and honed. EQ is an important aspect not only in our personal relationships, but also in our professional lives.
While the intangible nature of Emotional Intelligence makes it difficult to quantify how much a person has, there are existing tests you can take to measure your EQ. One example is The Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS) developed by Mayer, Salovey, and David Caruso. It measures the four branches of emotional intelligence which are:
- Identifying Emotions
- Using Emotions
- Understanding Emotions
- Managing Emotions
Psychologist Reuven Bar-On on the other hand, developed a self-report measure on a number of personality traits he believed make up emotional intelligence; to him, the three general ways of testing emotional intelligence are Self-Report, Other-Report, and Ability measures.
While we won’t be going into detail into these tests, nonetheless, we are going to take a closer look at these five practical traits you can use to measure your emotional intelligence on your own.
1. Perception of emotions
This is not limited to identifying emotions alone. This could also mean acknowledging and understanding them as precisely as you can. Being able to understand verbal and non-verbal cues such as facial and body language.
Feeling “bad” or “sad” is a simple way of naming what you are feeling. However, highly emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they are “frustrated”, “anxious”, “depressed”, or “irritable.” The more specific it is, the more one will be able to understand them, where they are coming from, and what they can and should do about it.
This is also the ability to recognize one’s own strengths and limitations as well as being open to new information and experiences. Practicing self-awareness can also improve consciousness on how actions, emotions, and moods influence people and their immediate surrounding.
2. Emotion management
This means regulating and managing emotions. This does not imply concealing and suppressing emotions; rather, it’s about waiting for the appropriate time and place to express them. The flexibility exists to adapt well to the changes that occur around you.
Self-regulated people are aware of how they influence others and can take responsibility for their own actions. They are good at managing conflicts and can neutralize toxic people and situations because they can approach it with calmness and rationality to view and understand another person’s standpoint in order to find a solution or a common ground.
High EQ people are also difficult to offend and can let go of mistakes. They are confident, open-minded, and have a sense of humor even in the face of oversights because they can draw the line between humor and degradation.
They can also keep a safe distance from previous missteps but not forget them, which means they can refer to, adapt, and adjust from those mistakes for future success.
3. Social awareness
How well are you able to interact with others? Strong social skills are one way to know whether you have high emotional intelligence. This means having the ability to build strong and meaningful relationships with other people and a stronger understanding of oneself and others.
Still, it does not stop with understanding. One must know how to convert this awareness of one’s emotions as well as others into information you can use in order to improve daily communication and interactions.
By doing so, you become not only good at socialization but as well as in reading people and grasping their point of views. Over time, you also gain comprehension of other people’s motivations, making you an excellent judge of character.
The first three qualities are encapsulated by this one: empathy. This is basically putting yourself in another person’s shoes and therefore understanding the person even more. High EQ people are very empathetic – they would want to understand the viewpoint of others so that they can assess how they would act if the same situation arises.
Hence, empathy is the ability to understand how others are feeling. It does not only mean recognizing the emotional states of the people around you, but it also involves one’s response to others based on your personal observation. With this, you will be able to understand the dynamics that influence the relationships you have with the people close to you especially in a workplace setting. This is critical in guiding you with your interactions with different daily encounters.
Empathizing also means being curious about people regardless of their personalities. The more you watch closely, the more you care about them. You learn to understand not only their emotions, but also what they are going through. Only then would you be able to advise other people on how to deal with the situation they are in.
Emotionally intelligent people feel highly fulfilled when they can find inspiration. Their drive to do action is limitless and they are oriented into achieving set goals and plans. They also feel a huge sense of accomplishment when they know that being true to their emotions resulted in the best outcome possible.
Simply put, they seek intrinsic rewards. This makes high EQ people very action-oriented. They set goals and have higher needs for achievements, and they do not stop at point A, they strive to always get better as they are committed to what they do and what they are good at.
These five traits are ways in which you can refer to your own EQ level. Developing and honing one’s emotional quotient is as important as improving one’s critical and cognitive intelligence. Reflecting inwardly is a huge step into being highly keen to your feelings, as well as to others. All are part of what makes one successful. At its core, it is what drives us to make choices, develop positive behaviour, and form good relationships with others. And ultimately, it affects our quality of life and personal development.
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