Some people get stressed easily while others have a take-it-easy attitude. Some are assertive, while others are not.
Jumping to conclusions, holding grudges, holding on to mistakes, blaming others, easily offended, often misunderstood, unaware of their own triggers, or suppressing your anger – some have them and some don’t.
We say that some have better control over their minds or know their mind well. Is there a term to define this? Is there a method to gauge this?
The answer is yes. Emotional intelligence is the term you are searching for.
All the negative traits listed above are symptoms of low emotional intelligence.
This article attempts to understand emotional intelligence, its importance, steps to boost it, signs of low emotional intelligence, and ways to deal with someone with low emotional intelligence.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence (EI), also known as emotional quotient (EQ), is the ability to identify, understand, process, express, and manage your own emotions in a positive way. It is also the ability to read, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others.
Emotional intelligence involves a few life skills. Such as emotional awareness or the ability to be conscious of your own emotions, the ability to use the emotions for reasoning and problem solving, and the ability to control the emotions in yourself as well as in others.
While some psychologists are of the view that emotional intelligence can be learned, acquired, and strengthened, others think of it as an inherent attribute.
Why is emotional intelligence important?
Emotional intelligence has a role to play in some of your defining attributes – self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, and relationship management.
You need higher levels of emotional intelligence to:
- Manage stress levels
- Overcome challenges
- Reduce discord
- Communicate effectively
- Empathize with others
Emotional intelligence helps you to connect with feelings, translate desires into action, and make informed decisions. It helps you to succeed in anything you do, achieve goals, and build strong relationships.
This means that to make the best of your life, you need to have high emotional intelligence.
Often in life, it is not those with a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) that succeed, you need something more than that. The something that helps you succeed is EQ.
Steps to boost emotional intelligence
Many think of emotional intelligence as an inborn quality. The best you can do is work on it to improve it. This is easier said than done.
Often, you know what you need to do but don’t carry through the plan for a variety of reasons. This is why there are doubts whether emotional intelligence can be learned or even improved upon.
You can raise your emotional intelligence by working on the key skills involved – self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, and relationship management.
These are some actions you can take to improve your EQ.
- Listen to what others are telling you
- Empathize with others or understand what they are going through
- Process the emotions and reflect on them
- Incorporate the information gathered and the lessons learned from them in your behavior
Signs of lack of emotional intelligence
Low emotional intelligence is a mental disorder and causes aberrations in all your actions and behavior.
The common signs of low EQ are:
- Mood changes and/or emotional outbursts
- Inability to understand the reason behind feelings
- Failure to be assertive
- Disinterest in problem-solving
- Have a hard time dealing with criticism
- Blaming others and victim mentality
- Inability to articulate or elucidate with clarity
- Being misunderstood
- Blurting out wrong things at the wrong time
- Unaware of the emotional needs of others
- Fixation on mistakes and refusal to learn, let go, and move on
- Pessimistic viewpoints
- Lack of motivation when faced with setbacks
- Inability to form strong relationships
Ways to deal with someone lacking emotional intelligence
People with low EQ are emotionally challenged. They fail to recognize emotions in others as well as have trouble processing their own emotions. For another person, such as you, with higher EQ, this is hard to take in. On the other hand, a person with low EQ also finds it difficult to understand your emotion-centric approach.
Dealing with someone with low EQ is to bridge this gap and meet them midway.
1. Accept them without prejudice
No two of us are alike. Each one of us is unique and contributes in diverse ways. Try to remember this fact of life and learn to accept people as they are without trying to change them. Because if you judge, point out differences, pass comments, or suggest alternate viewpoints, you are in trouble. You will face strong resistance to everything you do, even if your intentions are good and your heart is in the right place.
Respect them and their personality and try to look for their strengths instead of weaknesses in their repertoire of emotions. Instead of attempting to change them, encourage them to work on gaining better control over their emotions.
Offer your unconditional love and support. Encouragement and support always win where criticism and blame fail miserably.
- You can ask them how they are feeling when they look stressed and offer your help if needed.
- You can stay calm and practice empathy and compassion. You can be a calming influence on them.
- You can encourage them to practice calming techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or going for a walk.
2. Listen to them without interrupting or judgment
Even if you don’t accept or subscribe to what they are saying, give them the courtesy of your full attention. Hear them out. Just imagine how they feel when everyone cuts them off and do not even make the effort to understand them. As their coping mechanism is in disarray, it is natural for them to feel frustrated and resentful.
Impress upon them that they are being heard. Listen to them actively and hear what they have to say.
- You can ask questions to make it clear to them that you are actually listening and not faking it.
- You can summarize what they said at the end of the conversation and ask them for confirmation that you got it right.
- You can reflect on what they said and ask them to elucidate and clarify finer details.
3. Be consistent and stick to rational views
As someone with low EQ will have trouble with understanding emotions, it would help to communicate effectively with them through logic and reasoning. Stick to facts and details rather than emotions and feelings.
This means describing something based on cold hard facts and just as it happened and skip the mention of its emotional impact. Express your thoughts with clarity and make sure you remain consistent in your viewpoints. Express your feelings in words as you cannot expect them to pick it up from your tone or body language.
People with low EQ find it challenging to understand their own emotions and that of others. But this doesn’t mean that they do not have emotions and feelings. Their behavior stems from these repressed emotions.