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High emotional intelligence is increasingly being linked to overall life
success. Rather than the standard cognitive intelligence (IQ)
test, research suggests that emotional intelligence (or ‘EQ’) is more
important in determining an individual’s success when it comes to
work, relationships and general well-being. On the flip side, low
emotional intelligence can be inhibiting and distort your perceptions,
reactions, and behavior.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence relates to our ability to understand, regulate
and express our emotions so that we can best adapt to the
environment we are in. It also relates to our ability to understand the
emotions of others and to be able to effectively deal with other people
in an emphatic way.
People with high emotional intelligence are generally self-aware, able
to control and manage their thoughts and emotions, can handle
criticism and can easily understand and empathize with the emotions
of others.
6 signs of low emotional intelligence
Having a low level of emotional intelligence certainly does not make
you a bad person, rather, it can make it more difficult to navigate the
complexities of life and the relationships that come with it. It is
important to recognize that emotional intelligence is not a static
unchangeable state. In reality, it is something that can be worked on to
help improve your life for the better. The first step is
identifying whether your emotional intelligence is low or not.
1. Quick to judge
Having a limited understanding of the emotions of others (and of your
own) can mean that you jump to (normally negative) conclusions
quickly. Most often, forming a negative opinion of a person or a
situation can mean that you are unable to rationalize your initial
emotions and recognize the need to assess the context of the situation
and the emotions and experiences of those within it.
Not having a handle on your emotions can lead to a distorted view of a
situation and taking steps to check this will help to squash those quick
and unhelpful judgments.
2. It’s difficult to handle criticism
Let’s be honest, no one likes criticism. However, the more self-aware
you are, the more honest you are with yourself about your strengths
and weaknesses. This makes it easier to accept criticism as it is likely
you are already aware of this weakness and take note that this is
something to be worked on.
When someone has low self-awareness, this makes criticism a highly
charged and emotional experience. If criticism is something that you
do not take lightly, this could be a sign of low emotional intelligence.
3. Listening is hard
A failure to listen to the opinions and thoughts of others could indicate
that you lack emotional intelligence and are not assigning value to the
emotions of others. Think about the last time you had a disagreement
or argument, did you consider what the other person was saying and
attempt to empathize with their point of view?
People with high emotional intelligence can listen to a situation and
won’t automatically dismiss ideas that don’t fit with their own
viewpoint. The next time you find yourself rising to the bait, take the
time to really listen to the point someone is making and try to see it
from their perspective.
4. Dwelling on mistakes
Being unable to let go of past mistakes is another sign of low emotional
intelligence. Learning from mistakes is important, but letting them
overshadow our life is unhelpful. Enhancing your emotional
intelligence could help you to stop beating yourself up about past
failures and help you to learn from them rather than dwell on them
5. Feeling misunderstood
Persistent feelings that you aren’t getting your message across, and
that your relationships are suffering because of it, can mean that your
level of emotional intelligence is quite low. Often being understood
comes from being in tune with our own emotions and how they come
across to others.
Someone with high emotional intelligence is able to interpret when
they are being misunderstood and can adjust their approach
accordingly. Having an understanding of how you come across can also
help you to adjust your manner when the situation needs it such as
when encountering conflict.
6. Feeling stressed out
‘Stress’ is used broadly here as any time you may feel anxious, tense or
uncomfortable in a situation. With high emotional intelligence, it is
easier to gain perspective on a situation and not waste energy allowing
growing anxiety to persist.
With a lower emotional intelligence, you may be allowing unhelpful
emotions to grow intolerable meaning that you feel stressed
out regularly. By identifying these emotions and controlling them so
they don’t get out of hand, you can increase your emotional
intelligence and manage feelings of stress better.