Have you ever been in the middle of a heated moment and shouted something mean or offensive without meaning to? Do you brush off these situations with a relaxed 'I'm sure it's ok,' or do you stop to think about why it happened, and how it made the other person feel? If your response is the latter, then congrats, you possess what's called emotional intelligence (EI).
For those not in the know, EI is the ability to understand and manage one's own emotions, as well as the feelings of the people around them. It's the ability to reflect on past actions and consider how they might have been seen or interpreted by other people. It's also very important for dealing with and overcoming daily obstacles, improving relationships, and maintaining a positive outlook and healthy response to hard times. Without this crucial EI skill set, we can easily become overwhelmed and quick to react from both positive and negative emotions and to avoid tough conversations.
Sadly, some people are lacking in serious EI. If you think this might be the case for you, here are six telling signs that you may have a hard time managing your own emotions, as well as others:
1. You Over-Analyze — It's understandable to try and read between the lines, but when you suspect someone's always trying to manipulate you or hiding something, you might need to step back and take a break from analyzing every little action and word they say.
2. You Feel Guilty Easily — Do you blame yourself for situations that end poorly? Do you feel guilt or shame over decisions you've made, or those made by people around you? Often times when we don't have a good sense of our impact on others, we can become hyper self-critical or overly anxious around new people.
3. You Respond Too Quickly – Do you find yourself reacting quickly and angrily, perhaps even saying things you can't take back later? It's easy to shoot from the hip and take something out of context, but when we're lacking in EI, it's helpful to pause for a moment and think about how our words could be hurtful.
4. You Feel Isolated — Feeling isolated and disconnected from others is another symptom of lacking EI. If you don't know how to create and maintain meaningful relationships, or you're constantly overwhelmed by how other people are feeling, you might find yourself alone quite often.
5. You Lash Out in Frustration — Do you find yourself getting angry or lashing out in frustration over minor incidences? Because you don't have the emotional management skills to deal with the situation, you can become moody or agitated more quickly than the average person.
6. You Withdraw in Stressful Situations — And lastly, if you find yourself withdrawing in stressful situations, it might be because you don't have the EI skills to navigate through them. Withdrawing is a sign of decreased well-being and lowered self-confidence, both of which can lead to even bigger issues.
Being aware of your emotional intelligence can help you develop better relationships and communication skills. Looking for signs that you may be lacking in EI can help you decide when to take a step back and allow yourself to develop your understanding of others, as well as yourself.
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