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Five Steps Towards Becoming Emotionally Intelligent

Being emotionally intelligent doesn't just apply to oneself.

Wellness

Emotional intelligence or, EQ as it is commonly called, is the ability to identify and manage one’s emotions. It is how you overcome challenges and identify triggers that threaten to impact your day-to-day. It is being in control of your emotions so that you can healthily express them. As well as understanding the art of honoring your feelings without being overwhelmed. But being emotionally intelligent doesn't just apply to oneself. It is also being in tune with the feelings of those around you and showing compassion when needed.


Having a strong sense of emotional intelligence allows for individuals to easily adapt to change, navigate difficult conversations, and build strong, healthy relationships. Further allowing them to conquer their goals while making better, more informed decisions. Turning their intentions into action.

For some, having a high EQ comes effortlessly. They are naturally empathetic when it comes to the needs of both themselves and the people around them. The moment they feel something amiss, they automatically spring into action. They are the ones who express themselves effortlessly, often speak up for those who cannot, and consider how their actions will impact others.

However, not everyone is born emotionally intelligent. Those with a low EQ often lack accountability, have poor social skills, and are self-centered. They are the ones who struggle with managing their emotions, often resulting in unpredictable outbursts. And are also the ones who lack empathy, are quick to judge, and are most likely to say or do the wrong things at the wrong time.

But whether it is with friends, family, or romantic partners, at work or in leadership, being emotionally intelligent is necessary for building relationships, managing stress, and improving overall satisfaction. So for those who struggle with emotional intelligence, here are five steps towards improvement.

1. Self-Awareness

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Beyond being cognizant of your emotions, self-awareness is understanding the effects of your thoughts, moods, and actions on others. It is getting to the why behind your behaviors and being open to learning how to correct them. Self-awareness is also having confidence, learning how to be comfortable in your skin, having the ability to laugh at your mistakes, and being open to new experiences.

Ways to improve self-awareness are journaling, meditation, practicing mindfulness, and goal-setting.

2. Self-Regulation

This is where you learn how to control your impulses. Self-regulation is thinking before speaking and making well-informed decisions. Simply put, it's finding the appropriate way to express yourself. Self-regulation is holding yourself accountable and being flexible at the onset of change. As well as being mindful of the influence that you may have on others.

Ways to improve self-regulation include practicing communication, rethinking how you view obstacles, being conscious of your feelings, and finding different approaches when your emotions get the best of you.

3. Motivation

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When it comes to being emotionally intelligent, motivation is the desire to self-improve. It is being committed to seeing things from conception to completion, even in the face of adversity. It's being action-oriented. Always striving for better and being quick to take initiative.

Ways to become more motivated are establishing small, measurable goals, finding accountability partners, and celebrating your wins, especially the small ones.

4. Empathy

Valuing one's individual experiences. Sharing in someone's feelings. Appreciating the perspectives of others. Those are all examples of empathy. Being empathetic is both being interested in someone's concerns and anticipating how they will respond in difficult situations. Empathy is also understanding power dynamics and their influence on various relationships.

Ways to become more empathetic are listening to understand and not to respond, being vulnerable, and imagining how you would feel if the roles were reversed.

5. Social Skills

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Being able to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and manage relationships are all characteristics of social skills. Social skills look at what it takes to create and maintain bonds with others. It's finding that common ground and developing a strong rapport with those you interact with regularly. Social skills also assist with developing a stronger relationship with oneself.

Ways to improve on your social skills include acknowledging the skill sets of others, showing interest in what people bring to the table, and being mindful of body language as well as other forms of nonverbal communication.

At the end of the day, becoming emotionally intelligent, like most forms of self-improvement, is a marathon, not a sprint. As we are all continuously evolving into better beings, there will be times where we won't be as emotionally intelligent as we think. And that's OK.

What's most important is that we give ourselves grace, remain open to correction, and when all else fails, return to the first step in becoming emotionally intelligent. Because it always starts and stops with you.

Featured image by Getty Images

TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

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