Emotions and intelligence sound kind of contradictory, don’t they?
When we think of feelings, we imagine a storm of uncontrollable states that come and go, while reason is something logical. Something stable and solid.
Contrary to popular belief, though, emotions come with their own kind of intelligence – you’ve just got to know how to navigate the hurricane.
Ready to jump in?
If you display these 8 traits, you have high emotional intelligence.
1) You respect people – even those you don’t like
So, what exactly does it mean to be emotionally intelligent?
Well, the basic principle is that you’re highly aware of your feelings – and you’re able to accept, process, and regulate them.
As an example, think of a person you’re not particularly fond of. How do you treat them?
Do you put them down, make passive-aggressive remarks, and let your anger get the best of you?
Or do you respect them as a person and act politely in their presence even though you don’t agree with their opinions and way of life?
If you’re nodding yes to the latter, it’s a sign of high EQ because it means you’re able to hold your temper and navigate uncomfortable social situations with your dignity left intact.
2) You don’t let yourself get pushed around
It’s good to respect others. But!
There’s a difference between respecting someone and not respecting yourself. And it can be a tightrope to walk, that’s for sure.
The key lies in assertiveness.
A person with high EQ will state their boundaries without coming across as aggressive or snappy. They’ll communicate clearly and confidently, yet they won’t stoop to jabs or outright insults.
You’ve got to respect both yourself and others. And that’s not always easy.
But as long as you’re in harmony with who you are as a person, that inner peace will naturally manifest in your interactions and allow you to keep your boundaries in place.
3) You think through your words before you speak
And how can one navigate social situations so easily, you may ask?
Well, while there are obviously many factors at play, it all boils down to communication.
I’ve seen friends say things they’d later regret just because they were angry and frustrated.
I’ve met people who said whatever came to their mind without thinking it through and accidentally overshared.
Remember that it’s always better to slow down and take a moment to think rather than to blurb out the very first thing that occurs to you.
This is emotional intelligence at its finest – self-awareness, self-regulation, and people skills all in one.
4) You’re confident yet humble
When I say “confidence”, you probably imagine it as something loud. Something so clear as day that no one can ignore it. Something that takes the spotlight.
But true confidence is actually much quieter. It’s when you love who you are and are so grounded within yourself that you don’t feel the need to impress anyone else.
This is where people with high EQ differ from others. They aren’t arrogant. They don’t boast. They are so confident that they don’t seek any external validation, which means they might actually be pretty quiet individuals.
It is at the intersection of confidence and humility where true emotional intelligence is at its brightest.
5) You’re all about the little things
Another pillar of EQ is empathy, and while observational skills might seem like something born of rational intellect, they’re actually based on a stable ground of – yes, exactly – empathy.
Empaths make for excellent observers, and here’s why: they’re in tune with the emotional atmosphere around them. They notice when it ebbs, flows, and shifts. They can tell the vibe has changed based on minor cues, such as the tone of people’s voices or the little things they say.
What’s more, they naturally adjust their behavior to fit the new circumstances. It’s an amazing skill – and if you have high emotional intelligence, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
6) You listen to understand
Is there anything more demotivating than telling someone an exciting story and receiving an underwhelming reply?
If something like this has ever happened to you, I want you to know that you weren’t at fault. You deserve to be heard and have your emotions validated.
In fact, the other person’s lack of engagement is a huge sign that they’re running low on emotional intelligence, especially if they make every conversation about themselves and never actively listen to what you have to say.
High EQ equals active listening. It means that you don’t listen just to be polite; you listen because you genuinely care.
You’re all “Wow” and “Oh my God” and “What happened next”, which makes people feel like you actually want to know what they have to say.
7) You welcome feedback with open arms
Emotionally intelligent people love self-development.
They’re aware of how much growing they have yet to do, and so receiving feedback – both positive and negative – is something they cherish.
Let’s be honest, it never feels good to hear critique. But ultimately, you know it’s for the best. You know it’s exactly what you need in order to become a higher version of yourself.
Your arms are open. Let all the sticks and stones come. They won’t break your bones; they’ll help you grow stronger.
8) You know how to balance self-compassion and discipline
Finally, emotional intelligence isn’t only about how you exist in the world around you; more than anything, it’s about your internal state of mind.
EQ goes hand in hand with self-love. The more you’re at peace with yourself, the better you are at navigating external circumstances.
But love isn’t always gentle. Sometimes, it’s tough. Sometimes, it’s about pushing yourself when all you want is to laze around in your pajamas.
There is a fine line between laziness and self-compassion, just as there is one between discipline and being too harsh on yourself.
If you truly can’t find it within yourself to work hard today, give yourself a break.
But if you can feel a tiny spark inside you…maybe it’s time you push yourself a little bit.
Does this balancing act sound familiar?
If so, you know what it means. You are likely to have high emotional intelligence. Congratulations!