Emotional intelligence – it’s not just a buzzword. It’s about understanding your emotions, and those of others, and using that understanding to navigate social situations.
It might sound easy, but many of us are unknowingly holding onto behaviors that hinder our emotional intelligence.
So if you’re ready to level up in emotional intelligence, it’s time to bid farewell to certain behaviors.
Here are the nine behaviors you need to say goodbye to if you want to become more emotionally intelligent. Trust me, your relationships, both personal and professional, will thank you.
1) Reacting instead of responding
It’s a common scenario – someone says something that triggers an emotional reaction in you, and before you know it, you’ve fired back a response you later regret.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
Reacting impulsively is a behavior many of us are guilty of, and it’s one that can seriously hamper our emotional intelligence.
Why? Because reacting doesn’t give us time to process our emotions or consider the other person’s point of view. It’s all about instant gratification – making ourselves feel better in the moment, regardless of the long-term consequences.
On the other hand, responding requires us to pause, take a breath, and think about the best course of action. It’s about acting with intention rather than on autopilot.
2) Ignoring your own feelings
For a long time, I was one of those people who thought that emotions were something to be controlled, suppressed, or ignored. I’d put on a brave face, say “I’m fine,” and carry on as if nothing was wrong.
But let me tell you – ignoring your own feelings doesn’t make you emotionally intelligent. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Emotional intelligence isn’t about ignoring emotions; it’s about understanding and managing them. And you can’t do that if you refuse to acknowledge what you’re feeling in the first place.
It was a hard lesson to learn, but I’ve since realized that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated. These emotions aren’t signs of weakness, but signals from our body telling us that something needs attention.
If you’re aiming for higher emotional intelligence, stop pushing your feelings aside. Instead, allow yourself to feel them fully and understand what they’re trying to tell you. It’s not easy, but it’s a crucial step towards becoming more emotionally intelligent.
3) Holding onto grudges
Ever noticed how a grudge can feel like a heavy weight, dragging you down? That’s because it is.
Research has shown that holding onto resentment and anger can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health. It raises our blood pressure, increases our risk of heart disease, and can lead to depression and anxiety.
But it’s not just bad for our health – it’s also detrimental to our emotional intelligence. Holding onto grudges prevents us from empathizing with others, understanding their perspectives, and moving forward in a healthy way.
To boost your emotional intelligence, it’s important to work on forgiveness. This doesn’t mean you have to forget what happened or let people walk all over you. It simply means letting go of the anger and resentment for your own peace of mind.
4) Avoiding difficult conversations
Let’s be honest – nobody likes difficult conversations. They’re uncomfortable, awkward, and can be emotionally draining. But avoiding them is not the solution.
Avoidance might seem like the easy way out, but it only leads to unresolved issues and misunderstandings. It also hinders our emotional intelligence because it prevents us from effectively navigating and managing difficult emotions.
Becoming more emotionally intelligent requires facing these tough conversations head-on. It’s about expressing your feelings honestly and assertively, yet with empathy for the other person’s perspective.
5) Constantly being defensive
We’ve all been there – someone criticizes us, and our immediate reaction is to get defensive and start justifying ourselves. It’s a natural response to protect our ego, but it’s not conducive to emotional intelligence.
Being constantly on the defensive not only hinders constructive feedback, but also creates barriers in communication. It suggests that you’re not open to other perspectives or willing to consider that you might be wrong.
Emotional intelligence involves being receptive to feedback, even when it’s hard to hear. It’s about reflecting on what is being said rather than reacting defensively.
6) Neglecting self-care
In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to put everyone else’s needs before our own. We spend so much time caring for others that we forget to take care of ourselves.
But here’s the thing – neglecting self-care doesn’t just exhaust us physically, it also depletes us emotionally. It leaves us with little energy to process our emotions properly or empathize with others.
Emotional intelligence starts from within. It begins with acknowledging our own needs and giving ourselves the care we deserve. Whether it’s taking time out for a hobby, getting plenty of sleep, or simply saying ‘no’ when we need to, self-care is a vital part of emotional intelligence.
7) Trying to please everyone
For a long time, I was a people-pleaser. I would go out of my way to make everyone happy, often at the expense of my own happiness and well-being. I thought that by doing so, I was being emotionally intelligent.
But I’ve since learned that trying to please everyone is not only exhausting, it’s also impossible. You can’t make everyone happy all the time, and that’s okay.
True emotional intelligence involves setting boundaries and understanding that it’s okay to put your needs first sometimes. It means recognizing that you are not responsible for everyone else’s happiness.
8) Fearing change
Change can be scary. It can shake up our comfortable routines and force us out of our comfort zones. But fearing change can hold us back from growth and learning, two key aspects of emotional intelligence.
Emotionally intelligent people understand that change is a part of life. They embrace it as an opportunity to adapt and grow, rather than resisting it.
9) Lacking empathy
At the heart of emotional intelligence is empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Without it, all the other behaviors we’ve discussed are meaningless.
Empathy allows us to connect with others on a deeper level. It helps us build stronger relationships, communicate more effectively, and navigate social situations with ease.
Therefore, if there’s one behavior you should embrace to become more emotionally intelligent, it’s empathy. Practice putting yourself in others’ shoes, listen without judgment, and show genuine care and understanding.
It’s the most powerful tool in your emotional intelligence toolkit.
Emotional intelligence: A lifelong journey
The path to emotional intelligence is not a sprint, but a marathon. It’s not about quick fixes or ticking boxes; it’s a lifelong journey of self-discovery, understanding, and growth.
As we bid goodbye to these nine behaviors, we open the door to a more empathetic, understanding, and emotionally intelligent self. It’s not an easy path, but it’s a rewarding one. And remember, every step you take on this journey is a step towards a better understanding of yourself and the world around you.
So take a moment. Reflect on these behaviors. Which ones resonate with you? Where can you start making changes?
Remember, it’s not about perfection, but progress. And every step forward is a victory in its own right. Keep going.
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