Of course, you are smart. But are you emotionally intelligent? Emotional intelligence doesn’t come from a specific book or rigorous education. Instead, it refers to how you understand your own emotions as well as those of others.
Even if you don’t know much about emotional intelligence, it’s easy to spot when someone doesn’t. For example, someone who constantly blames others for their own problems doesn’t understand how disruptive their negative emotions are.
Those without emotional intelligence also often sabotage their own success. They keep getting carried away by anxiety and stress, which prevents them from making real progress towards their goals.
We should all strive to be more emotionally intelligent. To help you out, we’ve put together a guide on what not to do so you can further improve your emotional intelligence. Here are four things emotionally intelligent people don’t do.
Criticizing others is very easy. In fact, it is fundamentally embedded in our human nature. But have you ever thought about what drives our constant urge to criticize?
There is basically a fine line when it comes to criticism. For example, constructive criticism is always helpful – it’s a way of letting those around you know what they can do to improve or improve their life.
Other times, however, the “review” is just a password to rip up other people. And why would anyone do that? Because they think that demolishing someone is a way to build yourself.
Maybe you are saying (or just thinking) that another person is stupid because it makes you feel smart. Or you criticize their taste for fashion or decoration because it makes you feel good in your own aesthetic sense.
Emotionally intelligent people avoid doing this because they see how much of a sham it is. Shooting down another person will never make you stronger. Instead, you should be focusing on improving your own life.
Worry about the future
Do you know someone who lives comfortably in the “now” instead of constantly worrying about the future? In all likelihood, this person is emotionally intelligent.
As with the review, some worry about the future is positive and even necessary. It would be foolish, for example, to never have thought about your retirement and to make plans to make it more comfortable.
However, some people worry about the future so regularly that it disrupts their daily life. This is what those who do not have emotional intelligence do: they put the cart before the horse!
The main reason anyone worries about the future is because they are completely uncertain. It’s easy to make the rookie mistake, but worrying about the future all the time helps you get over that uncertainty. In fact, it makes you worry so much about tomorrow that you will never be able to enjoy the here and now.
What are emotionally intelligent people doing instead? Simple: they accept that the future is uncertain and that there is little they can do to change things. By doing what they can and letting the rest go, these people are freeing themselves from the obsession of tomorrow.
Obsess about the past
Of course, not everyone is obsessed with tomorrow. A lot of people are quite obsessed with what happened in the past!
This is arguably the most common sign that someone lacks emotional intelligence. It may mean that you can’t sleep because you remember a painful argument from years ago. Or you focused on how you could have said something different in a previous conversation and completely changed your life.
As with criticism, some level of this can be constructive and positive. We can never learn from our mistakes if we don’t face them, and facing our mistakes is the key to personal growth.
Those without emotional intelligence, however, worry about the past in chronic and toxic ways. Ironically, this obsession with the past is usually due to the fact that the person wants an illusion of control in an uncertain world.
How do emotionally intelligent people view the mistakes of the past? They understand that there is nothing they can do to change what has already happened.
By letting go of a negative obsession with the past, it is possible to embrace the liberating possibilities of the future.
Live with unrealistic expectations
Those who lack emotional intelligence often drive their friends and even their family members away. Why? We can sum it up in two words: “unrealistic expectations.”
When you’re close to someone, it’s natural that you want what is best for them. Maybe you want them to have a high-profile job or the partner they deserve.
However, those without emotional intelligence go the extra mile and create unrealistic expectations for others. Maybe you think your daughter deserves to be CEO fresh out of college, or you think her boyfriend should be a millionaire.
This creates a feedback loop where you are disappointed that your loved ones aren’t meeting your unrealistic expectations. And when that happens, you end up resenting them and pushing them away instead of helping them succeed.
At the end of the day, these kinds of unrealistic expectations are just a petty way to try to control the lives of others. Emotionally intelligent people drop those expectations and simply accept their family and friends for who they are.
Doing so will make you happier and healthier in your daily life. And more than that, it will make you into the kind of person that your family and friends truly deserve!
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