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Emotional intelligence (EQ) is our ability to perceive, control, and evaluate our emotions and the emotions of others. Much like intelligence (general) is measured, our emotional intelligence predicts our ability to manage our emotions and understand the emotions of others.

To be honest, emotional intelligence is greatly underrated and is an extremely important part of being human. You might disagree, but hear me out. Throughout our life, the relationships we have with others are extremely important for a myriad of reasons. If you want to have a fulfilling life, learning to connect with and understand others is paramount.

If you look at the habits of people with high levels of emotional intelligence, you are likely to witness the following:

1. They pay attention to their surroundings.

Emotionally intelligent people are very observant. They pay attention to people’s faces and their body language, and they listen for cues that could change the emotional energy of the room. Because of that, they are usually on top of shifts that take place and prepare themselves accordingly.

2. They can read between the lines.

Reading between the lines translates to listening to what is not said. That might sound impossible, or like something a psychic does, but actually, it’s something any of us can do. If you hear someone say something, and it comes across as them trying to express something that they feel, you are likely right.

3. They are self-aware.

Emotionally intelligent people are extremely self-aware. They pay attention to their own emotions and how they react to them. Of course, that doesn’t mean they are without error, but what it does mean is that when they do mess up, they are usually quick to acknowledge it.

4. They know the importance of pausing before reacting.

I once heard a therapist say that an emotionally immature person will think e/i or emotionally over intelligently. Put simply, this means that they react to their emotions without thinking things through. And when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. If you want to align yourself with a more emotionally intelligent mindset, it’s important to pause and think about your emotional reaction before putting it into action. Nine times out of ten, you probably will react differently once you are calm.

5. They try to find common ground.

Emotionally intelligent people are easily able to connect with others because they are quickly able to establish common ground with just about anyone. It is this trait that also makes it easy for them to get along with almost anyone.

6. They are open-minded.

Emotionally intelligent people realize that what works for one person will not work for everyone. Additionally, they understand that each of us is on our path. It is due to this understanding that they can approach life with an open mind.

7. They don’t jump to conclusions.

Rather than making assumptions, the emotionally intelligent person tends to think about things from numerous angles, or they just ask. When you jump to conclusions, you are likely going to put your own bias on your assumption which will only lead to trouble.

8. They can manage conflicts.

When a conflict arises, an emotionally intelligent person is the person you want to have around. During the conflict, they can stay calm, and think things through clearly and in a way that is conducive to reaching a compromise.

9. They stay positive.

Emotionally intelligent people tend to look at the bright side. They can shift their perspective and try to steer clear of negative thought traps that will only make their lives harder. That isn’t to say they never feel negative emotions – because negative emotions are necessary. What I am saying is that they don’t put an additional or unnecessary mental burden on themselves by engaging in negative thought patterns.

10. They understand the importance of boundaries.

Boundaries are extremely important, and emotionally intelligent people realize that. Boundaries are the limits we put between ourselves and others that discern how much we are willing to give and take. If someone tries to take advantage of them, they are quick to draw a line in the sand.

11. They know how to regulate their emotions.

Emotional regulation is also underrated but extremely important. Knowing how to regulate difficult emotions is a superpower, especially in the face of intense emotions.

12. They have high empathy.

Those who are emotionally intelligent also have the capacity for deep empathy. They pay attention to the needs of others and are considerate of them. And when someone around them needs extra support, they are the first to lend a hand.