I hate to admit it but this article came about as the result of my internal moral compass quivering in apprehension about why self awareness seems to be plummeting on a worldwide scale. Don’t mistake self awareness for vanity either, narcissism and self promotion does not awareness make.
On the contrary, self awareness remains at the crux of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence pivots on a few critical characteristics that are all too easy to assume you exhibit. Just writing this made me realise that my own emotional intelligence (while it is present, does have gaping holes in it)…
Here’s the top 5 signposts of emotional intelligence:
Inherent self awareness
Comes from your ability to understand yourself, your motivations and reactions on a deeper level. When you really understand yourself you begin to strengthen your self awareness and become less prone to bouts of depression, surprise recklessness and novelty masochism.
How you accept, process and move on after negative road bumps gives us great insight into our self awareness. Some of us handle criticism with empathy, and others approach it rationally and see it as a motivator to work harder. Those with a high level of self awareness though do not blame others (late bus, lazy co-worker, snoring boyfriend, messy flatmate), nor do they make excuses or fall into a swamp of anxiety (that’s generally my reaction).
If you’re self aware you can efficiently evaluate how something makes you feel (regardless of its emotional impact) and move forward without either ignoring it or melting into a pool or self doubt. When you practice this the result will be heightened resilience and the ability to learn from all experiences.
An acute open mindedness
An emotionally intelligent creature has an open mind and isn’t limited by their own life experience or world views. This is because they understand that every individual walks a different path in life. It makes them a popular choice of confidante because they’re not quick to judge, and can usually provide clarity even when the confidant is submerged in a bubble of confusion.
No mincing of words
The emotionally intelligent make great listeners and generally are happy to listen more, and speak less. This also means that they’re likely to deliver the truth more directly.
With this said, emotionally intelligent humans have high expectations of the minds they surround themselves with. This means that they can deliver messages with clarity and expect not to have to sugar coat the truth, nor do they need to make excuses (to make the other person feel okay). There’s an expectation that those around them will possess intuitiveness, maturity and independence.
They can admit they are wrong, and say sorry
If the situation calls for it, the emotionally intelligent are willing to say sorry and admit they’re wrong. They may take a moment to do so (remember, they process intently) but they’re able to apologise and mean it. This comes with the expectation that the apology is merely tokenistic of the deeper meaning that they’ve derived from the mistake.
They don’t look for excuses, instead they’ll offer a genuine apology, taking responsibility for their actions. Often apologies are offered with a manipulative ultimatum; either to encourage guilt or completely erase actions by playing the victim. Those with low emotional intelligence will revert to saying things like “I’m sorry you feel that way”, thereby not owning any responsibility and disengaging themselves from the issue.
Challenging is positive
Not only do those with a high emotional intelligence easily put a positive spin on negative scenarios (even when they come as a surprise) but they’re also able to understand (their) negative emotions attached to such situations and focus instead on the positive aspects, and their strengths.
Those with a high emotional intelligence can also be categorically divided by their response to a challenge. Even though a challenge may stretch them to a level of mental or emotional discomfort they still relish the opportunity to face one for the personal growth that it may bring.
How do you measure up?