10 THINGS EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE AVOID
While scientists and psychologists think some people might be genetically predisposed to a higher EQ, there’s also encouraging evidence that you can actively change and shape it. And one of the best places to start is by examining and regulating certain emotionally toxic behaviors. Here are ten major ones to avoid, and advice about what to do instead.
1. Emotional Repression
Firstly, and most obviously, emotionally intelligent people don’t push away their feelings—even the unpleasant ones. They’re in tune with everything from joy to fury, anxiety and ambivalence, and they let themselves truly experience the whole gamut of emotions. To enhance your capacity to do this, schedule a simple daily mindfulness exercise in which you ask “How do I feel?” and let the unfiltered reality flow through you.
2. The Drama Triangle
Explained by a Stephen Karpman, a therapist who played a major role in shaping transactional analysis theory, the Drama Triangle illustrates three positions you can take when it comes to responsibility and conflict–and all of them are generally avoided by the emotionally intelligent person. Taking the “victim” role robs you of your power and also of your accountability. Meanwhile, being a “persecutor” makes you controlling, blaming and critical–a thoroughly negative way to be. Finally, while it might sound good to adopt the “rescuer” role, you actually focus all your energy on others as a way of avoiding your own issues. Monitor the roles you take in your relationships, and strategize ways to step out of the drama triangle when it arises.
3. Uneven Power Dynamics
Relatedly, focus on forming bonds with people who treat you as equals, and who you treat as equals. Emotionally intelligent people know that letting others control or talk down to them erodes self-esteem and agency, while surrounding yourself with people who look up to you and never challenge you will hinder your growth. Your real allies will engage in reciprocal, respectful relationships and help you along your path to manifesting a better life.
There’s a fine line between introspection and counterproductive navel-gazing—and the emotionally intelligent person knows how to walk it. Check in with your feeling, explore the underlying beliefs and assumptions that drive them, but don’t get so lost in your inner world that you fail to notice or appreciate the outer one.
5. “Buying” Regard
You can get people to spend time with you by giving them things and doing favors, but this way of relating to others sends out the message that you are only worth what you contribute. To be happy and to vibrate on the right frequency for manifestation, you need to know you’re worthy just for being you. Bring your authentic self to the table, and those who deserve to know you will love you regardless of whether you’re “useful.”
6. Pressure to Conform
All around you, there will be people telling you to be a certain way, follow a certain career path or want specific things. In the long-term, emotional intelligence requires resisting this pressure, and instead looking to your own core values to determine the road you’ll walk. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain—you’re more likely to regret conforming than you are to regret breaking free.
7. Fruitless Conflict
While it’s good to stand up for yourself and be direct in communication, it’s emotionally smart to avoid becoming embroiled in fights that go nowhere. Pick and choose your battles according to what truly matters—don’t waste your energy on bickering or on jealous competitions, and save that power for positive interactions instead.
Gossiping is another type of negative interaction that’s best avoided. It’s pointless at best and harmless at worst, and it marks you out as the sort of person who can’t be trusted. Emotionally intelligent people strive for deeper, more meaningful conversations rather than focusing on rumors, and they’re mindful of the fact that words can wound.
Saying “yes” to everything that’s asked of you will only drain and destroy you. Do find ways to give back to your community and to the world, but know when you need to set aside time for recharging and rejuvenating your soul. It isn’t selfish to take care of yourself—it’s smart, and it’s necessary.
10. Seeking Approval
Finally, emotionally intelligent people have moved on from the need to ask others to sign off on every action or belief. When you want something, have the courage of your convictions and go ahead and pursue it! Learning how to validate yourself leads to stable self-confidence, a positive outlook and a strong heart that can achieve anything it sets out to do.
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