If you have these 6 traits, you’re secretly emotionally intelligent

by Tina Fey | June 7, 2024, 8:28 pm

IQ is overrated.

I know you might not agree, but having a high IQ isn’t actually everything. You know what matters more?

Emotional intelligence.

This means that traits such as empathy, self-awareness, and emotional regulation matter more than we think.

It’s these traits that enable you to navigate through life’s challenges with grace and understanding, improving your life and the lives of those around you.

So, in this article, we’re going to unveil the 6 traits that signify hidden emotional intelligence.

Let’s get started!

1) You have high empathy

Are you always in tune with the feelings and emotions of others, even when they’re not explicitly expressed?

Does your heart resonate with them?

Do you understand their joys, their sorrows, their frustrations, and their excitement as if they were your own?

If so, you’re probably secretly emotionally intelligent.

You know that it’s important to let go of the illusion of detachment that comes from believing you’re immune to the feelings of others. That your responses matter more, and they are most potent when they occur without conscious thought and when you react instinctively.

2) You embrace failure

Most advice on emotional intelligence recommends “avoiding negative experiences” or “always maintaining a positive outlook”.

But while this is commonly preached in self-help literature, it’s not the complete picture of emotional intelligence.

In contrast, true emotional intelligence comes from being an “observer” of your own reactions, especially towards failure. It comes from scrutinizing your responses. 

So, observe your response to failure. Don’t judge it, don’t deny it, don’t suppress it; don’t do anything at all on your part.

You just need to be an observer, and the magic of observing is the essence of emotional intelligence.

As you observe, slowly you start to detach from the negative connotations associated with failure. But you are not becoming indifferent; you are becoming more aware and more resilient.

Because when you try to avoid failure all the time, you give too much power to your fear of failure.

3) You’re comfortable with silence

“Constant communication” comes from the idea that our words are the primary tools for connection in our relationships.

But the truth is that silence often speaks louder and creates deeper connections than any words ever could.

Your presence alone can comfort someone without needing to utter a single word. Your attention can be felt in silence, offering validation more potent than any phrase.

Because sometimes, a silent hug provides more solace than any words of consolation could.

4) You’re not afraid of vulnerability

In my observation, people often shield themselves with a facade of strength or indifference. They become engrossed in maintaining an image of invulnerability.

Their intentions are understandable. Displaying strength often seems to be a requirement in a competitive world.

But when people get so caught up in this display, they can slip into the habit of thinking their image is more important than genuine connections.

They can distance themselves from others. They become unapproachable and might not be such a relatable person to be around.

If they judged themselves for their intentions, they wouldn’t question their behavior.

But when they don’t focus solely on their intentions, they are more able to reflect on their actions and change how they behave. They are learning to break down their walls and appreciate the power of vulnerability.

In the end, how you open up to others is what matters, not the intentions that drive your behavior.

5) You’re adaptable

I had always prided myself on my detailed planning abilities. I would have a plan for every possible outcome and took comfort in the predictability this brought to my life.

But let’s be real — life is very rarely predictable.

No matter how much we try to perfectly chart our path toward success, there will always be challenges along the way that we can’t foresee.

And I can attest to this, because I had a similar experience.

A few years back, I was all set to start a new job overseas—a job I was excited about and had planned my life around.

But at the last minute, due to unforeseen circumstances, the opportunity fell through. My carefully laid plans were suddenly irrelevant.

In that moment of disappointment and chaos, I learned a valuable lesson about adaptability.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity or stubbornly sticking to my original plan, I decided to take this setback as an opportunity to explore other avenues.

Rather than forcing things to happen according to my plan, I started being flexible and open to new opportunities.

This didn’t mean I stopped planning altogether; it just meant that I became more capable of adjusting my course as necessary.

So, I hope you’re able to take a page out of my book. It’s this adaptability that will help you to navigate through life’s ups and downs more effectively, and it’s a trait that indicates high emotional intelligence.

5) You’re self-aware

Emotional intelligence places a significant emphasis on self-awareness as a fundamental trait. This trait is seen as the cornerstone of understanding not just our own emotions but also how we react to those of others.

This understanding urges us to delve into our own emotional landscape, to identify what we’re feeling, and to see how our emotions impact our actions.

What this means is that cultivating self-awareness encourages us to view our emotional journey as part of a larger personal growth narrative and can provide a sense of control and understanding.

So, for those grappling with their feelings, developing self-awareness can provide a sense of clarity. It’s a reminder that we are not at the mercy of our emotions–we can understand and manage them when we make an effort.

6) You’re comfortable with discomfort

This trait might appear paradoxical at first glance. After all, isn’t emotional intelligence about managing our emotions effectively to ensure comfort and peace of mind?

The truth is, the essence of emotional intelligence is not about avoiding discomfort but rather recognizing it, understanding its origin, and not allowing it to control our actions or reactions.

When we encounter an uncomfortable situation or emotion, our instinctive reaction might be to resist it or try to eliminate it. But an emotionally intelligent individual understands that discomfort is a natural part of life and personal growth.

They don’t merely endure discomfort but embrace it as an opportunity for learning and self-discovery. This ability to sit with discomfort, to understand its roots, and to learn from it is a potent indicator of emotional intelligence.

So, perhaps being comfortable with discomfort isn’t so paradoxical after all. Rather, it’s a testament to the complex and profound nature of emotional intelligence.

Final thoughts

Emotional intelligence is not simply about possessing certain traits; it’s about how we utilize these traits to understand ourselves and interact with the world around us.

Whether it’s deciphering hidden feelings, understanding the impact of their responses to situations, or being comfortable with silence or discomfort, the underlying purpose might be amplifying your emotional intelligence.

It goes beyond being empathetic or adaptable, as it is about being introspective and using that introspection to navigate our emotional landscape effectively.

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