4 Things That Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do

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.

1. Criticizing Others

Criticizing others is often an unconscious defense mechanism aimed at alleviating our own insecurities.

We’re all critical sometimes. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing — to think carefully and critically about the world around us is a vital skill. It helps us navigate the world and our relationships in an objective way.

But too much criticism — especially the habit of being critical of others — can lead to the opposite of objectivity: it can make us narrow-minded and blind, especially to ourselves.
One of the reasons it’s so easy to slip into habitually criticizing others is that it makes us feel good:

– When you point out to yourself that someone else is dumb, you’re also implying that you’re smart. And that feels good.
– When you criticize someone else for being naive, what you’re really doing is telling yourself that you’re sophisticated. And that feels good.
– When you silently chuckle to yourself about how terrible someone’s fashion sense is, you’re telling yourself how refined your own taste is. And that feels good.

Helpful criticism is about making the world better. Unhelpful criticism is about making yourself feel better.

While being critical might temporarily make you feel good about yourself, it usually makes you feel worse about yourself in the long-term.

On the other hand, emotionally intelligent and self-aware people understand that criticizing others is just a primitive defense mechanism. And that there are far better, more productive ways of dealing with our anxieties and insecurities.

Without knowing it, people who are constantly critical of others are really just trying to alleviate their own insecurities.

Understand that criticism of others is a waste of time and energy because it’s all time and energy that’s not getting invested in improving yourself and the world around you.

2. Worrying 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.

3. 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.

4. Maintaining Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations are a misguided attempt to control other people.

Just like ruminating is an attempt to control the past and how we feel about it, maintaining unrealistic expectations is usually a subtle attempt to control other people.

Of course, most people with unrealistic expectations don’t see it that way. You probably see your expectations of other people as a good thing: Having high expectations for people encourages them to grow and mature and become their best self!

Maybe, but this is still a subtle form of control. You have an idea for what another person in your life should be or do or accomplish and your expectation is your way of trying to make it happen.

But what does it mean, exactly, to maintain an unrealistic expectation?

Simply put, it means you spend time crafting stories in your head about what other people should do. And when they inevitably fail to live up to those standards, you reflexively compare reality to those expectations and feel frustrated and disappointed.

And how do you respond to this frustration and disappointment? By creating even stronger and more elaborate expectations, because it makes you feel good and in control!

Look, of course you care about the people in your life and want the best for them. And it pains you to see them hurting or struggling or suffering. So, when you create a story in your mind about them succeeding and doing better (i.e. an expectation) you feel a little better.

The problem is, you can’t actually control other people, even for the better. Not nearly as much as you would like, anyway. Which means you create a constant vicious cycle of sky-high hopes and grave disappointments and frustrations.

What’s more, eventually your attempts at control begin to be felt by the people in your life and they become resentful. And if it goes on long enough, they may even act contrary to your expectations simply out of spite!

The solution is to let go of your expectations. Stop creating stories about what you want for other people. And instead, just be present for the person they are:

– Validate their current struggles instead of daydreaming about their future successes.
– Set real boundaries on their behavior instead of wishing for perfection.
– Meet them where they are instead of where you want them to be.

Hang on to your hopes but let go of your expectations.

Sources: keshdigital.com, medium.com

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