Do you consider yourself an emotionally intelligent person?

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is simply the keen ability to perceive, control, and evaluate the emotions of yourself and those around you. Some experts believe that a person’s EQ outweighs their IQ in terms of their success and how they fare in social relationships.

While it’s still debatable whether emotional intelligence can be learned or if it’s an inborn characteristic, people with high emotional awareness generally avoid the following actions and behaviors:

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1. Emotionally intelligent people don’t let their feelings go unchecked.

According to psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, one of the pioneers of emotional intelligence, self-awareness is one of the five main attributes of those with a high EQ. Essentially, emotionally intelligent people have a high level of mindfulness about their emotions and feelings, and possess a deep understanding of how these feelings affect them and the people around them.

They don’t allow their emotions to get out of hand, and they don’t ever ignore how they feel. They might think more with their heart rather than their head, but this makes them more sensitive to the feelings of themselves and others.

2. They don’t dismiss other people’s feelings.

Empathy, another major characteristic of highly emotionally intelligent people, means that you deeply understand how someone else feels, and try to put yourself in their shoes. People with a high EQ don’t disregard how others feel; on the contrary, they actually want to decode the feelings of others because they have such compassion for them. They can even read people’s emotions on their face and gather information about their emotions based on body language. They can anticipate other people’s needs and are highly perceptive.

3. Emotionally intelligent people don’t allow others to control their emotions.

People with a high EQ, while very sensitive, aim to maintain control of their feelings at all times, no matter what other people may say to them. They don’t let other people rain on their parade; they celebrate life and keep a positive attitude, even if they’re celebrating alone. Emotionally strong individuals have a resiliency about them, and bounce back quickly from rejection, betrayal, and other forms of negativity.

4. They avoid the victim mentality.

Because they have such a high awareness of their emotions, they realize that only they can control how they feel. They don’t blame others if they have a bad day, and they constantly regulate their emotions in order to cope best with what’s going on around them. Additionally, they redirect negative emotions into a more productive activity or thought, and take full responsibility for how they feel.

They avoid complaining to their friends constantly about situations in their life. They don’t like to spend too much time in self-pity, and they motivate themselves to get out of unfavorable situations.

5. Emotionally intelligent people don’t become complacent.

Emotionally intelligent people work hard to achieve their goals, and don’t allow themselves to stay in a slump. They believe in themselves, work through any fears they may have, and stay motivated to reach the finish line, whatever that looks like to them. And they don’t avoid change; they seek ways out of their comfort zone because they know it will facilitate their growth and lead to a better future.

6. They don’t ruminate on their feelings.

Even though emotionally intelligent people stay in tune with their emotions, they don’t keep their focus entirely on their inward world. They know when to shift their attention outward and acknowledge the world around them. Indeed, they know that living inside their heads too much can create problems that were never there to begin with. Thus, they remain aware of their feelings, but they don’t let them overtake their entire life.

7. Emotionally intelligent people can quickly identify the cause of their emotions.

These people are not only adept at recognizing their emotions, but they can also deduce why they feel a certain way. Also, they always dig a little deeper to uncover the source of their emotions. That extra effort’s so that they can fully understand why the feelings have come up. Then, they form the best plan of action to take care of them.

8. They don’t engage in unnecessary conflict.

Emotionally intelligent people know that emotions are energy, and realize that they must pick and choose their battles. They only get into heated discussions when they feel that the other person deserves an explanation, or when they have no other choice but to confront the person. They avoid most conflicts, though, because they like to conserve their energy for more positive interactions.

9. Emotionally intelligent people don’t gossip.

People with high EQs understand how harmful gossip can be, and know that nothing good can come out of it. They seek out more uplifting, deeper conversations with people, and avoid those that only seem to discuss destructive or petty matters. In fact, they simply don’t have the energy for mindless conversation and superficial connections with people.

10. They don’t feel ashamed to say no when they have to.

They realize that people have limits, including them, and they can’t possibly say yes to everyone all the time. So they know their boundaries. Furthermore, they honor themselves by sticking to their guns and only agreeing to activities and tasks that they can reasonably accomplish.

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11. They don’t give in to peer pressure.

Just because everyone else does something, they don’t feel compelled to follow suit if they don’t want to. They think independently, and never conform just to please other people. They have a headstrong attitude and often go against the grain. And, people with high emotional intelligence rarely agree with what the majority of society does, so they tend to go off on their own and carve their own path.

12. They don’t seek approval from others.

If they want something, they go after it without feeling the need to consult others. They validate themselves, so they don’t require others to do it for them. While they respectfully listen to other people’s opinions, they don’t let other’s views form the basis for their decisions in life. They know that as long as they approve of themselves, they can achieve whatever they desire.