Emotional intelligence is hard to come by. You probably have to go through some trials and failures as you make the journey toward maturity. It takes a certain amount of experience and insight to develop it. But the smarter you are about learning life’s lessons, the happier you’ll be. The question is, how do you get there? Are you a grownup yet?
Here are some indicators that your emotional intelligence is developing on the right track.
- You quit blaming your parents. You may have had a tough childhood with parents who scarred you. But you’re a grownup now, and you have learned not to blame them for every bad thing that ever happens to you. You realize that they have had their own issues and problems, possibly imposed by parents who scarred them. You have learned to accept that they’re not perfect. Even if you can’t forgive them, you understand that they were probably doing the best they could. So you let go of bitterness and resentment and take responsibility for your own mental health going forward.
- You realize everything is not all about you all the time. It’s not that people hate you or are mad at you or disapprove of you. It’s that they are suffering from fear or anxiety, which causes them to behave badly. Sometimes that bad behavior is directed toward you, but probably not because of anything you’ve done. People have their own agendas that you will never be privy to. You probably have no clue what motivates them. Instead of assuming people are out to get you or are plotting to be mean to you, try assuming that they probably don’t think about you that much, if at all. Instead, they are bumbling though life fraught with pitfalls just like everybody else.
- You learn you can be wrong. Sometimes it’s a bit shocking. Something you think you knew was true your whole life turns out to be wrong. It happens. Or maybe it’s something smaller that you thought was right but isn’t. You discover a new, correct truth because logic and science and research prove your old ideas were wrong. A mature person keeps an open mind and lets reality in when it knocks on your door. Even if reality is contrary to your long-standing, comfortable beliefs. It takes courage to keep your eyes open and let go of falsities. It takes even more courage to attempt to remedy the consequences of clinging to untruths. That may involve making restitution or apologizing to someone. When you can do that, you are definitely evolving well.
- You understand life is short. That can mean so many things to so many different people. But the essence is, you focus on what’s important. You don’t get distracted by what other people think of you, or what other people want you to do to complete their You have your own agenda, and you stick to it. You pursue a life that you want, one that nobody else prescribes for you. You work to achieve what you need to achieve. You find your sweet spot where your talents, desires and doing good in the world intersect. You say what you mean and mean what you say. You know your relationships need nurturing and you let people important to you know how much you love them. Certainly you will need to compromise. Certainly you will need to fulfill obligations and do things you’d rather not do. But you live life as fully and as positively as you can every day.
Next week we’ll talk more about the markers of emotional maturity.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact