8 Signs You Are Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand them, and apply them to the real world. Here are 8 basic signs that you are likely high in emotional intelligence. Now these aren’t supposed to be definitive, as everyone is different. These are just some common signs, and not a be all end all for emotional intelligence. So read on, but keep in mind that there is always more to something than what one short article can tell you.

You know what you’re good at, and what you’re not.

You know what your strengths are, and you know what your weaknesses are. You seem to have a good ability of being self-aware. Knowing your strengths doesn’t make you big-headed, and you aren’t afraid of your weaknesses.

The past and the future don’t control you.

Not everyone can let go of the past, and even less are not afraid of the future. You have this skill of being able to live life one day at a time, almost always being present in the moment. That’s not to say there aren’t some things you can’t let go of, and there will always be something around the corner that makes us worry. This doesn’t stop you from living your life where it is happening – right here in the present.

Understanding emotions is a second nature.

This is basically what emotional intelligence is. You are able to identify your own emotions, and those of others. It goes beyond this. You just get emotions the way a chemist just gets the elements. Because you have such a grasp on what emotions you are feeling, you are usually pretty good at controlling them, always keeping yourself in line. 

You are good at maintaining balance.

A healthy individual with high emotional intelligence usually has a pretty good life balance. You know when to take a break from work, but you know when to work hard. Life is like a juggling act, and you seem to be pretty good at it.

You can forgive, even if you don’t want to.

Sometimes forgiveness is hard. We want to be mad, to hold grudges. Especially against the people who hurt us. But you can almost always find it in your heart to forgive someone, especially if they sincerely ask for it. You understand them, you get where they are coming from. Because you can put yourself into their shoes, so to speak, it can make it hard to stay mad, so forgiving is just in your nature.

You are curious.

Something else that is in your nature is a huge curiosity. You always are looking to understand things: the whys, the hows. You just want to know. Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back – and that rings true for you.

You can adapt to most any situation.

Being that you are good with maintaining your emotions and a nice life balance, you’ve found that you are pretty good at handling whatever life throws at you. Your ability to be in the present allows you to adapt quickly when situations change, and your skill with other people allows you to generally diffuse tense situations. 

You have a special way with people.

Most people are guided, on some level, by their emotions. Lucky for you, you have this deep understanding of those emotions. When you are able to recognize what emotions someone is feeling, it’s easier to get them to trust you. Because of this, people seem to flock to you for advice, or to just spill their hearts out. People can see that you just get what it is they are feeling, and because of this, you tend to have some level of influence over them. 

Be warned, though, having these skills can make it really easy to manipulate people for your own gain. Knowing your way around the emotional battlefield gives you some power, and if you aren’t careful, power can corrupt. No one likes a manipulator, not in the long run at least. The path of selfish gain only ends in lonely despair. Realize your talents, and use them to better the world, little pieces at a time. 

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4 Things I Learned After I Quit My Life

About 2 months ago, I quit my life. In hindsight, I probably should not have done something so rash, however I did gain some things from the experience.

Perhaps this is old news for you, but these 4 things will be the building blocks for the rest of my life.

Enough Is Enough

This phrase usually means something is stopping. No more. Cease the action! Usually I see it used when someone is talking about some kind of output stopping. When there should be no more.

But what about having enough?

We live in a culture of “More, More, More!” More money, More entertainment, More consuming.

I learned that we really only need just enough. Not more than enough.

I’m done trying to live my life seeking for more than enough. I just need enough, and that’s good enough for me.

 

You Have Limited Resources

Energy, time, money – whatever you consider to be your resources, they are the things we collect, store, and invest into the things in our lives.

We all have a finite amount.

You may be thinking “Well, duh!” – But it doesn’t stop at just knowing we have a limited amount of resources we can spend on cultivating our lives. I learned that, because we have a limited amount of resources, we have to be careful with them.

Because you have a limited amount of personal resources, that makes them intrinsically valuable.

Would you trade a real diamond for a fake one? What about trading a Lamborghini for a tricycle?

Yeah, you can spend your resources on anything, but why not spend them on things that will give you something back?

Additionally, when you are devoting some of your resources to completing a task, don’t waste those resources by doing a poor job that you will need to redo later. Do it right the first time, and you will have more resources to spend on other things.

 

Unconditional Positive Regard 

Coined by humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers, unconditional positive regard is a basic idea of acceptance and support.

I learned that giving people unconditional positive regard – not judging them, not placing requirements on your love or care – makes not only them happier, but it makes me happier as well.

Anyone can come to me with anything, and I will interact with everyone with this basic idea. I have seen people change because of this, and I have felt myself change as well.

Even if you can’t do this to everyone – try. Be sincere about it and I promise you will begin to feel a change for the better.

 

Mind. Body. Soul.

I’ve spent a large portion of my life living lackadaisically in regards to my health. I haven’t given much attention to my diet or my sleep, nor to my relationships, my mind, or my interests. I’ve realized it’s time to change that.

I learned that being healthy takes a multi-facet approach. To really become healthy, and become the best you can be – give these three areas the proper attention they need:

Mind – This is not just your mind, but your heart as well. They are two sides of the same coin. They may feel like they pull you in different directions, but they only give you options. Find a balance, and stretch your mind and heart. They will grow, and you will grow.

Body – We all are, at a fundamental level, a bio-organism that requires our care and attention. Just like a baby requires care and attention to survive, so does your body. Don’t neglect it. Be conscious of what you put into your body, and what you do with it, and your body will perform in ways you never thought possible. Wild animals take care of their bodies, so why shouldn’t you?

Soul – This one can be a touchy subject for some people, so I’ll be brief on it. Find the things in life that bring you happiness. Not the short term pleasure, but the deep kind of joy that so many people live without. Live your life looking for the good things – love, peace, patience, kindness, and joy.

I’ve learned many things in my life, and I know I have many things yet to learn. Do me a favor, and do someone else a favor, and pass these things on.

 

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Sunrise, the dawn of a new day. Photographer: Dakota Fenstemaker

What Writing Means To Me

We all have hobbies. Some hobbies we try to squeeze in every possible chance we can (that’s how I used to be with reading), other hobbies we pursue leisurely, just whenever we have time, and other hobbies still that we don’t pursue nearly as much as our hearts would like.

To me, writing is all of these. I am constantly thinking of things that I could write about, jotting myself notes when a good idea hits. I actually write posts when I have time. And I don’t nearly write as much fiction as I would like. Writing, to me, is all of these.

But writing means more, too.

Writing is an escape.

For a long time I bottled up so many things inside of me because I simply didn’t have an outlet. I didn’t have friends with whom I could entrust these things. I read a lot, but writing became this river that allowed me to wash my head clean, emptying it of all the negativity that I was feeling.

Writing is my voice.

When I was younger, I found it very difficult to speak up. I was sure that any time I had to make a presentation in school, it was the end of the world. I just did not like myself enough to be comfortable in front of people talking. So writing became a way for me to voice what I was thinking. Most of the time, what I wrote never became a public thing, kind of like talking to yourself in the shower, but it helped me build the confidence to actually go about vocal conversation with people. Theater helped a lot with stage fright, but writing really helped me find my voice.

Writing is a way to help others.

I used to spend a lot of time thinking about how I can help other people. I was far too shy to volunteer somewhere (maybe if a friend did, and I could tag along without speaking), and I didn’t see it as socially acceptable to just go around handing out advice or offering assistance. Most people just don’t want that (I still can’t figure out why). I realized that writing, both fiction and non-fiction, has the power to change people’s lives. (J. K. Rowling really solidified this thought for me.) So I set out on a path of trying to help people, in the best way I knew how.

Our hobbies are many things. They mean many things to us, and they can affect other people too. What are some of your hobbies? What do they mean to you?

As always, if you found something interesting, or something that helped you, pass it along to another, so it can help them too!

Reaching Out To You

Hey everyone!

So I desperately need something from you: your feedback!

I want to hear from you all! What do you think of my posts so far? What would you like to see me talk about in the future? What are you dying to read about right now?

What are some things that you are struggling with and would like advice on? What have you always wondered but never felt like researching? Give me something to write about! Something tailored to you!

So please, I’m begging you, leave me a comment below, or if you would like to reach me privately, go this this contact page, and you can get ahold of me there!

I’m trusting you guys!

3 Ways To Really Learn Something

This is one for my fellow students. School is all about learning (well, it’s supposed to be anyways), but so is life. Every day, most of us encounter new things. A lot of it aren’t things we need to commit to memory, but we do encounter such things, particularly in school. After 13+ years of being in school, I’ve found three really effective ways to commit information to memory, and I’d like to share them with you.

1.   “Repetition is the mother of learning.”

I had a History teacher in 8th grade that started every class by saying “Repetition is…”, And we would all reply, “the mother of learning.” He may have been old and rambled some times, but he really knew what he was talking about here. Going over the information you have to learn again and again reinforces the memory, and makes recalling that information easy.

2.  Experience the information through many senses

Building onto repetition, it is also really good to go over the information using more than one of your senses. An example of this would be speaking out loud while you are rewriting your notes. This uses your sight, touch, voice, and hearing. You are reading the material, and reading your new copy of it, feeling yourself write the material (this particularly helps with preparing for essay exams), you are thinking about what you are seeing to speak it, and you are then hearing the information as you say it. That’s a lot! It sounds overwhelming, but doing this will further ingrain the information in your mind.

3.  Teach someone

In my opinion, this is the absolute best way to ensure you truly learn something. To be able to teach the information to someone, and they understand it and grasp the concepts, you must be able to fully comprehend the information you are teaching. Now, this isn’t something you would try to do right as you are being exposed to new material, but rather, after you already have a foundation of the material. Repetition and experiencing the material through different senses would be the first steps in learning new material, while teaching someone that material would be the final step. Once you can adequately teach it, you really understand it, and have truly learned the material .

What would you like to read next? Leave me a comment and tell me!

As always, if you see something that interests you, or helps you, share it with others, so that it can help someone else too!

Leading By Example

Today’s post is no where near as elated or confidence exuding as my previous ones. It is a rather solemn one, and a hard one to write.

I firmly believe that one of the best ways to lead someone is to lead by example. The best way to teach, is to teach through your own story. Well, I can’t exactly lead by example or teach you through my story if I never tell you what that story is.

Well, I am about to.

There are things in here that I have never told anyone. This is also where I say that this post may trigger some people. I will not go too far in depth, but if you are highly sensitive to things such as self-harm, the topic of suicide, or talking about depression, I urge you to think before continuing.

That being said, I suppose I can continue.

I haven’t really any idea where to start. I know the things that I would like to talk about, but finding one to start with is difficult. I can’t start from the beginning, because that’s just too far back, and I can’t start at the end and work backwards, because you will be lost until about half way through.

I suppose I can start here: Approximately five years ago, in my freshman year of high school, I had my first major depressive episode. For much of the winter, I existed in a very dark frame of mind. I was not actively suicidal, not that I remember, but I saw no reason to live. I would lie at the edge of the road (we lived on the outside of a curve in the road), hoping that some car would pass and be just a little over the outside line. I jumped off of my one story house, into a pile of mulch. I began to self harm – a mix of cutting myself and alternating between not eating enough, and eating too much. I became an insomniac. I would get maybe 3 or 4 hours of sleep a night. I felt nothing inside. I lived in a hollow, numb, dark place.

As time progressed, I lifted out of my depression, and have yet to experience another major depressive episode that lasts that long. About two and a half years later, during exams of my junior year of high school, I was admitted to the hospital for suicidal and homicidal ideation. Simply put, I had no specific plans to do anything, but was thinking a bit more about it than I should have been. The first doctors didn’t want to admit me, and couldn’t to the hospital I was at, but someone fought for me, and got me a bed at a hospital in a city a few hours away. I spent a week there, with other kids. I miss that place to this day. I had absolutely no worries, no concerns. And I was able to help other kids while I was in there. It was wonderful.

Upon leaving, I received a diagnosis of Type 2 Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. At the time, I thought they were wrong. Even until recently, I thought for sure they got it wrong. But they didn’t.

I don’t know how informed you are about these things, but I am just going to tell you what I personally struggle with. Everyone who has a BP or an OCD diagnosis does not experience the same thing. Each person has their own flavor they deal with. I urge you to read more about Bipolar disorder (A good place to start, Read: This article by the NIMH).

In my Bipolar, I have long periods of time where I am relatively normal. Life feels kind of hum drum, but I can get through it okay. Not much of a fight these days. But this never lasts, I always cycle down. My depression does not last very long, I rapid cycle. Most of the time, when I am actually in a depressive episode, it will last at least 3 days, and up to about a week, maybe a little longer.

Recently, my depression has changed. It is no longer the numb hollow dark feeling that I used to feel. I now become self conscious, I lose self worth, I feel actually sad as opposed to numb. I have cried more in the last 2 or 3 months than I have in the last 5 or more years before that. I feel trapped in my situation and all I want to do is run away or hide.

I can usually maintain some shred of hope though, and that is knowing that my depression will never last forever. Usually right after a depressive episode I will cycle right up into hypomania. I become highly optimistic about life. I regain all of my self confidence and self worth, and it usually becomes slightly inflated. I will get a lot of energy, but I usually do not have a decreased need for sleep (something that is very common in mania, and to a lesser extent, hypomania).

Often times, I will also experience what is called mixed state. That is when I feel depressed and hypomanic at the same time. I will usually become very agitated, my sleep and eating patterns may change dramatically, and I am just not a very pleasant person to be around.

I will not talk too much about my OCD, I can save that for another post, but I would like to add that I also experience (part of my OCD and Bipolar both) frequent anxiety about multiple things. I can become very overwhelmed very quickly. I usually do not shut down from it, but it makes it much harder to function in my day to day life.

I also struggle with (and it is very difficult for me to admit it) personal hygiene, as if very common in all types of Bipolar disorder, along with other mental illness. In particular, I struggle with brushing my teeth. What makes it even worse is that I know it only takes a few minutes, I know that I would feel much better for doing it, but there are days that I just cannot force myself to brush my teeth. I also will go entire days without eating much of anything, which is also not good for me.

So why did I tell you all of this?

I didn’t share these highly personal things because I enjoy talking about myself. I shared them as a way of telling you that, if you are experiencing any of these things, you are not alone. I wanted you all to know that the things that I post, like my recent one, On Living In The Moment, I do those things. And it isn’t easy. I struggle to use the things that I tell you, but the do work. Little by little, it helps.

I could add a whole bunch more to this, but I believe that this is enough for now.(And at nearly 1200 words, I shared a lot of information!)

As always, if you see anything that you relate to, or helped you, please share it, so that it can help someone else too!

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, I implore you to seek help, or to help them seek help. Suicide is never a solution to the problem, it only eliminates the chance to find one. Call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor.

On Living In The Moment

What would you say if I told you the future didn’t exist?

You’d probably call me crazy and keep your distance. You’d probably shrug me off and hope I go on my way.

Well it doesn’t exist.

The first things that came to mind when I heard this were things that I knew were coming: the bills, the next time I had to go to work or school. I knew I would be eating sometime in the future, I already had plans to make a ham sandwich. The future had to exist, because I knew part of it.

But none of those things actually existed. Sure, it was really likely that it would happen, but none of it wasn’t happening right then.

The only thing that exists is the present. Right now. Right now, I’m breathing (I hope), you’re breathing (I hope). Your life, and my life, is only happening in one place and one time: right here, right now. This is the present. This is what is real.

Now this doesn’t mean that because the future doesn’t exist, we should stop caring about it. We are rational beings. We will never stop thinking about what comes next. We should be aware of the possibilities, and prepare for them. Such as working to pay the bills, and buying the food for the dinner you plan on having. This is still living in the moment, however. Preparing now for what may happen is a good thing, worrying now about what may happen is a bad thing.

So what does this all mean?

You’re life is happening right now. The future is an elaborate story we tell ourselves. If you spend your life living in that elaborate story, you actual life is slowly being siphoned away into the past. If you go through the motions of life, all the while worried about what comes next, you will miss out on your life.

I want you to do something. For one week, just a week, every time you find yourself worrying about what might happen, stop thinking, and focus on what is happening now. What do you see with your eyes? What’s the tempurature? What can you feel? What do you hear? Is there a smell? Ground yourself in the moment, and experience it. If nothing happens to you, and your life stays the exact same, you can call me out as a fraud.

But I know you will begin to see life through a different lens. And I promise you, it’s better than any other lens you’ve looked through before. Stop thinking, start living. 

As always, if you see even one thing you like or that changes you or helps you, pass it on so it can help others too.