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We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Realizing this all takes tact and intelligence – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where emotional intelligence becomes important.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you. It also involves your viewpoint of others: when you understand how they feel, this gives you the opportunity to manage relationships more productively.

Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, in his book “Emotional Intelligence – Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” 1995 enlarged five elements that define emotional intelligence:

  •  Self-Awareness – people with self-awareness understand their emotions and they don’t let their feelings control them. They are honest and they know their weaknesses too.
  • Self-Regulation – these people are not impulsive, think a lot before they act, and they can say no.
  • Motivation – people with a high degree of emotional intelligence are usually motivated. They are very productive and challenge lovers.
  • Empathy – the capacity of understanding and identifying with the needs and wants of other people. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious.
  • Social Skills – these people rather help others than focus on them. They are excellent communicators and know how to perfectly maintain a relationship.

The good news is that emotional intelligence can be improved and developed. First of all, do a self-evaluation. Have the courage to look at yourself honestly and see what are your weaknesses, it will help you more than you know. Another thing that you can do is taking responsibility for your own actions. You can apologize if you made a mistake and forgive when other people are sorry.

Keep your emotions under control when things go wrong, try to stay calm and in control when you’re in a stressful situation and don’t become upset for every small thing. Look frankly at how you think and how you are with other people. Try to put yourself in their place and be more open and accepting of their thoughts and needs.

So in order to live the life you truly want to live, you have to first be clear about what you truly value because that’s where your emotional energy will be directed. And knowing what you truly value—not just what you say you value—is probably the most emotionally intelligent skill you can develop.