Is there a way to raise your emotional intelligence, also known as emotional quotient, or simply EQ?
There sure is, and it’s actually pretty simple – just be your true self.
The breakthrough idea comes from University of Nottingham professor of psychology, and social care Ph.D. Stephen Joseph. In a fresh study, Joseph, together with his colleague Ornella Tohme, discovered that authenticity is strongly linked to higher EQ in addition to greater mindfulness after testing 197 volunteers.
This may come across as somewhat strange, as most of us have met people who are being themselves, and yet their EQ levels are pretty low. For instance, a boss might make an indecent comment to a female employee, and that may be part of him being himself, but such behavior isn’t really what defines true authenticity, according to Joseph.
“Authenticity isn’t about just saying what you think or doing what you want,” he wrote in a post for Psychology Today.
Carl Rogers defined authenticity as becoming more accepting of those around you, as well as yourself, and in this way becoming more empathetic.
According to Joseph, authenticity isn’t a state of you doing and saying anything that comes to mind, but it is
“defined by emotional and psychological maturity.”
He stresses that most people are not good at knowing how authentic or inauthentic we truly are.
“One of the problems in talking about this topic is that the most inauthentic people, because they don’t know themselves well and therefore lack insight, often think that they are more authentic than they are,” the professor writes.
Vice-versa, highly authentic individuals are aware of their own setbacks when it comes to being honest with themselves and other people may sometimes judge them harshly for this.
Hence, they think they are not as authentic as they actually are. And this is the reason Joseph and Tohme used the Authenticity Scale, an advanced tool for measuring how authentic we truly are.
It is widely known that higher EQ can bring a lot of benefits, which include better relationships and more success careerwise.
Thus, if authenticity can increase your emotional intelligence, how do you go about becoming more authentic?
Here are some useful tips for you.
1. Open yourself up to the practice of mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to develop your authenticity and it correlates with EQ, the experts found.
They also discovered that mindfulness appears to rise with internal measures of authenticity, like disagreeing with the statement “I don’t know how I truly feel inside.” On the other hand, EQ correlates with external measures of authenticity; e.g. agreeing with the statement “I believe that being yourself is more important than being popular.”
So, it’s not surprising that researchers say raising your mindfulness can make you more authentic, and boost your emotional intelligence at the same time. This comes due to the fact that the more often you stop yourself from doing what you’re doing for a second to check on your senses and how you are feeling at that exact moment, the better you will be able to understand what the people around you are expressing (the cues could be nonverbal).
Practicing mindfulness meditation is just one of a number of ways to increase your mindfulness. Sometimes it can even be as easy as taking a deep breath when you’re in the middle of a heated situation.
Check out the video below for an easy way to enter the world of mindfulness meditation. You’d be surprised by the results.
2. Look for inconsistencies between your beliefs and your actions
Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., of the Berkeley Well-Being Institute, wrote a Psychology Today post in which she said that noticing these inconsistencies can be a way to raise your levels of authenticity. For example, if one of your main beliefs is that spending time with your family is the most important thing, but as soon as a co-worker invites you to join the gang for drinks, you accept without thinking twice and stay out past your kids’ bedtime.
What made you go? Could it be that you went against your own values because you wanted to be liked? Or maybe you saw the offer as an opportunity that could serve another one of your beliefs, which is to make connections in order to be more successful in business and provide for your loved ones. Or maybe the one who invited you is a dear friend who is going through a rough time and just needed your support, and in this way, you served another one of your values.
The reasons for your outing could be authentic or inauthentic and they can be many. But the crucial thing is to keep asking yourself these questions and try to understand why you made the decision you made in the first place.
3. Become more truthful
Some more advice from Davis. Most people lie so much that they don’t even take note of it, and we do it for various reasons – to shield people from emotional harm, to make ourselves look better in front of others, or to gain something. And often we lie simply out of kindness and good manners, for example when you tell someone you like their gift even if you don’t.
Lying is part of life and it’s impossible to remove it out of our lives, but we can try to start being more honest with each other. So next time you’re about to tell a noble lie, stop and ask yourself if it’s truly the best option for the given situation.
Could you tell them the truth without causing them pain? And if telling the truth will let them know something you’re ashamed of, is it all worth it?
The answer may very well be a no. But asking yourself the question before you lie to people can at least give you the chance to try and be more authentic. Think about it.
If you would like to know more about emotional intelligence please see the video below.
We hope this article was helpful to you. Let us know your thoughts on the topic of EQ in the comments section and please share if you’ve enjoyed the read.