We want to be healthy people, right? We try to develop good eating habits, go to the gym regularly, drink our recommended ounces of water daily, and of course get enough sleep. We spend countless dollars on organic groceries, gym memberships, water purifiers, and state-of- the-art mattresses, all in an effort to be healthy.
But what about being an emotionally healthy person? Like physical health, emotional health doesn’t just happen. It requires conscious effort and energy to achieve. Another phrase for emotional health is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Or more simply put, emotional intelligence is the tool or mechanism we use to recognize emotions in ourselves and those around us.
Experts say some emotional intelligence is innate, some is shaped by our environment, and some is simply a by-product of our attitude. Our willingness to confront unhealthy emotional habits and learn how to better connect and relate to those around us is key. If we learn new skills to control our emotions rather than let them control us, then we can become emotionally healthy people. Just like IQ, our EI can be measured as well. Check out these traits below to see where you have room to grow!
Here are seven traits of emotionally intelligent people:
1. They can read nonverbal communication.
Matthew 9:36 ESV: “When he [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Jesus didn’t come to this conclusion after having one-on-one counseling sessions with them. He simply saw or read their nonverbal communication–their posture, their facial expressions, their level of confidence or confusion as evidenced by their actions.
2. They are interested in the feelings and thoughts of others.
Philippians 2:3–4 ESV: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
3. They are emotionally resilient.
They know they have the strength to endure until the circumstances change. Psalm 30:5 ESV: “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
4. They know the weaknesses and areas in their own lives that need improvement.
Exodus 4:10 ESV: “But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’”
5. They are aware of their own feelings.
Psalm 55:2–4 ESV: “Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, because of the noise of the enemy… . My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me.”
6. They avoid negative self-talk.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
7. They pursue success believing the only way to fail is to quit!
Galatians 6:9 ESV: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Jesus is the ultimate role model for every area of our lives, including the arena of emotions. Jesus, the Son of God, took on human flesh. He became like us in every way so He could relate, understand, and empathize with us. He had feelings and emotions just like ours. He got angry (John 2:13–17). He was moved in His spirit and deeply troubled. He even cried (John 11:32–36). What I see throughout Scripture is that Jesus was in control of His emotions. He experienced anger, rejection, and temptation but avoided sin. He experienced grief and compassion for others to the point of tears but managed to not live under a cloud of depression. He didn’t let His emotions or the way He felt determine how He acted or keep Him from fulfilling His mission.
I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I’ve let my emotions control me rather than me control them. There have been many mornings when the alarm clock went off, and I hit the snooze button, rolled over, and went back to sleep simply because I didn’t feel like getting up. That is definitely a far cry from the example I find in the life of Christ. I’ve fallen into the trap of believing my feelings can be trusted, that they are factual, real. But the truth is, more times than not, my feelings aren’t based on reality, and they certainly aren’t based in truth. For example, there have been times I’ve felt alone. But the truth is, I am never alone. The Word of God tells me He will never leave me or forsake me (see Deut. 31:8), and that Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (see Prov. 18:24).
Be encouraged! You can be an emotionally intelligent person. You can control your emotions and live your life grounded in the truth of His Word!