Here's how to find out!
Chances are you're familiar with the term "emotional intelligence", that was popularized by the Psychologist Daniel Goleman in his 1995 best seller by the same name. To refresh your memory in case it needs refreshing, emotional intelligence, or "EI", according to the 2008 edition of the Dictionary of Psychology, can be defined as "The ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior." Goleman, however, wasn't the first person to coin the term. That was done by the poetically and aptly-named Wayne Payne, whose doctoral thesis entitled A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence was written in 1985.
Around that same time, Howard Gardner wrote the book Frames of Mind which introduced the idea of multiple intelligences which included both interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people) and intrapersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. It's this type of intelligence that is most directly relevant and beneficial in the domain of human relationships. And like other forms of intelligence it can be developed and strengthened by engaging in specific practices. The obvious good news here is that anyone, regardless of his or her personal history or current level of EI can raise their quotient and become more skilled and effective in all interpersonal relations. Examples of some of the ways that our EI quotient can be raised are illuminated in Goleman's books. He has written several other books related to emotional intelligence, including Social Intelligence, Primal Leadership, and Working with Emotional Intelligence. The higher your level of interpersonal intelligence the more likely it is that you will be capable of creating and sustaining fulfilling and successful long-term relationships of all kinds.
There are a great many available tests and inventories that can assess your level of emotional intelligence, and we've added our own to this list and offer it here, with the understanding that it is not meant to be used as a clinical or diagnostic tool, but rather as a means to informally assess the strengths and weaknesses that you possess in regard to areas of your life that are relevant to EI.
Rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 (1=not true 2=generally not true 3=generally true, , 4=very frequently true, 5= always true) on the items that follow, and then tally your score.
- I find it easy and natural to be aware of my inner feelings, thoughts, and desires
- Even when I am very excited about something my passions don't overwhelm my reason.
- I experience life through all of my sense and don't filter my experiences through my analytical mind
- I experience a healthy degree of motivation, ambition, vitality and zeal in my life.
- I welcome opportunities to try improve my relationships through conversation
- People tell me that I'm a good communicator
- I rarely interrupt people when they are talking to me
- 8 I think before I respond even when I'm having strong emotions
- It is more important to me to hear another's point of view than oit is to have them to hear mine
- Being right is less important to me than having a sense of connection and understanding
- I tend not to hold grudges
- I have good conflict management skills
- People tell me that I'm a good listener
- I'm willing to be the butt of a joke if it helps someone to trust me
- When there is a breakdown in my relationship I look to what I can do to repair it before I look at how the other person caused it
- I can be honest and respectful to people even when I feel angry at them
- When it come to relationships, I DON'T believe that the best defense is a good offense
- I don't ever tell people, "You're making a mountain out of a molehill".
- I don't tell people that they are too sensitve.
- I try very hard to express myself in ways that are respectful to people
- I tend to withhold my opinions and advice unless I am sure that they are desired by others.
- I tend to NOT dwell on negative thoughts and feelings towards those with whom I am upset or disappointed
- When I know that I'm wrong I find it easy to apologize
- When others admit that they are wrong I am not satisfied until they apologize.
- When people don't apologize to me when I think they owe me one, I DON'T insist that they give it.
- 26 I don't issue threats and ultimatums to others.
- If I catch myself trying to manipulate or coerce someone into giving me my way, I stop doing it and become more honest with what I need or want.
- I value openness and am willing to get vulnerable even if my partner is being defensive.
- I am quick to forgive and slow to anger.
- I can accept and feel comfortable with compliments when I receive them.
- I look for learning opportunities in difficult situations
- People don't tell me that they think I might have a substance abuse problem
- I don't procrastinate
- I'm basically optimistic by nature
- I rarely feel depressed
- I'm willing to delay gratification until the time is right, even if it's something that I really want.
- I live with a strong sense of gratitude.
- I'm not embarrassed if I cry in front of others.
- When things don't go according to plan, Ican easily shift gears.
- When I'm stuck and unable to accomplish something on my own, I'm willing to seek out and accept help and assistance.
- I've enjoyed doing this inventory.
190-205=Great job! Keep up the good work!
160-189= Doing well. On the right track!
130-159=Need to focus more on areas that need development or attention
90-129= You've slipped into the danger zone
60-89= Expect relationship breakdowns without significant changes
Under 60=Get to work and probably some help, Now!
Remember that this test is meant only to be a guide that can help you to identify the areas of you life, particularly in regard to relationships that could use more attention and possibly some help. Identifying those areas is an essential primary step in the process of enhancing the quality and level of your emotional intelligence. Once you've done that you will begin to recognize situations and circumstances in your life that are providing you with opportunities to practice new responses that can challenge, interrupt and eventually break old habituated patterns. Seeing and acting on opportunities to practice vulnerability, self=care, patience, emotional honesty, generosity, compassion, and some of the other qualities and traits is the essence of this process is the key to developing a higher EIQ. There may be no better way to enhance the quality of your relationships than by becoming more emotionally intelligent, and the quality of your relationships, with yourself and others, may be the most significant variable in that process!