9 rare personality traits the most emotionally intelligent people share

Tina Fey by Tina Fey | April 26, 2024, 2:48 pm

Emotional intelligence is all about understanding and managing our own emotions, along with those of the people around us.

It’s a quality that not everyone possesses, but those who do often share certain personality traits.

These traits are somewhat rare, setting emotionally intelligent people apart from the crowd.

They help them navigate complex social situations, build stronger relationships, and lead more effectively.

Just as importantly, these traits can be learned and developed over time.

So, in this article, we’re going to dive into the 9 rare personality traits most commonly found in those with high emotional intelligence.

Let’s get started.

1) Empathy

Emotional intelligence is deeply interwoven with empathy.

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, is a core component of emotional intelligence.

It’s the trait that allows emotionally intelligent people to connect with others on a profound level.

With empathy, these individuals can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and see things from their perspective.

It’s an invaluable tool when it comes to building relationships and navigating complex social situations.

But empathy isn’t just about understanding others’ emotions. It also involves responding to those emotions in a thoughtful and sensitive way.

Being empathetic means acknowledging others’ feelings and showing them that they’ve been heard and understood.

This sort of validation can have a powerful impact on people, making them feel valued and supported.

If you’re looking to boost your emotional intelligence, developing your empathy is an excellent place to start. It’s a trait that’s not only rare but also incredibly powerful.

2) Self-awareness

Another trait that stands out in emotionally intelligent people is self-awareness.

This is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.

Being self-aware means being in tune with your feelings and how they impact your actions and decisions.

It’s about knowing your triggers, understanding your emotional responses, and learning how to manage them effectively.

Let me share a personal example. I remember a time when I was given a project at work that was outside of my comfort zone.

At first, I felt nervous and overwhelmed, but instead of letting these emotions dictate my actions, I took a step back.

I acknowledged my feelings of anxiety and fear, but didn’t let them prevent me from taking on the challenge. I recognized that these emotions were simply a reaction to stepping into unfamiliar territory. By understanding this, I was able to push past my initial fear and tackle the project head-on.

This is the power of self-awareness. It allows us to be in control of our emotions rather than being controlled by them. It’s a rare trait, but one that can make all the difference in our personal and professional lives.

3) Emotional regulation

Emotionally intelligent people have a knack for managing their emotions effectively. They don’t suppress their feelings, but rather, they acknowledge and process them in healthy ways. This is known as emotional regulation.

Emotional regulation involves staying in control when things go wrong, managing stress effectively, and expressing emotions appropriately. It’s about finding the balance between overreacting and bottling up your feelings.

Interestingly, research from Yale University suggests that people who are good at emotional regulation tend to have better social relationships, perform better at work, and have lower levels of anxiety and depression.

When you’re faced with a stressful situation, remember the importance of emotional regulation. Take a deep breath, acknowledge your feelings, and try to respond in a calm and balanced manner. It’s a skill that can significantly improve your emotional intelligence and overall quality of life.

4) Adaptability

Change is a constant in life. It’s inevitable and often unpredictable. But how we react to change can say a lot about our emotional intelligence.

Emotionally intelligent people are highly adaptable. They can adjust to new circumstances and environments with ease. Instead of resisting change, they embrace it, viewing it as an opportunity for growth and learning.

Adaptability involves being open to new ideas and willing to step out of your comfort zone. It’s about being flexible and resilient in the face of adversity.

Whether it’s a shift in your work responsibilities or a sudden change in personal circumstances, being adaptable can help you navigate the situation effectively.

It’s a rare trait but one that can significantly enhance your emotional intelligence.

5) Curiosity

You might not immediately associate curiosity with emotional intelligence, but it’s an important component.

Those with high emotional intelligence are naturally curious, not just about the world around them, but about the people in it too.

Being curious means being interested in understanding others’ perspectives and experiences.

It encourages us to ask questions, listen actively, and engage in meaningful conversations.

This curiosity leads to deeper connections and better understanding of others, which are both key elements of emotional intelligence.

It fosters empathy and helps us navigate social situations more effectively.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and show genuine interest in others. It’s a simple yet powerful way to boost your emotional intelligence.

6) Authenticity

Authenticity is a trait that resonates deeply in the realm of emotional intelligence.

Emotionally intelligent people are genuine and honest, not just with others, but with themselves too.

Being authentic means staying true to your values, beliefs, and feelings.

It means acknowledging your strengths and admitting your weaknesses.

It’s about being real and not pretending to be someone you’re not.

Authenticity builds trust and fosters stronger, more meaningful relationships.

It encourages open and honest communication, creating a safe space for people to express their thoughts and feelings.

This trait might be rare, but it’s incredibly valuable. So don’t be afraid to show your true self.

Embrace your authenticity – it’s an essential part of emotional intelligence that is deeply impactful and truly heartfelt.

7) Gratitude

Gratitude is a trait that’s often overlooked, but it plays a significant role in emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent people tend to be grateful for what they have and express their appreciation freely.

Practicing gratitude not only helps us to appreciate the good things in our life, but it also helps us to stay positive and manage stress effectively. It can be as simple as acknowledging a kind act or appreciating a beautiful sunset.

I’ve found that keeping a gratitude journal has made a huge difference in my life.

Every day, I write down three things I’m grateful for. This practice has helped me stay focused on the positive, even during challenging times.

Take time to appreciate the good things in your life. It’s a simple act, yet it can have a profound impact on your emotional intelligence and overall well-being.

8) Open-mindedness

Emotionally intelligent individuals have the capacity to keep an open mind. They’re receptive to new ideas, different perspectives, and are willing to challenge their own beliefs.

Being open-minded means avoiding quick judgments and making an effort to consider all sides of a situation. It’s about being flexible in your thinking and willing to adapt your views based on new information or understanding.

This trait allows emotionally intelligent people to learn from others, embrace diversity, and foster more inclusive environments. It paves the way for empathy and understanding, further enhancing emotional intelligence.

Strive to keep an open mind. It’s not always easy, but it’s a trait that can significantly enhance your emotional intelligence and help you grow as a person.

9) Compassion

At the heart of emotional intelligence lies compassion. Compassionate people genuinely care about others and strive to help in any way they can. They’re not just empathetic – they take action to alleviate suffering.

Compassion drives emotionally intelligent people to be kind, considerate, and supportive. It motivates them to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

Never underestimate the power of compassion. It can change lives and create a ripple effect of kindness and understanding in the world.

So, aim to be compassionate, not just for others, but for yourself too.

After all, compassion is an essential part of emotional intelligence and perhaps the most impactful trait you can cultivate.

Final reflection: It’s within us all

The beauty of emotional intelligence is that it isn’t a fixed trait, but rather a set of skills and attributes that can be cultivated and honed over time.

Each of the traits we’ve discussed – empathy, self-awareness, emotional regulation, adaptability, curiosity, authenticity, gratitude, open-mindedness, and compassion – aren’t exclusive to a select few. They exist within us all, waiting to be nurtured and developed.

The journey towards enhancing emotional intelligence is deeply personal and unique to each individual. It requires introspection, patience, and consistent effort. It involves recognizing our emotions, understanding others, and fostering meaningful connections.

Remember, the essence of emotional intelligence lies not in perfection but in progress. It’s about striving to be better than we were yesterday. So, as we navigate this journey together, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves and others.

In the wise words of psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, “Emotional intelligence begins to develop in the earliest years…all the small exchanges children have with their parents, teachers, and with each other carry emotional messages.”

So let’s continue to learn, grow, and exchange these emotional messages. After all, it’s these shared experiences that make us uniquely human.

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