2022 is right around the corner and many of us are resolving to improve our emotional intelligence skills this year. That’s why I’ve come up with my favorite list of 9 ways to show emotional intelligence in 2022 and beyond. This list is full of ways to be more attentive, empathetic, patient, and proactive in our lives. 2022 is going to be a year full of promise and adventure and these tips will help us rise to any challenge and be our best selves.
1. Be Flexible and Adaptable
Go with the flow. It’s a common refrain you may have heard before, but it’s a useful piece of wisdom. Not only do people generally respond well to flexibility and see it as a commendable trait, but flexibility and resilience are going to be especially useful going forward into 2022 and well beyond. These past few years have been a roller coaster of highs and lows and being able to roll with that and adapt is going to get you noticed in professional life, at home, and everywhere else. Having the flexibility and ability to adapt to whatever life throws at us and the resiliency to improve ourselves in the face of this is one of the greatest ways to show emotional intelligence in 2022.
2. Lead With Compassion
Whether it’s at home, at a PTA meeting, or at our jobs, all of us are leaders in one way or another and we all have people who look up to us. That’s why it’s so important that we consider ways we can incorporate compassion into our leadership as a way to demonstrate our emotional intelligence. We all need to consider the feelings and emotions of the people we lead and make sure that our leadership is aligned with them. Ask them for their input and feedback and make sure that your goals are aligned. I think we can all agree that some of the people who’ve had the greatest impact in our lives did so with their compassion.
3. Strive for Meaning, Not Happiness
This is a loaded phrase, but it’s something that I think a lot of people struggle with. Happiness is often perceived as a direct result of success, be it professional, financial, or personal. But happiness is often an unrealistic standard for how we judge ourselves and others and this drive for happiness can itself make us unhappy. There are many other important things in the world in addition to happiness. For many people happiness is an unrealistic state of being given the situation they presently face. That’s why it’s so important that going into a new year we all reconsider what is important to us and make sure we are following our truest passions and finding meaning in what we do, time spent with others, and the ways we choose to spend our time, overall. It’s no easy thing to introspect to this level, but experts agree that greater feelings of fulfillment come from finding meaning in how you live rather than just simply striving for happiness.
4. Stop Making Assumptions and Judgments
There is no greater sign of a closed mind than someone who makes assumptions and snap judgments about people and things they know nothing or little about. It’s an unattractive trait for many and a great way to close off new relationships. It’s okay to have opinions, everybody has them whether we’d like to or not. But nobody likes being around people who only express their negative opinions. We’ve all found ourselves in negative moods from time to time, but the solution is as easy as simply closing our mouths. As the old saying goes, if we have nothing nice to say, it’s better to not say anything at all. Set an intention to become more aware of your personal biases. People will always respond better to genuine excitement and curiosity rather than close-mindedness and negative judgment.
5. Praise Those Around You
We often don’t realize how good it feels to be noticed until we experience someone noticing us. When someone notices our new haircut and compliments it, we feel a sense of elation and closeness with that person. But so many of us struggle to take the next step, which is to apply this example to our own behavior. Think about the people in your life who are important to you. What do you love about them and what do you think they are insecure about? Think of ways you can compliment them and lift them up and try to work those naturally into your interactions. This is a great way of strengthening friendships and bonds in 2022 and demonstrates your high levels of empathy and emotional intelligence skills.
6. Be Curious
For people around us and in general, curiosity is one of the most attractive traits someone can demonstrate. Curiosity reflects a desire to learn more about the world and an interest in understanding those around us. Many people are drawn to the more curious of those around us because they ask the best questions and make us rethink our own lives and what we do in ways we had never considered before. Just think about how many great interviews you’ve seen or heard where the interviewee was left stunned by the interviewer’s questions. Imagine if we could have that same effect on people? Curiosity is the way to demonstrate that emotional intelligence skill of being aware of others and the place they have in our lives. Look for an upcoming article that will go more in-depth about how we can work more curiosity into our lives.
7. Don’t Hold Grudges Against Others or Yourself
Another important part of our 9 ways to show emotional intelligence in 2022 is how we deal with grudges. Grudges are ugly and can destroy otherwise healthy and beautiful relationships we have. Not only this, but grudges can hurt us as well when we direct them inward. When we refuse to let ourselves off the hook for mistakes we’ve made, we exponentially magnify the pain from those mistakes. Instead of letting that pain heal and form a scar that can make us even stronger than before, grudges tear open the old wounds and never let them heal. Instead of letting the incident heal and grow our relationship, we continue to pick at it until it sometimes ends the relationship entirely. If you’ve been arguing with someone you love recently and you both refuse or simply cannot see eye to eye, then maybe it’s time for a different approach with acceptance and healing. As the expression goes, we can agree to disagree. Setting healthy boundaries is often an excellent alternative to holding a grudge.
8. Care About Wellness
Wellness is a proven secret to success. We’ve covered it here extensively in recent weeks (link to article) because it’s so closely tied in with our abilities to be emotionally intelligent. Wellness is our ability to live holistically and with meaning, similar to entry number 3. But wellness is about the everyday, realistic things we can do in order to assure that we are prepared to face any challenge the day may throw our way. It means adjusting our sleep schedules when we’re tired, improving our diet in order to feel our best, and practicing yoga, meditation or other healthy stress relieving modalities when we’re feeling challenged. These strategies make up our wellness practice and determine our ability to get through the day with our emotions held in check.
Last but definitely not least is one of the best things we can do in any year, and certainly in 2022. Volunteering is a great way to make a very real impact in your community and to feel good about yourself. Many people like to pretend that volunteering is a totally selfless act, but there’s no sense ignoring the good feelings and emotions that come from helping improve the lives of others, environment or something else we care about. Let’s not pretend any longer and instead recognize volunteering for what it is, an amazing opportunity for each and every one of us to feel connected to real human causes and strive to make our own worlds a better place. We need volunteers in all manner of places; at your local soup kitchen, animal shelter, hospital, and the list goes on. Many of these places only need you for a couple hours a month and you could end up making all sorts of connections you never thought possible.
That about wraps up our list of 9 ways to show emotional intelligence in 2022. I hope you’ve enjoyed this and you’ll take some of these strategies into 2022. Let’s make this a year to demonstrate emotional intelligence and improve the world around us by positively impacting our local communities. What could be a better time to all come together than the holiday season and the new year? What are your resolutions out there and how are you striving to demonstrate your emotional intelligence in 2022 and beyond? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.