As I've previously written, one of the most vital components of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Whether you're a janitor or a CEO, self-awareness is an important aspect of improving yourself as a person and a professional.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that unknowingly values selfishness--the antithesis of self-awareness. American society in particular awards benefits to people that exploit others, embracing the pursuit of profit over public welfare and personal wellbeing. However, more and more authentic leaders are learning that people gravitate towards genuineness--people who act according to their values--and towards people with high self-awareness.

If you are one of the few individuals that knows emotional intelligence and self-awareness are the true key to success and fulfillment, then seeing examples of people lacking in self-awareness provides you a guide into what not to do. It also serves as a humble reminder of your earlier behaviors and occasional slip-ups.

No one is perfect. And to continue maturing into your best possible self, read the 10 things emotionally intelligent people don't do, and discover what they do instead.

1. Stand in the middle of an escalator with your suitcase while not thinking about the people behind you.

We all have moments of not realizing how our actions impact others, however, if it happens frequently across multiple areas of your life, you're doing something wrong.

Trying to be aware of how you--physically, mentally, and emotionally--impact others will lead to more fulfilling relationships and a more successful career.

2. Be a leader and think that your words are more important than your behaviors.

What you do is more important than what you say. When leaders think that they can say one thing and do another, it shows that they have no idea how much their actions impact others.

Stop trying to be the exception--start exemplifying your values.

3. Get angry at others in traffic without recognizing that your driving also inevitably irritates other drivers too.

This example requires higher-than-average self-awareness, because you truly need to step outside of yourself to understand.

No matter how great of a driver you are, your driving is different than others. Even if you have a pristine driving record, someone else thinks that you're a despicable driver who shouldn't be allowed to pedal a tricycle down the street.

All judgments you have about others are based on a small sample size that may not represent that person as a whole. No one is except from being mislabeled--so hold your tongue and recognize that perspective changes everything.

4. Hate people who look, think, and act differently than you, then get frustrated when you get treated poorly for no apparent reason.

Another great catch-22. When you make immediate assumptions about others, you can't get frustrated when they do the same to you. That's hypocritical and highlights your lack of emotional maturity.

Instead, challenge yourself to recognize the relativity of your thoughts and beliefs, and open yourself up to new ideas. People with high emotional intelligence recognize that all people have value.

5. Preserve your spot in the checkout line with your full cart and not offering the individual with one item the opportunity to go ahead of you.

When you have high self-awareness, you're a more considerate person. Yes, we all have deadlines, but allowing someone to go ahead of you in line when your process is going to take longer is not only courteous, it's common-sense.

6. Chew gum and food loudly, or blast music out of your cell phone, without being aware of your surroundings.

It's okay to stand out in your environment and embrace your individuality. It's also important that you have the self-awareness to know that your behaviors will impact the way others perceive you. Behave in ways that will help your personal and professional growth.

7. Taking up excessive physical space on public transit when you're a person of privilege--like a straight white male.

Again, next level thinking here. When you take up space manspreading your legs and not allowing others the same opportunity, you're reinforcing systems of oppression. People with high self-awareness know how their own identities are impacted by social structures, and notice how macro systems manifest in micro interactions.

Stop taking up space. Start listening to others and providing a space for them to feel safe.

8. Speak at length about yourself without asking other people questions about themselves, and then getting upset that your relationships are strained.

Emotionally intelligent people recognize how their interpersonal patterns influence their relationships and accept responsibility for those outcomes.

9. Walk up or down the stairs in the middle rather than allowing the people behind you room to pass.

When this happens frequently, you either lack self-awareness or are a manipulative person. Stand to one side--it's better for everyone.

10. Be a manager and not realizing how much lack of praise impacts the team.

Managers and leaders need to know that everything they do or say sets a precedent. People with high self-awareness do their best to provide feedback in a way that can best be heard by each individual team member.

Emotional intelligence is an invaluable aspect of the current marketplace. If you want to increase your self-awareness, start taking self-development seriously and reach out to a coach or therapist.

Published on: Apr 10, 2017
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