What’s Your EQ?

Lisa May Executive Director, Live the Life South Florida

We all know that IQ measures intelligence, but are you aware of EQ? EQ is our emotional intelligence. In the best-selling book, Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman documented the research indicating that IQ intelligence only accounts for about 20 percent of a person’s success in life. So what accounts for the other 80%? Researchers believe a big piece of the puzzle is Emotional Intelligence – the capacity to ACQUIRE and APPLY emotional information.  

People with strong emotional intelligence are more effective and successful in their career, make healthier choices, have more influence, make better decisions, make better grades, and they have better professional and personal relationships.

Research shows that once we become adults, there’s little we can do to increase our IQ. The good news is you can grow your EQ regardless of your age. Although we have no control over our chronological age, we do have control over our emotional age. Emotionally we can be stuck at any age. We can be adults with very high IQ, but on the inside, we might have a very low EQ.

Sustaining a loving relationship depends on both partners achieving a level of emotional maturity where you are capable of mutual concern.


Four stages of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is categorized by four stages of development. 

Emotional Infants: “I want it when I want it.”

Emotional Children: Doesn’t say what’s wrong…acts out in behavior and keeps you guessing. Emotional Adolescents: “Don’t tell me what to do!”

Emotional Adults: Capacity for mutual concern: able to listen with empathy: confides needs in a caring, positive manner. Desire for relationship to win. 

Below is an emotional stages of development assessment. I encourage you to take a few minutes and circle each bullet point that describes you. 


Emotional Infant

  • You have what I need.
  • I will force you to give it to me.
  • You owe it to me.
  • I simply need, nothing else is required of me.
  • You must figure out what my needs are.
  • I’m entitled.
  • I’m outraged if you don’t meet my demands.
  • I never get enough.
  • I require all of you.
  • I eliminate any interest that competes with you giving to me.
  • I won’t tolerate you having any self-interest that is not gratifying to me.
  • I cannot live without you.
  • I would rather eliminate you than lose you.
  • I must stay in charge.
  • It’s all or nothing.


Emotional Child

  • You have something that I want, and I will find a way to get it from you.
  • I will lie, trick, manipulate and whine to get what I want.
  • I will see revenge if you do not give me enough.
  • I will get even with you for the pain you cause me by not doing what I want.
  • I will pretend and pose to entice you to give to me.
  • I will hide my truth in order to keep you.
  • I will be belittling and controlling of any competition.
  • I will blame or sulk to let you know I’m upset.
  • I will placate so you will feel sorry for me an appease me.
  • I will be distracting to confuse you.
  • I will develop physical reactions to the pain of your rejection of disapproval.
  • I will regress to childhood decisions about what I can allow myself to experience, show or do.
  • I experience strong doubts about my love ability and adequacy.


Emotional Adolescents

  • “Don’t tell me what to do.”
  • My autonomy is threatened by needing and taking too much from a relationship.
  • I misunderstand your requests as attempts to control me.
  • I am rebellious when criticized, corrected or directed.
  • I view commitment as something to be rebelled against.
  • I believe I already know everything or should know everything.
  • I constantly measure my personal performance and adequacy against my unrealistic views of adulthood.
  • I compare my fortunes, capabilities and performance with others.
  • I harbor perfectionistic expectation of others.
  • I am always trying to prove something.
  • I cannot listen with empathy because I hear your reality as a criticism of me.
  • I feel trapped and limited by relationships.
  • I need space in order to feel my autonomy and freedom.
  • I blind myself to the consequences of risk taking/rule breaking, and I am easily bored by routine; I’m restless, changeable, seek variety and adventures.


Emotional Adults

  • I can listen with empathy without demanding, manipulating, or rebelling regarding others’ reality.
  • I am self-aware and can receive criticism without becoming defensive.
  • I am able to give and take pleasure without fear of painful loss, lack of control or loss of autonomy.
  • I can speak congruently in my own behalf or in behalf of the relationship, even at the risk of displeasing you.
  • I can sustain emotional intensity in a relationship, and can ask for what I need, want or prefer without controlling, engulfing, manipulating or fleeing from you.
  • I can comfortably move between being dependent, independent and interdependent with a partner.
  • Personal existence, love-ability, adequacy and the ability to have my needs met in cooperation with others.
  • I can self-maintain in times of sickness, work or preoccupation elsewhere of my partner.
  • I have the capacity to join in mutual concern and empathy.


EQIf we’re honest with ourselves we will acknowledge that we exhibit some of the characteristics from time to time in all levels, especially when we’re angry. Achieving an adult level of maturity requires a sense of your own worth and seeing the fundamental value of your spouse. Becoming a high EQ emotional adult isn’t easy, and it’s not necessary to be one all the time, but you need to behave like an emotional adult in order to handle conflict constructively. Remember, when we are under STRESS, we REGRESS. Conflict in your marriage is an opportunity for you to learn something about your spouse, and a healthy marriage works better when both partners are functioning as emotional adults most of the time. The healthy emotional adult has the capacity to demonstrate good will, respect, humility and empathy, is open to learning, growing, and has a willingness to change. 


Emotional adulthood defined – You become an emotional adult whenever your desire to PROTECT is GREATER than your desire to BE PROTECTED, AND your desire to LOVE is greater than your desire to BE LOVED.


Lisa May is Executive Director of Live the Life South Florida. She can be reached at [email protected] or by mail at 5110 N. Federal Hwy. Suite 102, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308

For more articles by Lisa May, visit goodnewsfl.org/author/lisa-may/

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