Have you ever spent time with someone who’s emotionally stunted? In other words, a person who lacks the ability to be aware of their emotions and the emotions of others. I know you all know that person.
Now, compare that to the experience of spending time with someone who’s in tune with their emotions and displays empathy and understanding of the needs of those around them. Being emotionally intelligent allows for more effective communication and a greater capacity to connect in a positive and emotionally healthy way.
Most people hear the term emotionally strong and assume that it means the ability to ignore your emotions or not feel them. But emotional intelligence describes the ability to understand and manage our own emotions as well as the emotions of others.
Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of the book “Emotional Intelligence”, refers to emotional intelligence as the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well internally and within relationships. Goleman suggests the following five components as critical to developing emotional intelligence:
The ability to observe emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals and recognize the impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions. It involves knowing our capacities (and limits), understanding when to ask for help, and being able to identify emotional triggers.
Involves navigating difficult emotions and impulses, and adapting to changing circumstances. In other words, managing emotions, especially when they might be complex.
An emotionally intelligent person has the capacity to understand the emotional needs of others, interact well with those around them, and nurture relationships.
Empathy is the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people—and to recognize, understand, and consider other people’s feelings—especially when making decisions. Acting based on information gathered from observing and understanding the feelings of others makes empathy one of the most important skills for navigating interpersonal relationships.
Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement or having passion to work due to an inner vision, set of values, a particular joy, or a curiosity in learning, can make internal motivation a key component in emotional intelligence.
When we have this capacity for inner balance, we can have a greater ability to hold space for other people, build positive relationships, and develop a richer sense of emotional intelligence.