Emotional Intelligence: A Basic Understanding

If only I had a dollar every time someone said – ” Your emotions are your weakness”, I would be a millionaire. For a major part of my life, I have heard from family, friends, and colleagues that my emotions are my weakness. They said I am taken advantage of because I am an emotional person. Yes, they were right on many occasions, I was in fact taken advantage of in many places. But in spite of that, I did not feel like my emotions were my weakness. In fact, many times I have put it under the list of my strengths. Later I got to know why. I was good at understanding emotional intelligence.

Emotions have been an integral part of us since primitive times. But for most of our time on earth, we have foolishly believed that emotions affect us negatively. We have been telling each other that we would do better in life only if we could be more logical than emotional. Nothing could be further than the truth. Emotions are the basic building block of our society. Then why is it so many times listed under weaknesses?

Emotional Intelligence: A Basic Understanding

In This Article:

  1. Why is your emotions your weakness?
  2. Benefits of Developing Emotional Intelligence
  3. Theories Of Emotional Intelligence
    1. Mayer and Salovey – EI Ability Model
    2. Bar-on – EI Competency Model
    3. Daniel Goleman – Theory of EI

Why is your emotions your weakness?

The answer to this question is very simple. The reason your emotions are your weakness is because you don’t understand them and you don’t know how to use them for your own benefit. Most of us have been treating our emotions as effects and not causes. We believe certain incidences trigger certain emotions in us. Hence emotions are believed to be on the reaction side of a transaction.

Till the time you believe that your emotions are just responses to the external stimuli, your emotions will be your weaknesses. This is because your emotions become dependent on the external stimulus and it gives the external stimulus power over your emotions.

While on the other hand, believing your emotions are on the causal side of a transaction will help you gain control of the situation and also of the external stimulus sometimes.

Benefits of Developing Emotional Intelligence

There are various benefits of having high emotional intelligence and it shows in all aspects of your life.

  1. You are able to control impulsive behaviour.
  2. You understand yourself better.
  3. You can maintain better relationsips.
  4. You have a better understanding of your strengths and weakness.
  5. You have more responsive transactions than reactive.
  6. You have better understanding of your mental health.
  7. It improves your mental and physical health
  8. You get better at communicating both professionally and personally.
  9. It increases your social skills.
  10. It develops empathy.
  11. It helps you create internal motivation.
  12. It helps in better stress management.

Theories Of Emotional Intelligence

Various theories have been proposed to understand emotional intelligence. Here is a brief about the 3 most important theories in the field of emotional intelligence.

Mayer and Salovey – EI Ability Model

One of my personal favorite Emotional Intelligence theories is the Mayer and Salovey Ability Model. According to them, emotional intelligence is all about understanding your emotions along with that of others and using these insights to guide your thoughts and behaviors. I find this definition of EI the most simple and crisp. Mayer and Salovey were the very first people to write about emotional intelligence, though the term is often related to Daniel Goleman the most as he popularized the concept with his book.

Mayer and Salovey describe emotional intelligence and its competencies in 4 broad categories:

  1. Perceiving emotions: The ability to read between the lines, understanding body language and get what was not said. This will depend on your emotional state too and hence you also need to be cautious about over analyzing the situations.
  2. Using emotions: This is about being able to use your emotions well to facilitate constructive cognitive activities. Using your emotions well refers to not being reactive but responsive to external disturbing stimuli.
  3. Understanding Emotions: Perceived emotions can carry a wide variety of menings. The ability to understand emotions , whether it is yours or that of other people is also an important part of EI. Interpreting the causes behing the emotions is a huge aspect of understanding emotions.
  4. Managing emotions: Managing emotions is a key part of EI as how you respond to your own emotions and how you treat the emotions of people around you is what defines your emotional intelligence.

Bar-on – EI Competency Model

As per the Bar-On competency model, Emotional Intelligence is a combination of emotional and social competencies. Hence this is also referred to as a mixed model. This model is derived from Darwin’s theories stating the importance of emotional expression in survival and adaptation. This model stresses how important it is to express ourselves emotionally in order to adapt and survive. It provides us with 15 social and emotional competencies that a person needs to develop to be emotionally intelligent. These competencies are related to understanding self and others, communicating with others, and coping with the changing demands of our everyday life. These competencies are listed below:

  1. Self-regard
  2. Self-actualization
  3. Emotional Self-awareness
  4. Emotional Expression
  5. Assertiveness
  6. Independence
  7. Interpersonal Relationships
  8. Empathy
  9. Social Responsibility
  10. Problem-Solving
  11. Reality Testing
  12. Impulse Control
  13. Flexibility
  14. Stress Tolerance
  15. Optimism.

Daniel Goleman – Theory of EI

The most popular theory of Emotional Intelligence is the one given by Daniel Goleman. This theory outlines 5 components of EI :

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self- regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social skills

According to this theory, self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation are listed under the personal competencies category while empathy and social skills are social competencies. There are 27 different competencies listed under these 5 broad categories. These competencies include self-confidence, self-assessment, self-control, trustworthiness, achievement drive, empathy, conflict management, influence, initiative, and many more.

I would like to end with a note that without emotions there is no society and without emotional intelligence, there is no growth. Emotional intelligence lets us know what experience we want to create for our lives and what we want to avoid. It gives us the liberty to choose our emotions and guide our thoughts for a constructive and meaningful life. The best part is that EI can be developed at any stage in life hence, it is never too late to start.

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  1. […] them. Be honest towards yourself and your emotions. Know your emotional strengths and weaknesses, understand emotional intelligence and work on developing it. Learn about the full spectrum of emotions and also learn to express them […]

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