Developing EI requires that an individual be self-aware. Self-awareness is learning to monitor thoughts, beliefs, motives and actions. It involves actively reflecting on your character which in turn informs a person of who they are.
Understanding your character means that you know what you believe in and what you are willing to fight for. You are able to identify circumstances that will bring you joy and those that will cause distress. You are able to articulate the occurrence of various emotions including but not limited to sadness, confusion, happiness and excitement. Also, you are able to recognise behaviors that are typical of your personality.
Connecting Self-Awareness to Emotional Intelligence
You cannot develop a high level of Emotional Intelligence until you learn to recognise the true emotions you are feeling. There are surface emotions and true emotions. For example, imagine a colleague hurries into the office where you are seated behind the desk, and slams the door sending loose papers flying everywhere. Naturally, you are upset, and have the desire to act.
Your initial emotion is anger. If acting in anger you may scream at the person, and demand restitution. But, anger is not the true emotion; it is a reactionary defense to a hostile situation.
If you are practicing self-awareness and exercising your Emotional Intelligence, you would behave differently. You would pause and analyze the anger. You would most likely determine that your true emotional response was fear of a possible threat. Then, you would consider your choices for action based on your relationship with the other person, and what steps the situation requires.
Emotional Intelligence, or emotional maturity, includes controlling your emotions. It does not necessarily mean that you eliminate certain emotions from your life. It means that you are able to face feelings and accept them and make healthy decisions about which emotions will influence your beliefs and behaviors.
High Emotional Intelligence
If you have a high EI your emotions will be rational, stable and healthy. You will be successful at managing yourself, your work tasks and your relationships with others. Additionally, you will make decisions from a calm and clear mind free of emotions that could potentially cause negative consequences for you at work or at home.
Increasing Emotional Intelligence
You can increase your EI by targeting your cognitive position, your thoughts, feelings and beliefs, and your behaviors or actions for self-analysis. This is often accomplished through a guided process moderated by a professional and known as Cognitive Behavioural Coaching.
A highly developed EI is an asset to the individual who has acquired the skill and anyone they interact with. Emotionally Intelligent people are confident, thoughtful and often highly successful. They have learned to effectively manage their minds and behaviors in order to consistently achieve positive results.