Apr16

The Emotional Brain

There’s no escaping our emotions. Whether we like what we feel or not, we’re emotional creatures. Our first reaction to any event is always emotional. We have no control over this part of the process in our brains. We can, however, control the thoughts that follow an emotion, how we react, and what we say and do.

Your reactions are shaped by your personal history, which includes your experiences in similar situations and your personality style. When you develop your emotional intelligence, you’ll learn to spot emotional triggers and practice productive responses.

EI is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. It affects how you manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.

There are a couple of popular definitions, but most experts agree that EI is composed of four core skills that are paired under two primary competencies: personal and social.

Emotional Intelligence What I See What I Do
Personal Competence Self-awareness Self-management
Social Competence Social Awareness Relationship Management

Personal competence includes self-awareness and self-management skills that focus on your interactions with other people.

  • Self-Awareness is your ability to perceive your emotions accurately and be aware of them as they happen.
  • Self-Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to be flexible and positively direct your behavior.

Social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior and motives to improve the quality of your relationships.

  • Social Awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on other people’s emotions and understand what’s really going on.
  • Relationship Management is your ability to use awareness of your and others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully.

While this is a comprehensive explanation of the key components of EI, it boils down to self and others. How well do you manage yourself and your relationships with others? Often, we don’t know this about ourselves.