When it comes to forming and sustaining meaningful relationships in our lives, emotional intelligence is paramount. Originally coined by psychologists Mayer and Salovey in 1990, emotional intelligence refers to a person’s capacity to perceive, process, and regulate emotional information accurately and effectively. Emotional intelligence, often referred to as EI, can be viewed as the point in which emotion and cognition meet and where our ability to recognize emotions helps us navigate our social society. While many Americans are familiar with other concepts of psychology, in online resources, emotional intelligence is rarely highlighted. For this reason, Frederica Wald hopes to provide an overview of emotional intelligence by discussing its four unique categories.
Self-awareness is the ability to understand our own feelings and emotions, strengths and weaknesses, and recognize what drives and sustains them. By being aware of our own values and goals, we are better able to navigate our social relationships and acknowledge our faults and limitations in social situations. Self-awareness is often viewed as one of the most critical aspects of emotional intelligence as, more often than not, people focus their emotional intelligence outward and rarely learn what makes themselves tick.
We all have negative moods and selfish impulses. As children, we express these moments of distress of frustration in the form of tantrums. However, as we get older, we begin to teach ourselves how to manage these bad moods to better meet societal expectations. However, Frederica Wald stresses that we cannot become passive in our self-management as adults and must continue to check our poor reactions and negative moods.
Crossed arms, minimal eye contact, and fake smiles are signals used to tell us how another person is feeling. Social awareness is the ability to notice what others are feeling and deduce why. While body language is a powerful tool, social awareness also includes:
- Being able to read the mood of a room
- Listening skills
- Knowing the right thing to say in a variety of social situations
Relationship management is often defined as the ability to build value-adding relationships with others. Someone with good relationship management skills realizes the value of building relationships with those who they don’t get along with remaining active in established relationships. Some ways individuals can improve their relationship management skills include:
- Stick to a decision and do not let yourself be swayed by peer pressure
- Build trust and make specific relationships a priority
- Acknowledge a person’s pain and respond with empathy