Last updated on November 28th, 2023.
By having a grasp on your own and others’ emotions, you can start to understand the role that emotional intelligence plays in daily life. Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, researchers of the current EI model, have given the world a better understanding of what establishes emotional intelligence.
Self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation, social skills, and motivation are the five components that make up emotional intelligence (also called the EI model). Emotional intelligence helps us identify, understand, and organize our emotions and impact others’ feelings.
While growth and change are inevitable, you may have noticed how you can handle specific situations better now compared to when you were a child. Our EI can both improve or deteriorate over time when it comes in contact with particular conditions. By knowing what makes up the various components of EI, you can strengthen your emotional intelligence.
What Are the Five Components of Emotional Intelligence?
High emotional intelligence is a valuable skill in a plethora of situations. Those who refine their understanding of their emotions and the emotions of those around them can:
- Improve job satisfaction
- Defuse tense situations
- Reduce stressful atmospheres
- Build relationships
Thus, more emotional intelligence increases your overall success in personal and business affairs.
The following chart gives the definition and characteristics of the five components of emotional intelligence:
|Self-Awareness||When an individual has a thorough understanding of their personality and character traits||· Honest
|Empathy||Being aware of the trials and difficulties that others endure. Empathy also requires understanding and sensitivity towards the actions and feelings of those around you. You can both comprehend and have compassion for the feelings, thoughts, and experiences that others undergo.||· Recognizing other’s emotions
· Communicating feelings
· Understanding the perspective of others
· Love for others
|Self-Regulation||The ability a person has to control their desires and responses they make without the need of outside influences.||· Monitor situations
· Resist urges
· Evaluate one’s performance
|Social Skills||The combination of gestures, body language, and physical appearance to communicate thoughts, emotions, and ideas, both verbally and non-verbally.||· Trustworthy
|Motivation||A skill that is built through the determination to meet goals and the desire to grow.||· Passionate
· Seek their goals
Self-Awareness Promotes Self-Development
The benefits of emotional intelligence are endless because by having a better understanding of yourself, you can change the outcomes and circumstances of the situations you are in. Self-awareness helps you see yourself from a new perspective so that you can improve yourself. Self-awareness is classified between internal and external categories.
When you begin to understand the whys behind your behaviors and the reasons behind your values, then you are on the way to internal self-awareness. By being aware of how others perceive your values and behaviors, you show knowledge of external self-awareness.
To better your self-awareness, you can:
- Keep track of your goals and priorities.
- Talk to a friend and see if your view of yourself is what others see. If it’s not, then come up with strategies to improve.
- Seek out information (books, classes, tests) that will help you become aware of what areas you can advance in.
Working on your self-awareness can:
- Encourage self-development
- Increase self-control
- Boost decision-making skills
- Help in a work environment
Self-awareness helps build a positive evaluation of the self, which has an endless amount of benefits because you can then work on improving weaknesses in social engagements and communication ability.
Empathy Increases Understanding
When you can understand how others feel, you have a better grasp of how to respond to particular situations. Empathy can look different in various cases, depending on how in-tune a person is with their feelings and those around them.
Sympathy allows you to care when others are feeling pain. Four reactions that show concern for others include:
- Pity – Recognizing that a person is in pain.
- Sympathy – Caring for others’ pain.
- Empathy – Showing concern for someone’s problems.
- Compassion – Wanting to take action to help others.
Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes (not literally) and acknowledge why they feel the way they do. Frequently, empathy is confused with sympathy. The main difference is that empathetic people take action when they see someone hurting, whereas sympathy can end with words.
Also, you can be sympathetic without being empathetic. But you can’t show empathy without first feeling sympathy.
To improve your empathy skills, you can:
- Ask for feedback from those around you about your listening abilities.
- Look for activities outside your usual routine (joining a community group, volunteering, etc.)
- Read books that share information on personal relationships and how to improve them.
- Build your relationships with others and ask them questions about their experiences in life
- Take note of the hidden walls that you’ve built throughout your life that stop you from listening to others due to a difference in age, attitude, race, gender, etc.
- Take the chance to get out of your comfort zone and do something new. By experiencing various situations and circumstances, you can better understand why others act or feel specific ways.
By working on increasing your empathy, you can:
- Build trust with those around you
- Reduce tension and stress
- Gain the cooperation of your teammates
- Read the atmosphere around you
Handle Emotions Through Self-Regulation
Managing and regulating emotions begins in early childhood. Self-regulation is an essential aspect of development since it helps with learning, social ability, and self-control. Your self-regulation ability begins as far back as when you learn to self-soothe as a baby.
People gain self-regulation skills through trial and error. Experiences help you build the necessary processes to navigate through specific situations. Sometimes the results are less than favorable, and you can take notes on what to change to better prepare for a similar situation.
Ways to work on self-regulation include:
- Take deep breaths instead of resorting to anger or find other calming techniques that will help you stay in control of yourself.
- Identify what sets you off. By being aware of what upsets you, you can focus before the situation takes control of you.
- Practice self-discipline even during times that you don’t want to complete a task.
- Find situations that call for you to be adaptable. Adaptability helps during times that can take you by surprise.
Not only does it help you improve your self-control, but self-regulation also helps:
- Problem-solving abilities
- Proactiveness over reactiveness
- Enhance cooperation
- Increase focus
Enhance teamwork skills
Level Up Your Social Skills
With social skills, you can connect with others and build positive relationships that can last for many years to come. Social skills are vital in all relationships, including romantic, platonic, and familial. By having a social network, you gain perspectives from others that you didn’t see or consider before, which can help you during challenging circumstances.
Social skills are built up by being in situations that require you to be social. Some ways to enhance your social skills are to:
- Be social even when it’s uncomfortable. This can help you gain control over how you act around others.
- Start with small group settings before jumping into a crowd. Saying thank you for a meal or for your groceries count as social activities that will improve your overall social skills.
- Ask conversation building questions instead of “yes or no” questions. By keeping the conversation moving, you’ll learn more about the person you’re speaking with while also encouraging yourself to keep talking.
- Make goals that you can achieve with effort. Though being social may seem farfetched, it’s possible when you keep moving toward smaller goals.
The benefits of working on positive social skills include:
- Enhanced communication skills
- Improved in behavior
- Better attitude about self and others
- Better overall well-being
Hard Work and Motivation Pay Off
If people were to remain unmotivated, there’s a high probability that everyday luxuries would not be here today. Motivation is essential when you have goals and dreams that you want to become a reality.
The main difference between someone who has motivation and someone who doesn’t is the drive to accomplish tasks.
Motivation is not a trait you’re born with, so it must be developed over time by:
- Improving your posture. By sitting straight instead of slouching, you will eventually start to feel more confident. Confidence leads to motivation, which will help in a variety of circumstances.
- Thinking positive thoughts instead of pessimistic thoughts. Motivation is not built overnight; it is developed through hard work and effort. Being positive brings life and energy to a task rather than a preconceived notion of defeat. (Learn how to manage your emotional energy and elevate your frequency in this awesome article!)
- Taking a walk or reading something funny. Get those happy hormones flowing any way you can! Being a good mood will push you to be motivated more than being in a ‘blah’ mindset.
- If you struggle with completing tasks, make a list of goals, and tell them to someone who’ll make you keep your word. Reward yourself for the goals you reach.
Motivation keeps us from growing stagnant and can help you to keep pressing forward. Those with motivation will:
- Have better productivity
- Stay active in achieving goals
- Improve their relationships
- Show the will to work on themselves and their tasks
What Does it Mean to be Emotionally Intelligent?
Someone with high emotional intelligence can identify their emotional state and whether it’s positive or negative. They can also perceive the condition of those around them. Emotional intelligence uses your insight and social environment to comprehend and respond to various social and emotional situations.
Each element includes an aspect of enhancing your emotional intelligence. With self-awareness and self-regulation, you become more mindful of the decisions you make and your attitude. By being in-tune with why you behave in a particular way, you have more options to control that behavior.
With social skills and empathy, you can build upon the understanding of how to properly treat others while also learning about why people conduct themselves in a specific manner. Motivation can keep the wheels turning so that you can continue to grow.
By making strides to improve your emotional intelligence, you can begin to hone specific traits listed below while removing unwanted qualities such as loneliness and anxiety.
Characteristics of emotional intelligence include:
- Recognizing a variety of emotions shown by yourself and others
- Pausing before reacting in the moment
- Understanding that you are in control of what you say and feel
- Taking objective criticism and use it to advance instead of taking offense
- Sticking to what you say you’ll do and meaning what you say
- Showing empathy and praise towards others
All of the components of emotional intelligence mentioned above can help you to be self-actualized and become a better version of yourself.
Emotional intelligence can help improve your relationships and communication skills and further enhance your psychological well-being. You can find emotional intelligence courses online that can help you in your growing journey! By increasing our understanding and creating a balance between the following five elements of self-awareness, you can boost your EI and continue to strengthen your knowledge of connecting with other people (both professionally and personally).