Defining and Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a recent behavioral model that provides a new way to understand and assess a person’s behavior, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential. In simpler terms, emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your own emotions, manage your emotions, recognize emotions in others, and appropriately manage others emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that the guy in the car in front of you makes you mad, you recognize your mad and express your emotions through a form of “sign language” and then recognize that he is mad at you when he gives you the same sign back. Emotional Intelligence is something completely different and if you have it, it could greatly improve the quality of your personal and professional life!

Empathy is the Key to Emotional Intelligence

Empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of another) is the key to emotional intelligence. Everyone already has empathy to one degree or another but for those on the lesser side, good news, empathy can be learned! If you are already a very empathetic person then you are probably displaying high emotioanl intelligence without even knowing it. For those of you that are not so empathetic towards others you can learn to develop this trait and use it to better your personal and professional life. I will follow up this blog with a more in-depth look at empathy, but for now I want to stick to what emotional intelligence is as a whole.


Emotional Intelligence develops personal qualities that can reduce stress, decrease conflict, improve relationships, increase stability, increase continuity, and promote harmony in any type of relationship. Emotional Intelligence also teaches an individual to Recognize a situation, Analyze the situation, Determine a course of action for that particular situation, and Act on that determination.

Here is an example of emotional intelligence from my own experiences as a massage therapist. I had a new client scheduled for a massage that had not arrived at the scheduled time. My client finally arrived about 10 minutes late. When I greeted my client I recognized immediately that this person was extremely upset. This is certainly not the type of mood to be in prior to a massage. Without practicing emotional intelligence I may have just let this go and provided the service. My client would have probably been distracted, unable to enjoy the treatment and less likely to schedule another appointment. Instead I used my emotional intelligence by taking the time to talk to my client and find out what was going on. My client appreciated my concern and opened up about what was so upsetting. I was able to console and empathize with my client for a few minutes and then proceed with the treatment. By recognizing an emotion in my client, analyzing that emotion, determining what I was going to do about it and taking action, my client received a relaxing massage and became a regular client!

Emotional Intelligence is a Very Essential Part of a Whole Person.

Believe it or not, emotional intelligence is more important than IQ! A test of emotional intelligence, along with 33 other workplace skills done by TalentSmart, revealed that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance success in all types of jobs. Emotional Intelligence impacts everything you do. Everything from your job to your personal relationships, leadership skills and personal excellence can be affected by emotional intelligence. In fact, TalentSmart also reports that people with higher emotional intelligence are more likely to earn a higher income than people with only a high IQ! How ‘bout that!

The Four Parts of Emotional Intelligence

The first part of being emotionally intelligent is awareness of your own feelings at any given time. Being able to effectively manage those feelings is the second part. If you are a person that easily “blows up” over every little thing then you are not displaying good self-awareness and you need to do something about changing that. A person that can keep a level head even in the most upsetting or annoying situations is a good example of a self-aware person.

The third part of emotional intelligence is being more socially aware or, in other words, being able to recognize emotions in others. An example of this would be recognizing that your spouse is upset just by observing his or her body language and actions. If you are lacking in social awareness then you might not notice anything is wrong with your spouse until he or she is yelling at you. If you are able to be socially aware then you will be able to manage that awareness. Managing social awareness is the fourth part of emotional intelligence. Managing social awareness looks like this: your spouse comes home and it is obvious that he or she is upset. Before he or she can begin yelling at you for not taking out the garbage you take action and ask what is wrong. If you still get yelled at for not taking out the garbage then you have not gotten to the root of the problem. Being emotionally intelligent means that you recognize that your spouse cannot possibly be this upset about the trash and that something more is going on. At this point you need to be calm, relaxed and dig a little deeper to find out what the real problem is instead of spinning into a needless argument about the trash.

Having emotional intelligence means that you are able to understand yourself, manage your own feelings, understand and recognize feelings in others, and get to the root of the problem without needless conflict. It is a win-win for everyone!

Of course this blog is a very basic “peek” into emotional intelligence. I intend to write much more on this subject but if you just can’t wait to get more information then you can visit or pick up the book – Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves.

Thanks for Reading!

Smiles ~ Michelle

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