Updated: Oct 3
(Actual photos from a car accident involving my son, Savon Salter)
Dr. Lisa M. Coffey
July 25, 2021
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the process of controlling and positively expressing your emotions. EI allows you to build interpersonal relationships, relieve stress, anxiety, or fear. EI helps you to overcome conflicts, engage in effective communication, and empathize with others. EI manifests in your life in the following ways:
Self Awareness is the awareness of your feelings and emotions. How do you feel when happy, disappointed, or angry?
Self Management is the ability to manage your emotions in times of happiness or trouble. How do you react when in stressful situations, facing your fears, or when angry?
Social Awareness is how you act/react in social situations, including social media. How do you respond to those with opposing viewpoints (religion, politics, race relations, etc.)? Social Awareness also includes knowing who is in the audience or your surroundings.
Relationship Management is the ability to interact with others, build relationships, resolve conflicts, and respond to others’ emotions.
Empathy is the ability to walk in someone else's shoes and see the concept through their eyes. Tuck away your preconceived ideas and have an openness to understand others' points of view.
Why is EI important?
Emotional intelligence is crucial because it helps us to balance our physical and mental well-being. EI applies to our personal and professional lives. When you display a high level of EI, the following actions will occur:
You will get away from conformational situations rather than react based on emotions.
You will clearly articulate your point of view on controversial topics without offending those with opposing viewpoints.
You will have the ability to process your feelings and emotions before making decisions in the heat of the moment.
You will have the ability to actively listen to understand others' perspectives and have empathetic feelings toward them and their concerns.
Improving Emotional Intelligence
Building EI requires a deliberate focus on monitoring:
how you react to others
how you express your feelings
how you respond under stress
how you take responsibility for your actions when you hurt others
Self-reflection and practice build your emotional intelligence.
Have you ever been in a car accident that was not your fault? How did you respond? The first time I was in a car accident, I lost it on the person who hit me. EI allows us to control that anger, be empathetic to the person who hit your car, and find a positive way to communicate feelings.
When my second car accident happened, my reaction was much different. The material possession was not that important; the damage was irrelevant. Instead, my emotional response was to be thankful for life. I was able to console the young woman who hit me because my EI capacity expanded.
Goleman, D. (2005). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam Books.
© 2021 Dr. Lisa M. Coffey