Many internal and external influences can define an individual’s life and success. However, as most external factors are principally out of one’s control, it can be asserted that internal elements have the principal effect on a person’s endeavors and efforts. In particular, emotional intelligence has a meaningful impact on how one deal with challenging situations in life. This essay will discuss and examine the concept of emotional intelligence and its personal and social importance. It will be argued that it is correlated with the achievement of personal goals.
Defining Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a comparatively new field in modern psychology that explores how control over feelings and understanding of the moods of others impact one’s life and success. It can be defined as skills that “enable awareness of the emotional states of oneself and others and the capacity to regulate or use emotions to positively affect role performance” (Mattingly and Kraiger 140). According to Downing (221), this type of intelligence consists of four components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. All four components are crucial and can determine how people deal with their moods and the emotions of others.
Self-awareness of one’s feelings and reactions to various events is fundamental to the notion of emotional intelligence. An individual’s ability to understand their moods and react to them constructively is linked to effective decision-making (Downing 221). Similarly, self-management helps people make constructive decisions despite the strong emotions they are experiencing (Downing 221). Thus, a person’s reaction to a challenging situation, for example, failure to be accepted into college or university, can define their life following that event. People with high emotional intelligence may try to reaccess their goals and priorities and improve their chances through constructive work. Meanwhile, those with a low one may succumb to depression, thinking they are not good enough and do not deserve the opportunity. Overall, self-awareness and management are essential elements of emotional intelligence and help process one’s feelings and cope efficiently.
The ability to understand how other people feel and to build meaningful connections with them is also an important component of emotional intelligence. Downing (221) defines social awareness as a skill of empathizing with the moods of other people. The skill allows people to comprehend accurately what feelings others are experiencing and what is the reason for their moods. Relationship management is the skill of “handling emotions in relationships with skill and harmony” (Downing 221). This component concerns recognizing what emotions others are experiencing and being able to cope with them in a manner that is not harmful to them. For example, an individual with high intelligence can notice if another person is in distress, offer support, and choose words that will not cause further anxiety. Thus, social awareness and relationship management help understand the feelings of others and respond to them effectively.
Emotional Management and Self-Awareness
Understanding one’s feelings, how to process them, and how to the moods of others in a way that will not hinder an individual’s goals and objectives is crucial for personal success. In particular, high emotional intelligence can help people to respond to failure constructively. In his book One Half of Robertson Davies, in the chapter title The Deadliest of Sins, the author recounts his experience of personal defeat, his initial reaction to it, and the concept of Acedia. After Davies (64) learned that he was not accepted into Queen’s University, Kingston, he believed he would “drift into some despised employment, take to drink, and die by my own hand.” This type of reaction to a problem exemplifies the lack of emotional self-management. It can be argued that if the author were not offered a place of a special student, he would derail his life by refusing to pursue his dream of higher education further. Davies (66) notes this reaction was an instance of Acedia or intellectual and affective apathy. Such lethargy is a symptom of low self-management and refusal to process one’s feelings that can negatively affect one’s life.
Low emotional intelligence can also be imposed on a person by society, contributing to them being unable to succeed in their lives, building meaningful relationships, and benefiting the community. For example, many young men are experiencing the damaging effects of the Boy Code, the unspoken set of rules that prohibit males from expressing their feelings and praise stoicism (Pollack and Shuster). Gender stereotypes lead to the emotional needs of many boys and men being disregarded and them not being to develop self-awareness. The authors note that the inability to express their moods often leads to suicidal and homicidal ideations, hopelessness, and depression (Pollack and Shuster). Furthermore, without the freedom to express themselves, many men may not be able to process their feelings constructively and fail to cope with them after experiencing a personal setback. As one of the genders is so severely affected by the gender straitjacket, it can be argued that the society suffers as a significant proportion of their members is incapable of functioning in it. Overall, emotional self-awareness has a meaningful effect both on the individual and the community.
Recently, I have experienced a personal failure that was initially difficult for me to process. Three months ago, I applied for a paid internship at a research facility that would benefit my career in the future. However, despite being short-listed, I was not offered the desired position. This experience was challenging to process, with my reaction being highly negative. After first receiving the news, I felt very depressed, believing that I will never be able to find a suitable internship and that this rejection will defy my career. However, I was able to compose myself and began to see this as an opportunity for professional growth rather than a failure. Now, I am open to other internships and believe one setback will not translate into an unfulfilling future career if I apply myself and seek more opportunities. Overall, I was aware of my emotions and managed them in a way that did not lead to any resulting disadvantageous actions.
In summary, emotional intelligence is an essential skill in the modern world. It allows people to be aware of their moods affect them and others. Persons with high emotional intelligence can also notice the feelings other people are experiencing and respond to them. Self-awareness and management are two components of this type of intelligence and knowing one’s feelings and handling them is beneficial both for individuals and the society as a whole. Thus, it is crucial to promote affective self-awareness in people of all genders and ages and encourage them to express their moods productively in order to achieve their personal goals.
Davies, Robertson. One Half of Robertson Davies. Rosetta Books, 2019.
Downing, Skip. On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life. 8th ed., Cengage Learning, 2016.
Mattingly, Victoria, and Kurt Kraiger. “Can emotional intelligence be trained? A meta-analytical investigation.” Human Resource Management Review, vol. 29, no. 2, 2019, pp. 140-155.
Pollack, William S., and Todd Shuster. “Real Boys’ Voices.” The New York Times Web Archive, 2000. Web.