Introduction to Emotional Intelligence (EI)
What is Emotional Intelligence?
In psychology, emotional intelligence is interpreted as an individual’s ability to validly reason, manage personal emotions, and use the same reasoning to recognize and acknowledge the emotional well-being of others. In essence, emotional intelligence comprises two main models: ability and trait. The ability EI model describes a person’s power to disguise emotions and use the acquired skill to live and interact in a social environment. On the other hand, the trait EI model discusses the person’s self-perceived and behavioral disposition abilities, a situation measured through a personal report (Stein and Book 11). Subsequently, each model exhibits other smaller subsections, which include self-perception, self-expression, interpersonal relationships, decision-making, stress management, and overall well-being. According to EI, people with high emotional intelligence report better mental health, excellent leadership skills, and job performance. Therefore, in this discussion, I will provide all the skills I have attained from each module and a reflection on how well I can apply them in my professional career.
The self-perception theory explains that people are perceived by what they do. According to this principle, a person interprets his or her actions in the same way he/she perceives the actions of others. Particularly, self-perception is nurtured through emotional awareness, self-regard, and actualization (Stein and Book 53). Essentially, I have learned to recognize my personal feelings through understanding the concept of emotional awareness. Self-regard has helped me gain confidence and accept myself for who I am. Moreover, due to the self-esteem attained, I now actualize that I am ready to become a competent psychologist as I have always dreamt of.
Profoundly, my personal experience with nurturing self-awareness started when I realized that engaging in risky behavior due to loneliness and a feeling of inadequacy would only result in long-term adverse health consequences. Considerably, engaging in precarious behavior started when I joined college, where I realized that I could indulge in all kinds of sprees because my parents were not around to monitor my behavior. Moreover, I felt lonely and lost in a school where all individuals were new to me, a situation that led me to find solace in alcohol and dangerous sex escapades. However, at the beginning of the self-perception module, my thoughts started changing. Instead of engaging in alcoholic binges, I began volunteering in community health projects, a step that helped me improve my personal image and esteem as I felt helpful and wanted by the surrounding community. The continuous practice was challenging at first, but with a consistent need to maintain the outer expectations of others, my inner self changed, and I can now confess that it is easier to undertake a positive activity than a negative one, which might affect my wellbeing.
Self-expression is defined as a person’s ability to express themselves by their outward appearance. Emotionally intelligent people acknowledge the difference in others and the diverse ways they make suggestions and express themselves (Stein and Book 89). In essence, self-expression comprises emotional expressiveness, displaying assertiveness, and independence. Psychological presentations are shown through verbal and nonverbal expressions like posture, gestures, and spoken words. In addition, self-reliance is depicted through the ability to do things independently, while assertiveness is exhibited through living on well-defined moral grounds.
Indeed, through understanding self-expression, I acknowledged the difference between communication methods in people from Western and Eastern cultures. When I realized that my classmates from the eastern culture have a different emphasis on self-expression than those from the west, I took it in my interest to learn and recognize the existing factors and reason behind this gap. Moreover, I wanted to know how to deal with people from both worlds, as my career requires embracing diversity. Nevertheless, self-expression classes taught me that cultural and personal choices highly determine people’s communication habits. Therefore, the Western culture’s prominence on self-expressive approaches substantiates a person’s independence and asserts one’s beliefs in strong democratic rights. On the other hand, although eastern societies believe in democracy, the aspect of individuality is highly valued as it promotes mutual dependence that recognizes societal cohesion and hierarchical structures; hence, personal opinions are not much accepted. Therefore, through this experience, I have learned that self-expression is attributed to personal choice and culture, and being cognizant of that fact, I can point out that my emotional intelligence has climbed to another level.
Social connections with others in society determine an individual’s interpersonal relationships and provide the ability to influence others. Therefore, every relationship is unique, but its success is defined by a well-maintained interpersonal connectedness, socially responsible behavior, and empathy (Stein and Book 125). In essence, through well-nurtured interpersonal relationship skills, individuals begin and keep long or short-term satisfactory friendships with others. Consequently, due to empathetic connectedness, people understand and acknowledge that when their friends are emotional, they require appreciation and understanding despite their differences. The present connection between the involved parties ensures to exhibit of socially responsible behavior to those who matter through constant communication, contribution, and cooperation.
My experience in interpersonal relationships started immediately after I joined college. Previously, I believed that staying connected with people would result in negative peer pressure. Even after the instructor encouraged students to become acquainted with each other by forming teams and discussion groups, I never took any close interest in my classmates. However, upon completing the interpersonal relationships module, I recognized the need to maintain connectedness with my classmates due to the vast benefits of this ability. I have since ensured to be a productive and cooperative member of group discussions and various team projects. As a result, my academic performance has significantly improved as my friends find it easier to approach me, and the same applies to me. On the other hand, the contents that seemed difficult to grasp have been clarified through class discussions. Therefore, I now understand each of my friends despite the existing difference based on cultural and social grounds.
Making a decision requires choosing reasonably between alternatives based on personal values, goals, and preferences. All choices have consequences and risks; hence, proper decision-making processes require an individual to take a reality test, solve the problem, and control one’s impulses (Stein and Book 159). Indeed, due to reality testing, a person can stipulate the adverse problems that may occur from undertaking certain actions. On the other hand, problem-solving requires emotional intelligence in systematically resolving an existing conflict, while impulse control deters an individual from making hasty decisions.
My ability as a young adult to make informed decisions, especially in commitment issues, has been nurtured mostly by understanding the psychological concepts of teenagers’ minds. Therefore, my young adult life has been characterized by indecisiveness, mainly in relationship matters. While I thought that the inadequacy of the right partner propagated this situation, my decision-making abilities have taught me otherwise. As such, through reality testing, I have learned that being a teenager comes with myriads of uncertainties since young people fear losing their freedom. To maintain my freedom, I have always kept an uncommitted life and lived more like a dreamer who avoids making serious decisions, limiting my chances of fully exploring my teenage life. Moreover, understanding impulse control has clarified my fear of indulging in overly committed relationships as they require my time, money, and social life. Apparently, this module was one of the most crucial classes as it taught me how to handle young adults and guided them through proper decision-making processes that do not conflict with commitment and the need to keep their freedom.
Managing stress requires the emotional ability to respond to external pressure that triggers an individual to either flee from a situation or fight through it. Stress is initiated by several occurrences, which include threats, danger, news, and the death of a loved one, among other factors. However, there are ways of avoiding nervous tension, including adopting flexibility, stress tolerance attitudes, and optimism (Stein and Book 187). Flexibility helps an individual learn how to adjust to new situations despite their current conditions. Consequently, attaining stress tolerance behavior means that a person adapts to difficult environments and makes the best out of them.
Significantly, stress management was a fundamental module for me both in my personal and professional life. Through this unit, I understood the need to manage stress, especially after starting a new college life. Important to note is that college work requires the emotional ability to cope with both classwork and a new social life. Therefore, during my first year of my college, I became stressed due to juggling between classes and social life. However, to help manage my stress, I first spoke out my concerns with the school counselor who helped me identify the stress triggers in my life. Later, I was able to prioritize the important things, while frequent physical exercises helped lower my stress levels. Particularly, it is through such management practices that I can comfortably work in an already hectic psychology career without worrying that stressful environments can trigger my emotional reaction levels or lead to other dire consequences such as depression.
A person’s emotional well-being is judged through perceiving life positively and feeling good about oneself. As a result, general well-being elicits positive emotions or moods, the absence of negative feelings, fulfillment, positive functioning, and a fully satisfied life (Stein and Book 219). A person’s general well-being is measured through autonomy, ability to master the environment, positively relating to others, finding purpose in life, and self-acceptance.
Personally, I acknowledge that understanding general well-being in psychology has greatly impacted my personal life in that I now fully accept my current condition, where I ensure to find happiness in every situation. I attribute my academic success to sponsorship from my college since, without the opportunity from the school, my poor background could not have enabled me to attain higher education. Despite the knowledge that I associate with kids from affluent homes, the general well-being module has taught me to affirm my situation, find happiness, and draw extreme positivity from any condition. Essentially, through this unit, I have learned to gain confidence in myself through the continuous personal assertion that I was meant to be in my school. I have also mastered my environment by taking charge of my life and living by the available economic means. Moreover, I view this opportunity as a chance to attain experiences that are supposed to help me change the world. Besides, I am knowledgeable about building and nurturing my purpose in life with one aim of paving the way for other economically challenged children who can look up to me as a role model who achieved the best in life despite financial problems. More importantly, the module has been critical to my personal and professional growth because it has taught me that wealth does not determine happiness, but accepting and making the best out of a situation defines success.
Application of the New Knowledge
As it is palpable from the discussion, each module has familiarized me with the vast knowledge that has been highly attributed to personal experience. I now feel confident that applying this knowledge practically will be comfortable and productive. For instance, through the acquired information on self-perception, it is easy to nurture young people in attaining a positive self-image, which results in positive change in a person’s inner self. On the other hand, understanding that humans express themselves through cultural contexts will help me either distinguish why individuals show minimal or maximum expressiveness during a conversation. Moreover, teaching and asserting on the need to maintain interpersonal relationships will be influenced by the fact that I now understand that connectedness leads to strong, cooperative, and productive acquaintances.
By and large, applying the EI knowledge about the need to make better decisions will rely on my experience that well-informed resolutions have consequences, thus the need for evaluation and compromise. Consequently, exhibiting emotional intelligence in stress management will be reflected in my ability to identify the pressure triggers in an individual’s life, adjust to new situations, and prioritize important undertakings. On the other hand, applying my acquired emotional intelligence of critically understanding general well-being will assist me in encouraging people the need to accept that even though inequality exists, a person can still find happiness in any situation and environment.
Stein, Steven and Howard, Book. The EQ Edge: Emotional Intelligence and Your Success. 2011. Canada: Wiley Publishers. Print.