How Developing Self Awareness Builds Emotional Intelligence (EI)

  • Inoble

  • Jan 10, 2022

According to Google dictionary, self-awareness is the insight into one’s character, strengths, weaknesses, motivations, values, and principles. On the other hand, emotional intelligence is about the skill to connect with others emotionally, recognize emotions in oneself, and manage them effectively.

Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad. – Debbie Ford

What is Self-Awareness Theory

The theory of self-awareness suggests that humans are not their thoughts but their observers. An individual has the choice to either spend their days on autopilot or monitor their beliefs, feelings, and their actions. The authors denoted this ability as self-evaluation. This self-evaluation skill gives a person an opportunity to regulate their behavior according to the requirements of their environment. Additionally, this enables people to regulate their behavior towards their short-term and long-term goals.

Every human has four endowments – self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.”- Stephen Covey

Emotional Intelligence (EI) theories

There are different theories of emotional intelligence for instance

  • Mayer and Salovey’s integrative model of EI
  • Bar-On’s model about social-emotional intelligence
  • Daniel Goleman’s theory

Benefits of Developing Self-awareness and Emotional Intelligence

There are many benefits of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. For instance, enhanced self-acceptance, improved decision-making ability, and job performance. Moreover, they boost conflict management skills, significantly minimize stress, better social relationships due to increased empathy, and strengthen resilience.

“Some of the greatest moments in human history were fueled by emotional intelligence.”– Adam Grant

To illustrate self-awareness, a man is facing difficulties in his relationship e.g. frequent argumentation with his wife on little things; feels like his relationship is not satisfactory anymore and decides to change things. For this purpose, the man starts monitoring himself and observes anger issues in himself so he decides to seek therapy for it. In therapy, the therapist helps him recognize his triggers, physical signs of anger, maladaptive thoughts, and management techniques. After consistent practice, the man finds improvement in himself. When his wife was interviewed she shared positive feedback regarding him.

To understand emotional intelligence, a girl is going through a tough time in her life, then using her emotional intelligence she notices signs of lethargy, lack of motivation, and fears in herself. She decides to do something about it so she tackles these issues one by one. For lethargy, she starts exercising and sleeps early to get up early in the morning. To deal with lack of motivation, she revisits her values, principles and listens to the lectures of her favorite speakers. To manage her fears, she confronts them head-on by taking small actions every day. Hence, the skill of emotional intelligence helped in resolving the internal obstacles.


Self-Awareness & EI at Work

An individual’s ability to be self-aware impacts their leadership skills at work. A person with a deep level of self-awareness can lead others better than the person who is not aware of their motivation, goals, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Moreover, a self-aware individual can make decisions that are valuable for the team and the company.

Moving on to emotional intelligence, it enables people to have tough discussions without emotional damage. Additionally, they have enhanced ability to manage stress in tough scenarios, can have deep conversations with people, develop a strong bond with their wife, kids, and other relatives, be a source of motivation for others and foster team spirit at the workplace.

Given all of this, it can be concluded that self-awareness is crucial for developing emotional intelligence and its importance cannot be denied in any area of life.

How EI is more important than IQ at the workplace

Daniel Goleman shared a Harvard School research that showed EQ was two times more important for success than IQ. Moreover, in a 2003 Harvard Business Review article, it was shown that the majority of successful people had emotional intelligence.

Importance of Self Awareness and Emotional Intelligence in Psychotherapy

In therapy, self-awareness and emotional intelligence are powerful tools to create solid, influential, and long-term change inside. Simply put, it is important to pay attention to one’s inner life. To benefit from therapeutic interventions, the clients must develop their self-awareness, or else the chances of relapse will be high. For example, addicts who go to a rehabilitation center (due to external pressures) for recovery and do not figure out their motivation for the treatment, have a higher chance of relapse as compared to those who put effort into developing self-awareness.

Let’s focus on the professional now. For any psychologist to give practical suggestions, they must work on their self-awareness first. This will also give them the ability to empathize with their clients (emotional intelligence).

“My hope was that organizations would start including this range of skills in their training programs – in other words, offering an adult education in social and emotional intelligence.”– Daniel Goleman

How to Improve EI and Self-Awareness

It is important to practice mindfulness by paying attention to one’s inner life, journaling, and practicing active listening. Furthermore, requesting feedback from a trusted individual for improvement, and establishing a self-care routine. All of this can upgrade a person’s self-awareness.
Likewise, it is imperative to engage in active listening with others, practice empathy with people, and create a habit of daily reflection at the end of the day (at least for 10-15 minutes) to boost emotional intelligence.

Final Words

In conclusion, self-awareness deepens through practice. It lays the foundation for emotional intelligence and it is not just about knowing one’s weaknesses but also strengths, goals, motivation, values, and principles. Likewise, emotional intelligence is needed for happiness, risk-taking, and getting out of the comfort zone.