The Emotional Brain

There’s no escaping our emotions. Whether we like it or not, we’re emotional creatures. Our instinctive reaction to any event is always emotional. We have no control over this part of our brains. We can, however, recognize and control the thoughts that follow an emotion, how we react, and what we say and do.

Your reactions are shaped by your personal history, which includes your experiences in similar situations and your personality style. When you develop your emotional intelligence, you’ll learn to spot your emotional triggers and practice productive responses to them.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others. This awareness greatly affects your ability to manage your behavior and relationships. It influences how you manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results.

There are a couple of popular definitions, but most experts agree that EI is composed of four core skills that are paired under two primary competencies: personal and social.

Emotional IntelligenceWhat I SeeWhat I Do
Personal CompetenceSelf-awarenessSelf-management
Social CompetenceSocial AwarenessRelationship Management


Personal competence includes self-awareness and self-management skills that focus on your interactions with other people.

  • Self-Awareness is your ability to perceive your emotions accurately and be aware of them as they happen.
  • Self-Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to be flexible and positively direct your behavior.

Social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives to improve the quality of your relationships.

  • Social Awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on other people’s emotions and understand what’s really going on.
  • Relationship Management is your ability to use awareness of others’ emotions and your own to manage interactions successfully.

While this is a comprehensive explanation of the key components of EI, it all boils down to how well you manage yourself and how well you manage your relationships with others.

We are often consciously unaware of any of this ourselves. Do you feel like you know what is going on in your head all of the time? Drop me a line and tell me what you think!