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What Is Emotional Intelligence and 4 Tips to Develop It.

Prerna is a thinker, observer, reader & writer. She is always curious to learn. She is a strong believer in human potential.


The first article of this two-part series (How to test your emotional maturity?) explained what is emotional maturity and how to test it?

When talking about managing emotions we cannot move ahead without discussing emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is very important and is critical for success in both personal and professional life.

Emotional intelligence has also become the most sought-after skill in the workplace. Employers are increasingly looking for people who can work well under pressure, who are good team-player and who can communicate effectively in a culturally diverse environment.

It is also important to note that emotional intelligence revolves around empathy, the ability to understand and manage your emotions. Thus, natural empaths find it much easier to develop emotional intelligence.

By managing emotions means first you have to understand what triggers that particular emotion, and with that not responding to the trigger until you fully understand what are you feeling and why. This way you can manage your emotions and thus any situation you find yourself in.

Emotional intelligence gives you the edge over others. It doesn’t mean you are only able to resolve a conflict before it gets out of hand but because now you can recognize and avoid situations that may lead to a conflict.

Now that you must have understood how emotional intelligence is important and I am hoping you have tested your emotional maturity and understood where do you stand. So, let’s get into the detail of emotional intelligence and the difference between emotional maturity and emotional intelligence.


What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is about self-awareness, relationship management, and self-management. It is the ability to understand, control, and express one’s own emotions. It is an ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others.

Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer (1990) have defined emotional intelligence as, “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions”.

This definition explains that emotional intelligence is a subclass of social intelligence. That means it helps us to identify our and others emotions thus making us capable to use them in our behavior.

Managing emotions is a key part of emotional intelligence. Thus, emotions should be perceived accurately, reasoned correctly, managed, and understood properly.

It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart overhead–it is the unique intersection of both.

— David Caruso

What is emotional maturity?

Emotional maturity is the ability to respond to situations positively by controlling emotions and behaving rationally. It has nothing to do with age. Also, it is not controlling one’s emotions but controlling one’s behavior.

Do not misunderstand emotional maturity as burying your emotions rather it trains you to let out the emotions in an effective means. Thus, it makes you competent to show your positive and negative emotions in your behavior. Emotional maturity lies in your thoughts and behavior. It makes you flexible, adaptive, and responsible.

Anyone can be angry–that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way–that is not easy.

— Aristotle

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To develop emotional intelligence you have to start paying attention to your and others' emotions.

Here are four tips from James W. Williams on how to develop emotional intelligence:

1. Get to know yourself

By getting to know yourself means try to understand why you feel a certain way and what triggered such emotions. This way you will know the triggers thus, you can avoid certain situations or if it is avoidable you can find a way to deal with them.

Understanding triggers will deepen your self-awareness as it will help you learn how certain people, situations, or emotions make you feel and why. Thus, it can prepare you to behave properly even in the worst scenarios.

Therefore, you must never ignore your emotions, even negative ones. Instead, try to identify them and deal with them.


2. Try to understand others

Well, it’s quite hard when life has become very competitive and complicated. But trying to understand somebody else’s motives and emotions can develop empathy and compassion toward others.

3. Think before you speak

We discussed this in the previous article too. Once you identify what triggered your emotions, take some time to understand them and process them before responding. If you are overwhelmed with emotions, it is helpful to ask yourself why you feel the way you do. When you have a clear image of what made you feel that way, it becomes easier to decide what’s next.

4. Learn about the importance of self-management

When you learn how to identify, control, and express emotions, you will know how to use them effectively under any circumstances.

Many people underestimate the importance of expressing their emotions maturely. That means if ignoring and repressing emotions is bad for your health, so overreacting is. Expressing emotions without any consideration for how they may affect others is also unhealthy.

Therefore, keep reminding yourself that if held back emotions create tension internally and externally then emotions expressed in a rush, without thinking is like shooting without aiming.



Emotional intelligence and emotional maturity are two different aspects of human psychology. An emotionally intelligent individual is not necessarily emotionally mature. However, to be emotionally mature one must be emotionally intelligent. The former is understanding of emotions and the latter is the application of that knowledge.

To have emotional maturity one must first have emotional intelligence. Once this foundation is laid there is endless room for growth.

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Reference: Emotional Intelligence: Why it is crucial for success in life and business by James W. Williams.

© 2021 Prerna Dhulekar

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