emotions intelligence

written by Dr L.Michael Hall

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

If I.Q. refers to intelligence generally, then it refers to your ability to think, reason, figure things out, solve problems, create solutions, etc. Given that, what does it mean when we put the word emotion in front of it and create this new idea of emotional intelligence? Peter Salovey and John Mayer define emotional intelligence in this way:

“The ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.”

They’re definition that we have four abilities within the subjective experience of emotional intelligence, namely, perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions. Here are some other common definitions.

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions, and to understand and respond to the emotions of others. It is a critical skill for success in all areas of life, including personal
relationships, work, and school.”

“Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. People with high emotional intelligence can recognize their own emotions and those of others, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, and adjust emotions to adapt to environments (Oxford Dictionary).

The phrase “emotional intelligence” first appeared in 1964 by Beldoch M, Davitz Jr. in The Communication of Emotional Meaning. But it did not gain popularity until the 1995 best selling book, Emotional Intelligence by science journalist Daniel Goleman. From that a number of authors developed the idea of Emotional Quotient and developed various ways by which to measure emotional intelligence. One of the first to use “emotional quotient” was Keith Beasley (1987). And yet, going back even further, Abraham Maslow introduced the concept of emotional strength in the 1950s in his work on self-actualization.

In 1983, Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences introduced the idea that traditional types of intelligence fail to fully explain cognitive abilities. He introduced the idea of multiple intelligences which included both interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people) and intra-personal intelligence (the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations).

It was Daniel Goleman who outlined five main emotional intelligence construct


This refers to the ability to know your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals and recognize their impact on others while using certain inner feelings to guide decisions. Awareness and understanding of emotions involves comprehending emotion language and appreciating relationships between emotions. This may involve being sensitive to slight variations between emotions. It may involve recognizing and describing how emotions evolve over time.


This refers to controlling or redirecting disruptive emotions and impulses as well as adapting to changing circumstances. By regulating your emotions, you can then use them to facilitate such cognitive activities as thinking and problem-solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing
moods in order to best fit the task at hand. In regulating emotions, you develop the ability to them turn up or down, to amplify or dampen them.

Social skill.

This refers to using your emotions as you manage your relationships for getting along with others. By regulating your emotions, you can more effectively relate to others and to their emotions.
The emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.


This refers to considering other people’s feelings especially when connecting to people, when making decisions, when seeking to understand another person, etc.


This refers to using your emotions to value, to identify what’s important, to feel moved, to feel motivated, etc.

What then is emotional intelligence?

It is recognizing, understanding, and managing your emotions in an intelligent way. In a word that means that you have your emotions rather than your emotions having (and controlling) you.
It means that you know how you produce your emotions, the numerous contributing factors, and how to regulate them so that you are self-determining. Obviously, emotional intelligence is critical for your health and well-being, for your inner peace and joy and love, and for your relationships.

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