Emotional Intelligence: Self-Awareness

Every human reacts to emotions. Recognizing and handling those emotions are your responsibility.

In emotional intelligence, self-awareness is the cognitive characteristic that allows you to learn and recognize your emotions accurately and precisely. Self-awareness is not about what you wish your emotions would or could be, or what you might think your emotions are, nor is trying to convince yourself that your emotions are not what they really are. Emotional self-awareness is being honest with yourself. Recognize what your emotions are and where those emotions come from. To learn self-awareness, you must be entirely and wholeheartedly straightforward with your emotions when recognizing and understanding them. Keep in mind that awareness is linked to your perception and experiences. Self-awareness is an accurate reportability of your emotions as you perceive and learn them. Self-awareness will help you become aware of your emotions even when you are not explicitly conscious of them, which means that it can help you not to be blind-sighted by your own emotions.

Self-awareness has three parts—recognition, understanding, and usability.

Self-awareness teaches you to recognize your emotions and the thoughts, actions, and organic reactions attached to those emotions. It involves your ability to recognize between passive, subtleties, reactive, conscious, unconscious, and many other ways of emotional expression. Over time, recognizing your emotions gives you a sense of familiarity associated with the neurological stimulus, to the point that you learn to associate specific emotions to specific or similar situations. For the most part, emotions can be triggered by the similar and situations alike. The recognition of those emotions is deeply influenced by your perception and experiences and your ability to deconstruct them into a set of simpler elements within the cognitive structure connecting them. Knowing why you feel the way you feel and what makes you feel the way you do is extremely important for your emotional stability.

Recognition of your emotions pertains to a genuine and truthful declarative knowledge of what you are experiencing: sadness, happiness, disappointment, joy, angriness, etc. It is also perfectly normal to experience a mixture of emotions pulling your brain all over the place. That is why it is essential to learn your emotions, as they are born within your cognitive system, and call them by their naked name. Your personal way of emotional recognition becomes the core process-driven of learning to recognize your automatic responses to specific stimuli, leading you to the second part of self-awareness: understanding.

Understanding is closely linked to familiarity. It is a slower, deliberative process of recollection that involves multiple episodic components, including denial and acceptance. You may recognize your emotions and self-deny what they are and what they mean to you. You will also recognize your emotions as they present themselves from similar repetitive situations and stimuli. As time goes and you become more familiar with your emotional responses, systematically, you will become more aware of those emotions, hence, more understanding of what they mean to you.

An essential fact of emotional self-awareness is that you have to be honest with yourself. Recognizing your “naked” emotions is the foundation, the platform for understanding what they are, where they come from, and what they mean to you. Understanding is the process of gaining insight about yourself, comprehending the meaning or significance of your emotions. It is how you separate and pull apart the connections between you, who you are, your emotions, and the actions linked to those emotions.

Each action triggers a different emotional response. Understanding what those emotions mean helps you assess the impact those emotions have on you and other people. It is that understanding that helps you learn your weaknesses and strengths related to specific emotions. Some emotions make you stronger, and others make you weaker. Learning the nuances of your emotions gives you control over your actions, giving you a sense of confidence that is sometimes difficult to obtain.

This brings me to the third part of learning self-awareness. When you learn how to recognize and understand your emotions, you learn how to use that inside information to make better decisions and better choices to guide your actions.

You should never ever make any decisions while on the high pick of any emotion, regardless of the type of emotion you might be experiencing. I am sure you already know this, but if you are like me, I also know that, for the most part, you chose to ignore those red flags. The next thing you’ll know is regret taking over your mind and body.

The good thing is that when you learn to recognize your emotions, and you have a better understanding of why those emotions are there, you can then use that information to make decisions, solve problems, resolve conflictive situations, make you feel better, and even give you the information you need to make your next move. Remember, information is power. When you are aware of your emotions, you are in power and control of yourself and who you are. You will not let anyone control your emotions. You become a whole self without emotional dependency, blocking anyone who wants to use their own emotions to control yours. Emotions can be contagious. Yet, when your self-awareness is at its high peak, you learn how to deal and create balance with your and other’s emotions, which in return, will give you the strength and confidence you need to succeed.

Never forget that everything you do involves a type of emotion. Even when you think of yourself as “emotionless,” it is a type of emotion. That is why learning emotional intelligence puts you on top of your game. Here are some of the benefits of becoming self-aware of your own emotions:

  • You’ll have a better understanding of your and other’s emotional discharges.
  • Understanding of what triggers your emotions, depending on which type of emotion.
  • Learn to name the different types of emotions and the effect each has on you.
  • Better problem-solving skills.
  • A better understanding of your emotional strengths and weaknesses.
  • Better communication skills.
  • A better understanding of other people’s needs, behavior, actions, and reactions.
  • A better understanding of the effect that emotions have on others.
  • A better appreciation of yourself and your self-worth.
  • The ability to put yourself in others’ shoes.
  • Learn how to recognize your own emotional mistakes and when to apologize.
  • Learn to be less judgmental about your and others’ emotions.
  • You will get more comfortable with your emotional self and the emotions of others.
  • Learn never to make a decision when overcome by emotions, regardless of the type of emotions.
  • Learn to take responsibility for your emotional actions.
  • Emotional independence.

Dr. Iberkis Faltas

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