Emotional awareness – or emotional intelligence – will not only connect you better to others but also to yourself.

The ability to be aware of the emotions of others can go a long way in creating better connections. Being able to empathize with another person is at the cornerstone of building real intimacy and connection. The better that you can understand emotional awareness, the better you will then be at understanding and helping others.

Emotional awareness is not just an outward trait but ultimately helps you to get a better understanding of yourself. This article will look at why emotional awareness is important and how to build it.

What Is Emotional Awareness?

We face many problems each day. Many of these problems are internal, and many are based on the relationships we have with others. Being an emotionally aware person allows us to confront the many problems with ourselves – and our relationships – with patience, insight, and imagination.

This is all about becoming more aware. More aware of your emotions, more aware of the emotions of others, and more aware of how to control all these emotions.

This awareness is also considered a form of intelligence. We usually associated intelligence with cognitive function and IQ, but intelligence is also connected to emotion. Intelligence or awareness gives us the ability to successfully navigate around certain challenges. In this case, it’s how you can navigate around various emotional situations.

Why Is Emotional Awareness Important?

Building your emotional awareness will have many positive effects on all aspects of your life. It allows you to lower your levels of social anxiety and makes public situations more bearable. You will develop a higher level of self-esteem – which has a great spillover effect on things like career and success.

Emotional awareness is also important to help control and lower levels of depression. And it creates better relationships with family, friends, and those you spend your time with.

Those with a lack of emotional intelligence find life to be extremely frustrating. They have no control over their feelings and actions, lash out at others, push people away, and feel constant anxiety. We can chalk up most broken relationships to a lack of emotional awareness and intelligence.

It helps to look at a lack of emotional intelligence the same way we would with cognitive intelligence. They both create profound repercussions, but with a lack of emotional intelligence; the effect can be much more long-lasting.

Benefits of Having Emotional Awareness

Those with a strong sense of emotional awareness can identify struggles and pain within other people. They can tap in and see that even though someone appears to be acting fine, deep down they are hurting. They have an intrinsic ability to identify what may cause a person to act a certain way.

Those with no emotional intelligence may easily dismiss an angry person, but the emotionally aware individual will see what may be causing this anger behind the scenes. They can identify sorrow that’s being masked by anger, humor, or denial.

It’s these types of people that make the best healers, teachers, leaders, and mentors. They draw others into them and make everyone around them better.

So, with this in mind, how can you build and develop your own emotional awareness? Let’s look at a few ways…

1. Examine Past Events

Look back on any past events that created certain emotions in you. They may have made you sad, jubilant, angry, frustrated, or hopeless. The important thing here is to look at why this event caused a specific emotional response. What or who caused this event? How was the event different than you expected? Could the consequences of the event have been avoided?

This is an important step for building emotional awareness as it helps you to learn what triggers specific emotions in you.

2. The Power of the Pause

Giving a short pause when speaking helps to give your brain a bit of a breather. Instead of just rambling on constantly, giving a brief pause gives you some space. This helps us to not instantly react, but dwell for a moment and consider the different options.

The idea is to create a pause in your own mind and thinking when confronted with an emotion. What usually happens is we experience a feeling and then want to react right away whether it be anger, sadness, or even a physical lashing out. When you focus on taking a pause after experiencing an emotion, you can better control your response.

The emotionally aware person doesn’t stop themselves from feeling an emotion but pauses to simply observe it. Observation is a strong thing and allows you to become better in tune with yourself and in better control of your feelings.

It’s important to remember that emotions change and they are in constant motion. When you learn to observe, and watch your feelings from the perspective of an outsider, the more you will improve your emotional awareness. This is why the pause is so powerful.

3.  Increase Your Vocabulary

If you’ve ever seen a frustrated child, you know that a big part of it is because they cannot articulate and verbalize what they are feeling. The same thing happens with those with low emotional awareness.

When you can increase your emotional vocabulary, you become better equipped to express yourself and your feelings. The average person’s emotional vocabulary revolves around simple things like mad, sad, happy, angry, etc.

Mad or angry is often a secondary result of things like frustration, disappointment, or even loss. Being unable to articulate how you truly feel does not create emotional awareness. Identifying a more special emotional vocabulary is an easy way to increase your emotional intelligence.

Here is a progression of a simple word that conveys an emotion but where it can be narrowed down to the true feeling:

  • sad –> despair –> powerless
  • happy –> proud –> confident

Start to include some of these words to better express yourself, and to help others in verbalizing how they feel:

  • frustrated
  • irritable
  • downtrodden
  • anxious
  • disillusioned
  • devastated
  • hesitant
  • fulfilled
  • hopeful

The more specific your word choice, the better you are at narrowing down how you truly feel. This is genuine emotional awareness.

Final Thoughts

Emotional awareness doesn’t happen overnight. To some people, it comes quite naturally, but others may have to work on it for a while. The main thing is there are some simple tips you can use to build it, and it can always grow and improve.

The better your emotional awareness is, the more emotional strength you can develop. This emotional strength will then allow you to help, inspire, and connect with others.

References:

  1. https://www.extension.harvard.edu
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com
  3. http://ei.yale.edu

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