Emotional Intelligence: What it is and How to use it

In general, throughout our lives, we tend to handle a single concept of intelligence. From a young age, we can see that in class there’s always those who solve the task faster than the others. It was thought that those with an ability for math and science were considered smarter”, but there is another type of intelligence that is far from the logical-rational and that
relationship with others can be much more important, this would be emotional Intelligence.
It may be a term that you have never heard of or that may sound familiar, but it’s not very clear about what it means exactly. People started hearing about it in 1995 when the therapist and journalist, Daniel Goleman, published a book with this name that would become a world bestseller. To this day, it is still recommended in many lists of books on psychology.
According to Goleman, we all have our rational mind, the one that thinks in a practical and analytical way, but we also have our emotional mind. This one takes care of our feelings that arise impulsively as an automatic response to certain stimuli or situation and are the legacy of
hundreds of years of evolution.
In an ideal situation, the rational and emotional mind work in harmony and balance ourselves, by allowing us to make the best decisions after contrasting options and recognizing what it is that they make us feel. The problem arises when we rely only on one of them. In this way, if we only operate from our rational mind, we can make decisions with little empathy towards others
and even ourselves. On the other hand, if we just let ourselves be carried away by our emotional mind, we can fall into irrational outbursts such as insulting someone or even resorting to physical violence.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is an innate or acquired quality that allows us to face with cunning,
creativity and patience the problems that may arise with other people or with ourselves.
Goleman proposes five fundamental pillars that makeup Emotional Intelligence:

Understand our emotions

Learn to recognize and identify what I am feeling, what generated this feeling and, if possible,
understand why I feel this way. Many times our emotional reactions are rooted in childhood trauma. Something in the current situation may trigger those emotional responses. What we feel has not so much to do with what is happening at that particular moment around us, but in
what this awakens in us.

Manage our emotions

It is about identifying when a certain emotion is emerging and being able to control it and not
for that emotion to control us.


This is usually one of the points that generate more difficulty. It's about moving on when
things aren't going quite right for us, keeping our mind straight and focus on the goal and not
be distracted by perks of the moment.


Empathy is one of the fundamental tools to harvest harmonious relationships. It is about the
ability to recognize the emotions in others and therefore, being able to put yourself in their

Manage your relationships

Make sure you are surrounded by people who add good and positive things to your life. Be
clear about what each link brings you. In this way, when you have a fight with your friend, you
will react more calmly because you know that having him or her in your life, allows you to grow
and be a better person.
Emotional Intelligence allows you to decode the meaning behind someone else’s actions. Just as a mother can differentiate the cry of her baby when is hungry from the cry rather than when he is sleepy.
Someone with this type of intelligence might realize that someone speaking to you very angry may actually be asking for help. Like when you were a kid and at home, your mom would get mad because you didn’t wash the dishes or tidy up your room. Or also to realize that a person
who feels the need to be showing and demonstrating how perfect her life is, actually hides a lot of sadness. This is a typical case of what happens on social networks.

Emotional Intelligence can also help us unmask ourselves by teaching us to be skeptical and
question our first impulses and give us a chance to realize what it is that we really feel.
There are three key emotions that we must learn to control: anger, fear, and sadness. It is not
about repressing them, but about living with them in a healthy way and cultivating them to use
them as a strength that allows that when these emotions arise they do not collapse us. Because if we don’t learn to cope, these can turn into their worst versions: anger, panic, and depression, respectively. If you feel that you cannot handle any of these emotions or would like help to
manage them better, you can go to a therapist to help you identify what generates them and how to deal with them in the best way.

On the other hand, there are two emotions that we must cultivate: optimism and hope. These two guide us to see life and allow us to hold our heads high despite the tide. It is not about being naive and seeing the world as rosy. But to understand that everything in life has its
positive side and its negative side. Each failure contains a lesson.
As mentioned before, Emotional Intelligence can be acquired, which means that it is something
that can be learned and incorporated into our day today. Two of the attitudes that you can
begin to carry out today to be a more emotionally intelligent person are:
Share your feelings clearly:
Sometimes we feel things so intensely that we think it is obvious to everyone, but others are
not fortune tellers and cannot read our minds. Whether to say I love you or you hurt me, it is
very important to verbalize what happens to us. In addition, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable
strengthens our relationships and invites others to also show themselves as they are. This way
you will have closer and stronger relationships.

Take charge:
You will generate a radical change in your life when you take responsibility for your own
feelings. Both your emotions and the way you respond to others depend exclusively on
yourself. Stop blaming others, your life is yours alone.
These two attitudes will have a great impact on how you relate and surely the people closest to
you will be grateful to you. Because having Emotional Intelligence is directly related to being
emotionally responsible and this can only be achieved by being honest and consistent.
In an ideal world, Emotional Intelligence would be part of the educational system but until that
happens, the only way to it has to expand is through culture. We consume it through series and
movies, songs, or even articles like this. So if you think that someone could benefit from this
concept, I invite you to share this note on your social networks so that more people can incorporate it. Because we all deserve to live in a more empathetic society because we all deserve to live in a better society.

Valentina Carbajal Journalist and content creator

Journalist, communication and content creator, there is nothing that I love more than writing. I love being able to explore different themes and empathize through my writing.