The word ‘intelligence’ is typically associated with how smart a person is, how much knowledge they have, and how well they do academically. We refer to this type of intelligence as IQ (intelligence quotient). In more recent years, there has been a development where Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is now also given importance. Daniel Goleman is a psychologist who developed a theory related to emotional intelligence (Goleman, 2007). His theory describes five components of emotional intelligence. 

These are as follows:

1. Self-awareness

This refers to the ability to understand and recognise one’s own emotions and thoughts. People who have developed a good sense of self-awareness are able to realise where their strengths lie and the areas in which they need to develop further. This includes the ability to reflect, to have insight, to be willing to work on oneself, and to understand that, as human beings, we are always a work in progress. Living a more meaningful life and being the best version of oneself can occur if a person is able to practise self-awareness.

2. Self-regulation

This is about being able to manage one’s own emotions, especially negative ones such as anger and sadness. It is okay to experience all emotions, including negative emotions; it is normal to do so, but being able to regulate oneself is very important. In those situations where one is frustrated, one cannot just lash out or become aggressive. Thus, self-regulation involves having coping strategies to stay in control of one’s emotions.

3. Motivation

Being motivated means having factors that drive you forward to achieve a goal. There is intrinsic motivation, which means being motivated by internal factors such as experiencing satisfaction from completing a task. Extrinsic motivation refers to rewards that come from the external environment, such as receiving a gift or monetary compensation. To be motivated, one needs to find purpose in what they are doing; this helps one feel fulfilled by achieving set goals.

4. Empathy

This refers to the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes. Being empathic requires certain skills, such as being able to have clear communication, being a good listener, setting boundaries, and offering support. To be empathic, one needs to be able to look at a situation from a different perspective and not be stuck in one’s own ways. When there is empathy in a relationship, it fuels connection.

5. Social skills

Having appropriate social skills does not mean you need to be a very outgoing person. Someone can be an introvert and still develop good social skills. This means that someone can interact and build healthy relationships with others, develop skills to handle conflict, communicate effectively, and be assertive.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on or call us on 79291817.

Reference Goleman, D. (2007). Emotional Intelligence (10th ed.). Bantam Books.