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Emotional Intelligence, or EI for short, is the ability to recognize and handle one’s emotions and the emotions of others. The term emotional intelligence first surfaced around the 1990s when psychologists coined the word to express the ‘subset of social intelligence… that guides one’s thinking and actions’. However, it wasn’t until 1995 when Dr. Daniel Goleman popularized the concept in his books that the expression truly reached society. As a young leader, I find myself having many aspects/skills of Emotional Intelligence which I will address later in the essay. Having Emotional Intelligence greatly improves my ability to contribute to my community and be a better citizen.  So, What exactly is emotional intelligence? EI refers to a combination of five skills including, empathy, self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, and motivation. People with higher degrees of EI know exactly what they’re feeling, what those feelings mean, and how it might affect others. Empathy is the ability to understand how others are feeling. Empathy is crucial to EI, it allows individuals to understand the power dynamics involved in social relationships. Self-awareness is the ability to perceive your emotions and stay ahead of them as they happen. Individuals who are self-aware typically have a good idea of the relationships between the things they feel and how they behave. Self-Regulation is the ability to use the awareness of one’s emotions to stay adaptable to any situation and stride for positive behavior. Both self-awareness and self-regulation can be grouped together under personal competence which is to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and habits. Social skills is, simply put, being able to interact well with others. Finally, Intrinsic motivation is behavior driven by internal reward and is a key factor in EI. Individuals who are emotional intelligent in this area tend to be more action-orientated.  One EI skill I think I have is being self-aware, which is made up of emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence. Basically, that’s a fancy way of saying knowing your personal strengths and weaknesses, and having a strong sense of self-worth. Being self-aware opens the door to knowing where I can improve my EI skills and how I can be a better leader. For one, I definitely need to improve my self-regulation because I don’t always use my awareness of emotions to stride for positive behavior most of the time. Another EI skill I have is social skills which means being able to interact and communicate with others. However, in EI, the meaning of having social skills is skills needed to handle and influence other people’s emotions. With EI, there is always room for improvement and I am constantly looking for new ways to branch out and improve my own EI. Emotional Intelligence helps individuals be a better citizen by allowing them to have a deeper understanding of themselves and of their community.

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