How do you develop character – or encourage others to develop emotional intelligence? You can start by practicing emotional self- awareness or encouraging others to be self-aware of their emotions.
Self-awareness is essential in educating the emotions and building character. In addition, individuals who have character are able to harness their emotions productively and are able to read the emotions of others. To develop character, practice the following techniques.
Recognize and name emotions
To build character, start by building a vocabulary for feelings, so that when an emotion is experienced, you’re able to label that emotion appropriately. For example, when you’re passed over for a promotion, are you just angry? Chances are you’re more than angry – also frustrated and hurt. Learn to recognize and identify these emotions and feelings.
Understand the causes of feelings
To understand what causes feelings, you have to dedicate yourself to observing your own behavior and recognizing the feelings that various situations evoke. For example, when someone treats you with indifference, do you give up or do you try harder to get that person to notice you? Again, self-awareness is the key.
Recognize the difference between feelings and actions
There’s a big difference between thought and action. To become more emotionally self-aware, you must understand the relationship between your thoughts and your reactions. When you examine your actions, pay attention to whether you are ruled by your thoughts or feelings.
Learn to harness your emotions
To harness your emotions, you can monitor self-talk to catch any internal negative messages you may be sending to yourself. You may also want to send yourself positive messages by using self-talk. For example, you could say, “I will work on recognizing my own reactions to what people say and do.”
Learn to read the emotions in others
To learn to read the emotions in others, practice taking another person’s perspective, and strive to appreciate the differences in how people feel about things. Also, work on listening effectively, and ask a lot of questions to help you understand how and why others feel the way the do.
To develop character, you have to practice a number of skills until they become a part of you. Practice emotional self- awareness, and learn how to harness your emotions and read emotions in others. By building these character-related skills, you can take a significant step on the road to self-improvement and better emotional intelligence.