Mastering Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – Healthy Emotional Self-Awareness

Emotional Intelligence is the loving facilitator for "how" we do "what" we do.

Through coaching and training thousands of people around the world over the past twenty years, I have gained a deeper understanding of how to effectively engage your emotional intelligence for personal and leadership development. 

As part of my series on mastering emotional intelligence, in this article I am concluding the theme of self-perception which includes the emotional and social competencies of self-regard, self-actualization and emotional self-awareness.

In this article I am continuing to share some of my insights while specifically referencing the 15 skills and competencies of the EQ-i 2.0 model of emotional intelligence.

Emotional Self-Awareness

Emotional self-awareness involves a process of not only recognizing and understanding your emotions but also an allowance to fully feel your emotions. The opposite of allowance is resistance. This includes recognizing when you resist the experience of fully feeling your emotions by repressing, suppressing or externally projecting them onto people, places and things. 

There are two key emotional states: love and fear. All other emotions are simply aspects or dimensions of these two key states. The differences between these two states can be profound or subtle or any other degree in between.  One way to begin to tell the difference is that love tends to be a lighter and more expansive feeling whereas fear tends to be a heavier and more contractive feeling. 

Why is emotional self-awareness so important to your overall well-being and your personal definition of success? Because all of your behaviors and choices have consequences and lead to different outcomes in your life. And behind every behavior and choice is an emotional drive of love or fear. It’s that simple. 

So, this process raises a key question which is an essential part of effectively engaging your emotional self-awareness. Is my behavior right now being influenced by love or fear? 

With the development of healthy emotional self-awareness, you learn to be fully present with what you are feeling and experiencing – without repression, suppression or projection – so that you can move to and fully benefit from the next key stage. 

And what is the next key stage? Recognizing that behind every emotional reaction or response is a deeper and sometimes unconscious habit, coping mechanism or belief system. 

My greatest mentor taught me: “Kelley, you are never upset for the reason you first think you are. The true origin of your dis-ease is behind your emotions and your emotional reactions are simply providing you a doorway for deeper discovery. So, when you are fully present with your emotions and experience without judgment or recoil you can discover the real truth and learn how to make more empowering choices in your life.” 

My clients who have mastered their emotional self-awareness are able to access deep and often hidden or unconscious habits, coping mechanisms and belief systems.  Through this process they more objectively determine what are healthy and unhealthy orientations and are clearer on what they desire to continue to nurture and grow and what they desire to unlearn and let go of because they realize it is no longer serving them. Similar to the other competencies I have explored in the Self-Perception theme they share an inevitable outcome: living a happier and more loving, focused and productive life. 

Curious to learn more? If you are interested in some of the proven research on the benefits of healthy EQ engagement and development, please visit