How to Increase Your Emotional Intelligence

CPTSD Foundation
6 min readSep 19, 2022


All people always need to change their self-awareness to compensate for what they encounter in their lives regularly. One way to accomplish this is to raise your emotional intelligence.

This article will again discuss emotional intelligence and outline how you can increase yours.

What Does Emotional Intelligence Look Like?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to find your way through our sometimes muddy emotions. Possessing emotional intelligence enables you to harness your emotions to have positive results when dealing with others and yourself.

Emotional intelligence will empower you to live a more balanced and empowered life. Here are six ways to tell if you are emotionally intelligent.

You welcome change. Change is hard for all of us but might be exceptionally so if you are a survivor living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotionally intelligent people know deep down that change is an inevitable part of life and understand that their first reaction to change may be to resist it. Emotionally intelligent people don’t fear change because they have a sense of self that does not wiggle out of the groove, staying constant in any circumstance.

If you actively pursue opportunities to grow, you are emotionally intelligent.

You show empathy to other people. When you are connected to your emotions, you can relate to those of others. Emotionally intelligent people read others and observe social and emotional cues. People with emotional intelligence can see past what is said to know what someone might be experiencing.

If you can picture someone else’s emotions walking in their shoes for a while you are emotionally intelligent.

You understand yourself at a deep level. Emotionally intelligent people recognize their strengths and weaknesses and are in tune with their emotions. You can identify triggering situations and take preventative measures to avoid or overcome them.

If you can see yourself through the lens of reality, you are emotionally intelligent.

You allow yourself not to be perfect. Here is a little fact that is critical for you to understand, you will never be perfect, so stop striving for it. Instead, accept yourself for who you are and continue to grow instead of seeing yourself as an imperfect and unfinished person. Knowing you can continue down the road less taken to emotional health but not expect to reach an unattainable goal of perfection is vital.

If you embrace your flaws and imperfection, you are emotionally intelligent.

You live a balanced life. Emotionally intelligent people seek balance in their lives. They understand that focusing on only one aspect of their lives leads to neglect of the other parts of who they are. You are not just a victim or a person living with a mental health challenge; you are a vital part of humanity and need to end focusing only on recovery. Go out and enjoy your life despite therapy and your past.

If you can visualize not being a forever victim but seeing yourself as an overcomer, you are emotionally intelligent.

You are grateful for what you possess. If you are emotionally intelligent, you don’t obsess over what you have or don’t have. Emotional intelligence means you are grateful and take time to appreciate the good things you have in your life. Emotional intelligence also means you are not focusing on the next big event in your life, but consider yourself fortunate. This will keep you grounded.

If you are living a life of gratitude, you are emotionally intelligent.

Barriers to Emotional Intelligence

Barriers to becoming emotionally intelligent are lacking emotional awareness and control. By understanding your inner emotions, you can communicate better and respond well to different situations and people.

Working on your awareness of your emotions can be a painful thing to do, but if you want to be more self-aware, it is vital to do so. Emotions are neither good nor bad; they simply are and cannot harm others or you unless you ignore or suppress them.

If you ignore them, they will find a way to be expressed, and it may not be in an appropriate place or time. Suppressing emotions makes them less controllable, so it is better to express them safely.

The most significant barrier to emotional intelligence is having a mental block that influences how you perceive the actions of others. An emotional barrier triggers an emotional response that’s inappropriate to the situation.

Increasing and Testing Your Emotional Intelligence

Some steps are available that you can take to increase your emotional IQ as answers on how to change the way you think and behave.

Raising your self-awareness is crucial to changing your life. It would be best if you always tried to acknowledge how you feel so you can understand how your emotions and actions affect the surrounding people. To do so, you can keep a journal and slow down to examine why you feel the way you do.

Increasing your self-regulation is critical to knowing your values and where you will not compromise. Hold yourself accountable and stop blaming others for how you feel. Commit to admitting your mistakes and facing the consequences when they come. Practice remaining calm the next time you are in a challenging situation.

Learn to recognize and celebrate your emotional intelligence. Not gloating but acknowledging how far you have come and that you have stopped struggling and begun to enjoy all you can get in life instead.

Make sure to expose yourself to a diverse range of other people’s perspectives. You will encounter many different opinions, so exposing yourself to them and acknowledging that everyone has different ones will open your mind to worlds beyond your own.

Leave your comfort zone and overcome your fear of change by experimenting with many new activities. Practice following your curiosity and choose not to allow your fear to get in your way.

The Disadvantages of Emotional Intelligence

While there are many advantages to emotional intelligence, there are three disadvantages.

One, you will become more aware of the suffering around you. What I mean by that is that because you empathize more with people, you will find yourself emotionally walking in their shoes, which can be painful.

Two, since emotional intelligence involves self-discovery, that too might be painful as it forces you to take a head-on approach to your flaws. The advantage of knowing who you are and what you stand for overcomes the pain you might feel when taking a long hard look at yourself.

Three, accepting change as inevitable takes guts and work. You may not want to change or accept the change that is happening in your life. Accepting change can also be painful, but the rewards are worth it.

Although emotional intelligence has a few disadvantages, the pros far outweigh the cons.

Ending Our Time Together

Becoming emotionally intelligent is one of the best things you can do on your healing journey. You must gain control over yourself and your emotions so that you can move forward and make a better life for yourself.

Accepting change for what it is, a part of life that will always be there, can help you grow in emotional intelligence and make it easier when that change is major.

“Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.” — J. Freedman

“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character and we must learn that the setbacks and griefs which we endure help us out in marching onward.” — Henry Ford

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CPTSD Foundation

Successfully equipping complex trauma survivors and practitioners with compassionate support, skills, and trauma-informed education since 2014.