Monday, May 2, 2022

Emotional Awareness and Empathetic Accuracy

Emotional awareness is the state of being fully aware of one’s emotions at any given time. It is the skill of realizing anger when it occurs without flying into a blind rage. It is the ability to take that anger and turn it around into compassion for the other person and his/her situation.  Emotional awareness allows us to look at a situation fully and have empathy for others. Empathy is defined as the ability to understand the emotions of others at a given time or event.

Why is it Important?

One of the traits of emotional intelligence is emotional awareness. Possessing this awareness allows us to stay in control during crisis and conflict, allows us to have increased social skills and the ability to build rapport with others, and to have empathy for other people.  People with these skills are more positive, less stressed and more successful in life.  Being able to control one’s emotions is a coveted trait that not all people possess.

Being empathetic of others is also a sought-after trait.  Just feeling sorry for another person is not important. Understanding the emotions and feelings of another person and appreciating their position is important in communication and relationships.


Cognitive refers to our thought processes. This ability is key in identifying our emotions and understanding these emotions and when they are triggered.  Consciously identifying the triggers that cause our emotions enables us to change our reactions and become more in control of ourselves.  This in turn allows us to communicate better with others.

Cognitive thought also aids in our empathy skills. Our thought processes allow identifying others’ emotions and being able to connect with them through shared emotions is the definition of empathy. One needs cognitive skills to accurately identify these emotions in others also.


Emotional awareness involves identifying the emotions and truly understanding them. This involves the triggers and the ways to change those emotions and reactions.  This awareness is key to building rapport, empathy, motivation, and many other positive social skills that many employers value in an employee.  It also improves day-to-day life and the relationships outside of the workplace.

The only way to achieve empathy for another person is to first understand our own emotions and feelings. Only then can we truly understand the other person and their situation or issue.


Being compassionate means having a genuine concern for others and their wellbeing.  Being empathetic to others’ feelings and emotions is part of being compassionate.  It takes self-awareness of one’s own emotions to be able to recognize and fully understand another person’s emotions.  There are many occupations that require compassion and these people have high levels of emotional awareness and empathy for others. 

Emotional awareness is needed for compassion because one needs to be able to identify and control their own emotions before relating to other’s feelings.  Once that is accomplished, compassion comes naturally due to the ability to feel the sadness or pain of another.

Until next time ...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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