As the title suggests, October is the month in the United States when American citizens are challenged to consider their mental health. It is not a month to point fingers or experience self-loathing over seeming loss of control but rather to celebrate humanity’s ability to gain and keep control of themselves.

This article will focus on what emotional intelligence and locus of control are and how they affect one’s emotional awareness.

Emotional Awareness

The term emotional awareness refers to the ability to recognize and understand your own emotions and others’ emotions. Increased levels of emotional awareness mean you learn from your emotions quickly by reflecting on why you are feeling them and decide to what action you will take.

Emotional awareness also means you can detect and understand how other people feel so you can also choose appropriate actions on your part. For example, someone you encounter is feeling sad, and you decide to speak with them to empathize with what they are going through as a form of support.

Emotional awareness is a huge part of emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence, often referred to as emotional quotient, is when you identify and manage your and someone else’s emotions. In a paper authored by Salovey & Mayer, they define emotional intelligence as the following:

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” ~ Mayor & Salovey, 1997

Emotional intelligence is said to include at least three skills:

  • Emotional awareness
  • The ability to identify and name emotions
  • The ability to harness your emotions and apply them to responsibilities such as problem-solving and thinking things through

With a high emotional quotient, one can get along better with others, even when faced with adversarial behavior from the other person. With a high level of emotional intelligence, you can be confident in your interactions and how you choose your reactions to them.

Dr. Daniel Goleman and Emotional Intelligence

A fundamental dispute over the validity of emotional intelligence centers around the precise definition of what it involves. The debate is centered on a hypothesis by Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, and best-selling author.

However, in Dr. Goleman’s hypothesis, there are five components of emotional intelligence.

Self-Awareness. This is the ability to understand and recognize your moods, emotions, and drives and how they affect others. A list of qualities of self-awareness are:

  • Self-confidence
  • Realistic self-assessment
  • A modest sense of humor

Self-awareness is dependent upon the ability of a person to monitor their emotional state and correctly identify and name their emotions.

Self-Regulation. The ability to redirect or control disruptive emotional impulses and moods. Self-regulation also involves having the ability to set aside judgment and to think before acting. A list of the qualities of self-regulation may include:

  • Integrity
  • Comfort with the ability to be strong in the face of change
  • Trustworthiness

Regulating our responses to change and fitting with others’ mood is vital to forming and continuing long-term relationships.

Empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of other people and includes skills to treat people according to how they react to their own emotions.

The hallmarks of empathy include:

  • Cross-cultural sensitivity
  • Service to others
  • Expertise in building and retaining friendships

Interestingly, empathy does not always mean compassion for others. Empathy can also be a tool for cruel behavior, as well. Criminals may have empathy for their victims.

Social Skills. The ability to manage relationships and to build a social network. Social skills may also include the ability to find common ground with someone else and build rapport.

Some social skills may include:

  • Effectiveness in leading change
  • Expertise in leading and building teams
  • Persuasiveness

People who have good social skills are often in leadership positions because they have a talent for propelling others to positive action.

Internal Motivation. The passion for people to work in their lives for reasons beyond fortune and fame and instead is interested in receiving internal rewards. Someone’s inner vision includes what is essential to them in life, the joy of doing something, and the curiosity to learn things. Some of the qualities you might find with internal motivation are:

  • A tendency to pursue goals with persistence
  • A strong drive to achieve
  • Optimism even in the face of defeat
  • Organizational commitment

Those with internal motivation aren’t swayed by what is going on around them for their awareness of who they are and instead look inward for their control locus.

While the debate over Dr. Goleman’s hypothesis rage on and his approach considered pop psychology by some practitioners, research carries on disproving or proving its validity.

Internal Versus External Locus of Control

Locus of control refers to a concept of how strongly people believe they have control over situations and experiences in their lives. There are two forms of locus of control internal and external.

An internal locus of control means that you believe you can control the things and events that affect your life. You do not depend upon others’ moods or actions to define your self-worth and have a strong opinion of who you are as a person. If something bad happens to you, say you get a speeding ticket, you do not blame the policeman for your mistake but accept responsibility for your mistake, pay the fine, and move on.

An external locus of control means you believe that your life is strongly affected by others’ thoughts, feelings, and actions. With an external locus of control, you depend on outside forces to make you happy. These external forces can be anything, such as friends, relatives, and work that you look to have your needs met.

Having an internal locus of control is empowering, allowing for mistakes, yet remaining focused on yourself as the actor.

Having an external locus of control can be tragic because you are always blaming the circumstances and people around you for what happens to you. There is no power or satisfaction in an external locus of control.

It is vital to keep a correct vision of what happens to you in life. Doing so is practicing emotional awareness.


“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.” ~ Steve Maraboli

“It’s not that you should never love something so much that it can control you.
It’s that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.
It’s not a weakness.
It’s your best strength.” ~ Patrick Ness
― Patrick Ness


Prakash, O., Sharma, N., Singh, A. R., Sengar, K. S., Chaudhury, S., & Ranjan, J. K. (2015). Personality disorder, emotional intelligence, and locus of control of patients with alcohol dependence. Industrial psychiatry journal, 24(1), 40.

Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, cognition, and personality, 9(3), 185-211.

If you a survivor or someone who loves a survivor and cannot find a therapist who treats complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please, contact CPTSD Foundation. We have a staff of volunteers who have been compiling a list of providers who treat CPTSD. They would be happy to give you more ideas about where to look for and find a therapist to help you.

Are you a therapist who treats CPTSD? Please, consider dropping us a line to add you to our growing list of providers. You would get aid in finding clients, and you would be helping someone find the peace they deserve.

Shortly, CPTSD Foundation will have compiled a long list of providers who treat complex post-traumatic stress disorder. When it becomes available, we will be putting it on our website

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If you or a loved one live in the despair and isolation that comes with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, please, come to us for help. CPTSD Foundation offers a wide range of services, including:

Today, CPTSD Foundation would like to invite you to our healing book club, reading a new book that began in September. The title of the latest featured book is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.

Led by Sabra Cain, the healing book club is only $7 per month, the fee going towards scholarships for those who cannot afford access to materials offered by CPTSD Foundation.

Should you decide to join the Healing Book Club, please purchase your books through our Amazon link to help us help you.

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