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Emotional Intelligence vs Emotional Maturity – Is It the Same?

And if not, then which one holds the key to personal growth and professional success?

By:
Guillem Casòliva Cabana, PhD
|
Reviewed by:
Alexander Tokarev, PhD
Emotional Intelligence vs Emotional Maturity – PSYCULATOR
Arun Prakash | unsplash.com

Key points

  • Emotional Intelligence is one of the most sought-after interpersonal skills at the workplace
  • 71 percent of employers prioritize Emotional Intelligence over technical skills when evaluating candidates
  • Emotional Maturity plateaus at old age but decline is likely if mental illness is present

Understanding Emotional Maturity & Emotional Intelligence

In the pursuit of personal development or growth, you may come across two crucial themes: Emotional Maturity vs Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional maturity refers to overall emotional development and stability, while emotional intelligence involves the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one's own emotions and the emotions of others.

These connected concepts carry distinct meanings and can affect your outlook on life in various ways. Learning these concepts can help achieve better self-understanding, enhance social interactions, and contribute to improved emotional stability, ultimately fostering happiness and creating a joyful atmosphere for all those involved.

Emotional Maturity

Emotional maturity refers to the degree of our emotional development as individuals[1]. It is experience-based and it involves gaining profound insights into our feelings and their triggers. Emotional maturity also entails responding in a positive manner rather than reacting negatively, and ensuring that people feel acknowledged and understood.

Another important aspect of emotional maturity is taking responsibility and personal accountability for our mistakes and handling their consequences, especially in challenging circumstances.

Emotional mature people are disciplined and have the ability to delay gratification for a more suitable or appropriate time.

Kessler’s research shows that Emotional Maturity develops throughout our lifespan, and tends to reach stable levels in older ages, with occasional decline in older people, if they are affected by illness or reduction in mental functioning.

Examples of Things Emotionally Immature People Say

When trying to better understand what Emotional Maturity is, it is often helpful to consider the opposite part of the spectrum – what emotionally immature people do to others. Examples of their tactics, emotional states, and the corresponding statements may include:

  • Accusatory Tone: "Why do you always have to be so dramatic?" and "You truly lack an understanding of the real world."
  • Blame Shifting: "It's your fault I'm behaving this way" and "You're too sensitive."
  • Aggressing: "You're so stupid!" or any other insult
  • Victimization: "I guess I'm just a terrible person. Why would you want to be my partner again?"
  • Avoiding Responsibility: "Well, I don't like this feeling, so you have to fix it."
  • Cry for Help: "Never mind, I won't contact you again."
  • Gaslighting (i.e. questioning people’s sanity or memory): "That's not what happened, and I never said that."
  • Blaming Others: "You're so needy."

A takeaway here is that Emotional Immaturity comes in many different ways, shapes and forms. Some tactics such as gaslighting are manipulative in nature, others are purely emotional such as cry for help, but all are unhealthy.

Related: What is Neuroticism in Psychology: Definition, Benefits, Examples

Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and author, is known for popularizing the concept of Emotional Intelligence, which refers to one’s ability to perceive, understand, regulate, and manage both one's own emotions and those of others.

In his book "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ," he developed a framework of five key components that make up emotional intelligence, plus a range of skills that can be developed and improved[2]. These five components are:

  • Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding your own emotions.
  • Self-regulation: Managing and controlling your emotions.
  • Motivation: Channeling your emotions towards a goal.
  • Empathy: Sensing and understanding others' emotions.
  • Social skills: Managing relationships effectively

Emotional Intelligence and The Workplace

Developing Emotional Intelligence is crucial for building meaningful connections with those in our lives. It is linked to positive outcomes in both professional and personal aspects, contributing to overall psychological well-being.

Goleman also suggested that Emotional Intelligence is twice as important as Cognitive Intelligence for predicting career success and can improve working relationships, problem-solving skills, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Emotional Intelligence is one of the most desired interpersonal skills in the workplace. Remarkably, 71 percent of employers prioritize a high level of emotional intelligence over technical skills when evaluating candidates.

Related: Respect in Communication – Skill that Connects People

Examples of What Emotionally Intelligent People Do

Emotionally Intelligent individuals excel in the following:

  • Take criticism in a healthy way, and not be defensive
  • Establish and maintain personal boundaries
  • Engage in self-reflection of own emotions
  • Avoid rumination and move on after mistakes, hurt, pain, or shame
  • Build and maintain healthy relationships and connections with people
  • Express and communicate effectively their feelings openly with others
  • Create a supportive environment for others around
  • Cultivate compassion and empathy towards others
  • Being kind and altruistic
  • Avoid judgment

Related: What is Agreeableness in Psychology: Definition, Benefits, Examples

The Difference Between Emotional Maturity & Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Maturity and Emotional Intelligence are intertwined elements that complement and enhance each other in the complex landscape of human emotions. Emotional Intelligence (EI) acts as the foundation, providing the ability to recognize, understand, and manage both one's own emotions and the emotions of others.

It equips individuals with the ability to navigate social interactions, show empathy, and adapt behavior based on emotional cues. This awareness forms the basis for cultivating relationships, fostering effective communication, and contributing positively to social dynamics.

On the other hand, Emotional Maturity (EM) takes Emotional Intelligence to a deeper level by emphasizing the application of emotional understanding in real-world scenarios. While EI focuses on the ability to read emotional cues, EM involves implementing thoughtful responses in the face of challenges or unexpected situations. EM also emphasizes self-management and personal emotional development to a higher degree.

Emotionally mature people not only comprehend emotions but also demonstrate resilience and adaptability, maintaining composure in high-stress environments[1]. Emotional Maturity complements Emotional Intelligence by ensuring that the insights gained through EI are effectively applied to navigate the complexities of real-life experiences, fostering personal growth, and contributing to more meaningful and harmonious relationships.

Together, Emotional Intelligence and Maturity create a dynamic synergy that empowers individuals to navigate the complexities of human emotions, gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and those around them.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

Developing Emotional Intelligence involves acknowledging the impact of emotions on our thoughts and behaviors, and then progressing toward skillful emotional regulation to foster positivity even in challenging situations.

Emotional awareness plays a crucial role in understanding and empathizing with others' emotional responses while respecting their boundaries, and contributing to a balanced and inclusive environment.

Effectively addressing others' emotional needs in a timely manner cultivates harmony. Finally, professionally managing relationships by leveraging emotional skills can serve as a robust foundation for conflict resolution, inspiration, and the cultivation of personal charisma, leading to mutually beneficial interactions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Emotional Maturity vs Emotional Intelligence

What is The Difference Between Emotional Maturity and Emotional intelligence?

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Can Emotional Intelligence Be Learned?

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How Can I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?

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