We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Emotional Competence?

By Jennifer Long
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Emotional competence is the term used to describe a person’s ability to freely express his or her own emotions. It stems from emotional intelligence, which is the ability to identify emotions. Competence is learned and determines a person’s potential to interact constructively with other people. This social skill involves utilizing individual competencies, both personal and social.

Personal emotional competence relies on self-awareness. This self-awareness summarizes a person’s recognition of personal aspects such as individual emotions and how those emotions affect other people. Personal competence also relies on self-regulation, which is the ability to maintain emotional control and handle adaptation. A person must first be able to understand his or her personal emotions before other people’s emotions are considered.

Social competence is another individual aspect of emotional competence. It refers to empathy for other people. Social skills are important, particularly in a work atmosphere. Communication and effective conflict management play large roles in successful interactions.

Through emotional competence, humans have the ability to react, not only to their personal emotions but also to those experienced by others. By understanding emotions such as anger, grief, and fear, a person can respond correctly when someone else experiences those emotions. Recognizing personal emotions leaves people open to responding appropriately to the emotions that other people experience. Without understanding of one’s own emotions, it is hard to empathize and help or praise someone else through their emotions.

Many psychologists and similar types of doctors believe that a lack of emotional competence causes different emotional issues, which in turn leads to a suppression of emotions. Research has shown that internalizing emotions can lead to a decline in physical and mental health. Stress levels increase, which can cause harmful conditions such as high blood pressure, rapid weight gain or loss, and fatigue. Emotional suppression can also lead to depression. Additionally, relationships with other people may suffer because emotional incompetence causes a lack of emotional sharing and response.

Although there are many different types of emotional issues that can cause difficulty with emotional competence, emotional intelligence plays an influential role in a person’s ability to learn competence. For people who suffer from diseases or mental issues that interfere with the skills included in competency, doctors generally try to help develop emotional intelligence as the first step. When a troubled person gains the ability to distinguish one emotion from another, he or she can then start learning how these emotions should be applied to daily experiences.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By bear78 — On Feb 13, 2013

I have trouble controlling my reactions, especially when I'm upset and angry. How do I calm down in these situations? It's so hard to control my emotions.

By fify — On Feb 12, 2013

@turkay1-- Emotional competence is learned in childhood. It's more difficult to learn as an adult, but not impossible. Many therapists and counselors work on this and they can train adults to identify emotions and learn to use them as appropriate.

The hardest part might be to get your father to agree that he has trouble with emotional competence and desire to change that. But it's great to hear that there are people like you who instead of simply giving up on their relationships, are seeking to help those with emotional incompetence. You really are a great example.

By candyquilt — On Feb 11, 2013

My father is terrible at expressing his emotions and this has always strained our relationship. I know he cares for me, but he has never expressed or shown that which led me to think as a child that he doesn't like me.

Now that I am older, I understand that he has a problem with emotional competence. But this doesn't take away the distance in our relationship.

As family, is there anything we can do to help an emotionally incompetent family member to realize and express his or her emotions?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.