How to Attain Emotional Self Awareness


Success in life & at work depends upon how well we choose to express ourselves. Often met with demanding, stressful situations that test our ability to manage our emotions & behaviour. Everyone experiences minor irritants. Be careful of long-lasting & provoking triggers that seem to fuel discord in our lives.

Emotional triggers are basically events or people that consistently set off intense, emotional reactions within us. If they are not managed appropriately, our emotional triggers can cause us acute stress, dissatisfaction, provocation, interpersonal conflicts and even resentment. Unmanaged triggers can also prevent us from having the types of fulfilling relationships and career success we really desire.

When triggered, we may experience a range of emotions including frustration, anger, discontent, insecurity, jealousy and defensiveness. We may be subjected to uncontrollable emotional outbursts and a feeling of helplessness as we are unable to express ourselves appropriately.

As a result, we develop coping habits such as creating interpersonal conflict , being passive -aggressive, emotional outburst at the slightest sign of irritation even avoiding communication. Over time, these self-defeating habits become patterns that produce further emotional anguish, tormented feelings, energy drain, negatively influence the way we live and work. Then we start resenting people who trigger us and resenting ourselves for not dealing with our triggers effectively. Before long it becomes a self-fulfilling, automatic response. It then appears to be like an endless abyss of despair.

Founder of analytical psychology Carl Jung wrote, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Be responsible and be self accountable. While it is true triggers generally come from our unconscious trauma, still it is our responsibility to deal with our actions, reactions and their consequences.

It is useless to eventually berate or excuse ourselves. For example if your child spills milk at dinner time and it triggers an angry reaction in you because you were beaten or ridiculed for the same behaviour as a child, you are still responsible for any acting out of your rage against your child. Not passing on these traumas from your past to your children is an excellent, well-deserved reason to identify emotional triggers and overcoming them.

Learn to develop curiosity about emotional triggers and recognise them when they happen. Any time you experience a huge emotional reaction to a non-life threatening happening, you can consider you are being triggered. Without judging, notice you’ve been triggered and you have certainly over reacted. You may need to make amends to someone you’ve hurt later, but first step is just to recognise you’ve been triggered.

You can only change what you see. It is an excellent idea to make a habit of writing down in a notebook, situations and people that in one way or another triggered you emotionally on a daily basis. Use these journal entries about your memories and feelings to lead you to any unresolved traumas from your past. Over time, you’ll find trigger becomes less “charged” as you deal with and process those unresolved memories.

Some Common Emotional Triggers Include:

• Exaggerated ego or arrogant behaviour

• Aggressiveness (physical and verbal)

• Condescension

• Back stabbing, disloyalty or lying

• Unashamed incompetence

• Victim-syndrome or deliberate weakness

• Lack of communication and follow-through

• Avoidant or inconsistent behaviour


What Do Emotional Triggers Represent?

Triggers reflect the threat to our identity and affect our behavior. Initially, event or person triggers us. It is what that event or person symbolizes that threatens our worldview and sense of security. Trigger often isn’t about someone else but more to do with our values, judgments and interpretations. Triggers reveal how we feel about ourselves and how view ourselves in certain relationships or context. Often, challenged or wounded ego is responsible. Being honest about core issues behind our triggers is essential.

Learn to accept that emotional triggers (events or people) serve as mirrors for our conscious and unconscious intentions may have a positive message for us. They provide opportunities to allow us to ‘see’ ourselves in new and challenging ways.


People Who Exhibit Emotional Self-Control

  • Control their impulsive emotions
  • Display grace under pressure
  • Restrain negative reactions
  • Think clearly and stay focused under pressure
  • Maintain their energy and performance in all situations
  • Don’t let situation escalate when provoked or confronted
  • Remain “cool under pressure”

People Who Lack Emotional Self-Control

  • React impulsively
  • Fail to resist temptation thus engage in inappropriate behavior
  • Respond to challenges in a non-constructive way
  • Act defensively
  • Have a short fuse
  • When faced with conflict and stress become angry, depressed or highly agitated

Essential Tips To Develop Emotional Self-Control

  • Develop self-awareness
  • List down your triggers and hot buttons
  • Develop strategies to deal with situations that push your buttons
  • Watch your self-talk

This emotional intelligence training course has the highest demand among our clients. Organisations of all sizes are increasingly recognising the key role that ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (EQ) has in the effectiveness of the organisation at all levels. Managers & team leaders are required to fulfil a much broader role – not just to have technical or specialist expertise but also to have a range of personal attributes & abilities. Leaders need to effectively develop their people, team members need to be able to co-operate & to work effectively with their colleagues & managers; front-line staff need to be able to deal professionally with difficult/stressful situations with customers & suppliers.

Our runaway emotions can & do influence the way we react in the workplace on a daily basis. Having a higher level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) means having the ability to recognize your behaviours, moods, impulses & manage them in a positive way. So instead of over-reacting & over-compensating when things don’t go as planned, you are much better equipped to understand the effects your emotions are having on you at any given moment.

Written by RACHEL KHOR 

Principal Trainer, Peak Success Abundance Sdn Bhd

From Directive Communication International & American Institute of Business Psychology:

– Certification in Colored Brain Communication
– Certification in Human Drive & Motivation
– Certification in Dynamic Speaking
– Certification in Curriculum Development
– PSMB Certified Trainer
– Certification in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)
– Certification in Hypnotherapy from London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH)
– 18 years corporate training experience


Contact us through phone: 03-42703064/0126170560/0165488336
Email: [email protected] /[email protected]
Links: Website Blog | LinkedIn | YouTube

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
× Need help? Chat with us