Jim E. Towns, Ph.D., SFASU Professor, Author and International Speaker

“The Heart of Empathy: Emotional Intelligence”


Emotional Intelligence, as a psychological theory 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. (Mayer & Salovey, 1997)

The following steps describe the five components of emotional intelligence as it relates to the heart of empathy. (Goleman). These steps are applicable to any faith.

(1) Self-awareness-knowing your emotions. The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.

(2) Self-regulation-managing your own emotions. The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting.

(3) Internal motivation-motivation yourself. A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status -which are external rewards, – such as an inner vision of what is important in life.

(4) Empathy-recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions. The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.

(5) Social skills-managing relationships. Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and build rapport.

The conclusion of the study reveals significant factors about the heart of empathy–emotional intelligence is to connect faith, justice and the disposition of empathy. In other words, I may not know how you feel, but I know how I felt in a similar situation. Therefore I can relate to your heart in an empathic manner.


Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence, Bantam.

Salovey, P., Mayer, J.D. (1990) Emotional Intelligence: imagination, cognition and personality, Sage.