Emotional health is not the same as happiness.
As odd as it sounds, emotional health is a certain sort of ability. It is the ability to deal well with life. If someone criticizes you and you fall apart, that extreme reaction signals that you don’t have all the “coping skills” or “inner resources” you need.
If you hear some terrible world news and grow not only sad but incapacitated, if you claim to want to do something and rarely get around to doing it, if you meet your natural anxiety with heavy drinking, if you yell a lot and criticize people because you feel at war with the world, these are all proof that you are lacking a certain ability: the ability to deal well with life.
A chess grandmaster will sometimes play a bad game of chess.
An emotionally healthy person will sometimes fail to manifest that ability, maybe because she has been stressed out for too long or because the crisis she faces is more severe than any she has faced before.
That is, even someone with the ability to deal well with life with fall short sometimes and sink into sadness, lose her desire to go on, or soothe herself too much. Our ability to deal well with life can’t be perfected. But that doesn’t mean that there is no difference in ability between a chess grandmaster and a novice. There is a vast difference.
It is the difference between a lack of insight and insight.
A lack of self-control and self-control, a lack of self-awareness and self-awareness. As you begin to understand that your emotional health is an ability that you can nurture you start to change your mind about the person you are, what you are capable of, and in what direction you want to move. Instead of being a “depressed person,” you realize that you are a person who is prone to sadness and who hasn’t yet honed her ability to reduce her sadness. This is a huge difference!
Emotional health is a certain sort of ability that is completely in your power to increase. Let’s pursue this theme next week!
Read more posts by Eric Maisel, Ph.D., a JenningsWire blogger.