to be enjoyed, not endured
Emotional wellbeing is: in the present, real, comfortable, moral, self aware, aware of others, flexible but true, playful and alive.

From Oliver James:

Emotional health is the sense that what is happening, is happening now. It is experiencing the world as first-hand, immediate, rather than only knowing what was experienced when you reflect upon it later. You are, as the sports commentators put it, ‘in the zone’.

You feel real rather than false. You are comfortable in your skin: you do not wish you could be someone else, nor do you look down on others for not being like you. You know what you are thinking and feeling, even if sometimes that only means knowing that you don’t know.

You have your own consistent ethical code which enables you to distinguish right from wrong. You are stoical in the face of adversity, realistic in your ideas and often seem to be wise in your judgements.

You have the capacity for insight into your own actions. You can sometimes spot in advance when you are about to make a mistake and avoid it, or can see when you are reacting irrationally to a situation and correct yourself – so having crashed the car, you do not do it again; you can notice that the lights have changed or a wall is approaching, and turn the steering wheel. This gives you that nectar of the soul, the capacity for choice, and therefore, for change. Such self-awareness is what sets us apart from other animals.

In your moment-to-moment dealings with other people, you are a good judge of what they are feeling and thinking. You are able to live in the place where self and others meet, without tyranny. You do not get either ‘jammed on transmit’ or ‘jammed on receive’. You live without flooding or dominating others, nor are you flooded or dominated.

You are adaptable, but without losing yourself. When in social or professional situations which demand a measure of falsehood, you can put on a face to meet the faces that you meet without losing your sense of authenticity. Your real self is as close as possible to the one you are presenting to others, depending on what is feasible. For if a lie is necessary, you lie.

Your vivacity is striking, there is a liveliness you bring to any situation, but it is not frenetic and does not smack of ‘keeping busy’ to distract from bad feelings. You are spontaneous and always searching for the playful way to handle things, retaining a child-like sparkle, a conviction that life is to be enjoyed, not endured. You are not bogged down in needy, childish, greedy, game-playing manipulation.


Oliver James, How to Develop Emotional Intelligence







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