Emotional stability is the capability to absorb, reflect, and respond with purpose.
I’m an INTJ (click here to find your personality type) and emotional stability for us is no easier than it is for any other human. Because the Feeling trait is a tertiary and introverted trait, we have to put forth a great deal of effort to mature and appreciate it. INTJ’s (and most with the Thinking trait) tend to discount feelings over logic. Although logic is key in emotional stability, one still has emotional responses and cannot discount how they affect and influence one’s responses and reactions. Failure to do so leads to emotional immaturity.
One must cultivate an understanding of their emotions in order to mature and develop stability.
Emotions and feelings are natural responses to external stimulants (events and situations). They have the capability to make life the most amazing state of being, or cause great discomfort. Fortunately, we own and can control our emotional response.
Let’s clarify. External stimulation happens all the time, and from the day you’re born your brain handles this by creating habitual responses. Some are biological (nature) and some are learned (nurture). You can control all of the nurture based responses. Most of your emotional reactions are learned. And although you cannot “break a bad habit” you can create a new response to a stimulus. You choose how you respond.
Most negative emotions, the ones we associate with “feeling bad”, are considered states of action. Meaning, our biology has these to protect us, get us moving, and keep us safe. Current sociological and cultural norms have developed faster than evolutionary adaptation and we must put forth greater effort to adapt and evolve from a personal level. We no longer have to “fear” being eaten by a predator, nor does “anger” help us fight off, or run from, mortal threats. Instead, they have become emotions that paralyze us or lead us further down a path of emotional over-reactions. Worse yet, every time we respond inappropriately we create a habit… yes, our brain aligns that stimulus with our inappropriate response and makes us more likely to respond the same way in the future. A vicious cycle, only broken with cognitive awareness and a great deal of effort.
But emotional stability is possible when you choose to be authentic and commit:
- Start by taking stock in the emotions you feel throughout the day. Take actual notes. What did you feel? What brought out those feelings (what external thing happened)? How did you respond? Did the response make you feel better (short and long term)?
- Appreciate and do not discount your emotions. Look to the positive and negative ones as parts of you that make you human. They are neither “good” nor “bad” they simply “are”. If you have difficulty with feelings then embrace them, wallow in them a bit, learn to be comfortable in this level of reflection. If you are more of a feeling type, look at your emotions as “things” to analyze and dissect how they affect you and what they mean to your well-being. As you can see, both traits (Thinkers and Feelers) need to view emotions from their non-dominate side in order to gain maturity and stability.
- Reflect on what your initial response to external stimulus is. Reflection is a time for analysis and decision making. This is after you absorb the stimulus (the event or situation) and now consider what to do with it. When you’re reflecting, you need to ensure you’re aligning your prospective responses with your authentic self and goals in life. You want to avoid a reactive response.
- Respond with purpose. This is what you control, how you respond. Your responses should always be purposeful. As you practice, your responses will be faster because the reflection part will have habitualized your authentic self and associated goals. Practice aligns who you are, how you appreciate the world around you, and how you integrate in this world with peace, contentment, and success.
Building on authenticity is gaining emotional stability. Without both your life will be frustrating, lacking joy, stagnant, and unsuccessful. Emotional stability is something almost every human can evolve and grow, and with it enjoy their life and the joy that’s available through authenticity and emotionally healthy living. Resilience comes when you align the two (authenticity and emotional stability). From a state of resilience you can accomplish anything, and accomplish it with excitement and internal happiness.