Buddha once said that negativity was like a gift people offered you – all you had to do was politely decline, and that gift would still belong to them.
Emotional security is a lot like that. People who are stable on an emotional level know how to cope with negative feelings incredibly well, which means they always manage to keep their cool and carry themselves with dignity no matter how frustrating things get.
How do they do it, though?
We’re about to find out.
Here are the 8 things emotionally secure people never do in social situations.
1) They never let other people get a rise out of them
Starting off with that gift metaphor of Buddha’s, a person who’s emotionally secure doesn’t let frustrating people or small inconveniences get to them.
If someone tries to pick a fight with them, they simply decline the gift of negativity and don’t let themselves get dragged into a heated argument. They continue going on about their day like a river that keeps on flowing, undisturbed by a few drops of rain.
A person like that values their emotional energy to such a large degree that they don’t waste it on pointless bickering. They have better things to do than to fight with Jerry over who broke the printer or to let Helena’s bitter mood affect their day.
But how does one achieve that state of calm, you may ask?
2) They never soak in others’ negative energy
I used to be an emotional sponge.
Every time my boss had a bad day, I had a bad day, too.
Each time someone snapped at me, I got anxious or angry and held onto those feelings for hours on end.
And don’t even get me started on grumpy friends and romantic partners – the moment I could feel their mood go sour, it was like the temperature in the room dropped by twenty degrees Celsius, and just like that, my happiness was crushed to dust.
Then I learned about Buddha’s gift metaphor, and while this helped me understand emotional security on a rational level, I still couldn’t help but absorb other people’s feelings.
…until I realized that I had no responsibility for how others felt. Their emotions were their own business, and it had nothing to do with me as a person.
When I learned to truly embrace that notion, I was able to build my own emotional universe that’s almost completely independent of others. If someone throws negativity at me now, it just bounces off me like a tennis ball.
3) They never snap at people just because they’re having a bad day
The same strategy applies the other way around. While emotional security usually means that you experience negative emotions nowhere near as strongly or regularly, they do still come. Of course they do.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As the shaman Rudá Iandé says in his Free Your Mind masterclass, what we perceive as “good” can sometimes turn against us, while what we consider “bad” can sometimes benefit us a great deal.
The same goes for emotions. It’s okay to feel angry. It’s okay to be sad. What is *not* okay is taking those feelings out on innocent bystanders.
Someone who’s emotionally secure will process their negative feelings in healthy ways that don’t hurt other people (such as exercising, dancing, or writing it all down).
They won’t snap at their friends or coworkers just because they got stuck in traffic this morning.
4) They never get caught up in overthinking loops
“I think I may have overshared. And what was that weird thing I said? Ugh, that was so awkward. I bet they all think I’m weird. I bet they hate me. I bet they’ll never want to see me again.”
On and on you go, like a wheel that keeps on spinning.
Yeah, overthinking is a bit of a pain in the ass. Excessive worry usually stems from a general lack of confidence in social situations, which in turn goes back to emotional security and the way you carry yourself among other people.
If you’re emotionally secure, you’re not going to overanalyze how you act, what you say, or whether you’re maintaining eye contact for too long. If you do, you’ll find it quite easy to banish those thoughts and move on to something else.
And why is that?
One word: comfort. When you’re comfortable with all the different emotions wreaking havoc inside you and when you’re able to accept and embrace them, you’ll feel more confident in social situations and will handle anxiety with much more ease.
5) They never bend over backward for someone just to avoid conflict
When you soak in others’ negative energy like a sponge and let anxiety and worry get the best of you, causing you to overthink and get lost in a maze of assumptions, the result is…
Trust me, I speak from personal experience. Before I managed to build emotional boundaries, I couldn’t handle any conflict whatsoever – all I could think about was how to make things okay again, how to avoid all kinds of confrontation in the first place, and how to make sure everyone liked me.
And it was freaking exhausting.
Once emotional security is established, though, it’s like a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulders. Since I no longer take responsibility for other people’s feelings and am better able to handle mine, I don’t care if someone dislikes me anymore.
I mean, if I don’t like them either, why should I care that I’m not their cup of tea?
You’ll never be able to please everybody. It’s better to just focus on yourself and the people who truly matter.
6) They never run away from healthy conflict
Some types of conflict are pointless – such as Jerry and the printer or Helena and her bitter mood, as outlined in one of the examples above – while others can be very formative experiences that allow relationships to evolve over time and gain depth.
Ever since my emotional security improved, I have been much more open to facing conflict head-on and actually trying to sort through it. And it’s been incredibly healing.
You deserve to assert your needs. You deserve to be heard. And once you realize that your emotions are valid and worthy of being acknowledged, you won’t be as scared of voicing them out loud, either.
7) They never ignore how they truly feel
Of course, in order to do that, you first have to stop bottling all your feelings down.
Contrary to popular belief, emotionally secure people don’t just lack negativity. No matter how confident or stable you are, you’ll always feel anger, frustration, loneliness, or an unexplainable loss of motivation.
And it’s not about ignoring those feelings, either.
In fact, emotionally secure people do the exact opposite – they let themselves feel it all. They give it a name. They acknowledge it. And then they use various self-soothing strategies (such as meditation, exercise, or positive affirmations) to show up for themselves in the same way a best friend or a loving parent would.
It is their willingness to embrace their feelings so readily and openly that gives them so much power over their emotional universe.
8) They never snoop or gossip
Before we part for today, let’s mention an amazing side-effect of emotional security: you simply don’t give a damn about other people’s business.
Yes, that’s right. An emotionally stable person is so comfortable being themselves and leading their own life that they barely have the energy to snoop or gossip about others.
Instead, they love conversations about things that allow them to bond with others on a deep level.
They don’t care what Karen did with Jake or that Ian is having an affair. They care about the project Karen’s been working on, Ian’s wonderful vegetable garden, and Jake’s opinion on the last episode of the TV show they both love.
They aren’t in it for the drama. They’re in it for a genuine connection.