7 Habits of Emotionally Courageous People

#6: Healthy boundaries

Nick Wignall


Photo by Sound On

Dealing with painful emotions is hard. Obviously.

As a result, a lot of people fall into the habit of avoiding those emotions rather than confronting them directly:

  • Using alcohol or social media to distract themselves
  • Depending on reassurance from others
  • Projecting or blaming other people
  • Even flat out denial

But while these avoidance strategies can feel like a relief initially, they almost always lead to feeling worse in the long run.

The solution is to build emotional courage.

Emotional courage is what allows you to do the right thing in the face of painful feelings instead of resorting to what’s comfortable.

If you want to feel better emotionally it’s about building a better relationship with your emotions. And one of the best ways to do that is to build emotional courage.

Here are 7 habits of emotionally courageous people that we can all learn from.

1. Using “I feel” statements

Sometimes simply acknowledging how you feel with words is painful. It’s hard enough to feel anxious, for example, but harder still to say “I’m anxious” in response to your coworker’s question about if you feel okay.

To avoid this emotional discomfort, many people get in the habit of intellectualizing their emotions — describing how they feel in overly intellectual, conceptual, or metaphorical language. You might, for example, say things like “I’m stressed” rather than “I’m afraid” or “I’m bugged” rather than “I’m mad.”

Here’s the problem: When you get in the habit of using intellectualizations to avoid your actual feelings, you’re teaching your brain that those feelings are dangerous, which will only make you less emotionally resilient in the long term.

Instead, practice using I feel statements when you talk about your emotions…

  • I feel sad.
  • I feel afraid.
  • I feel angry.



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com