The 5 Hallmarks of an Emotionally Healthy Person

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Do you ever wonder how emotionally healthy you are?

We all have a general idea of what we think an emotionally healthy person looks like. Maybe it’s not being depressed or anxious, not suffering, or not having a diagnosis. Maybe it’s being happy, or being able to live a good life.

All of these things are important and have great merit, of course. But what are the specific factors that make a person emotionally healthy? Here are the five hallmarks that hardly anyone thinks about.

The 5 Hallmarks of an Emotionally Healthy Person

1. You’re able to hold two opposites in your mind at the same time.

“Is she a good person or a bad person? Did you like the movie or not? Are you talented, yes or no? Who’s right, you or me?” This tendency for our minds to polarize things into opposites in order to settle on a clear solution applies to all areas of our lives. But it shows up especially starkly in very personal questions, such as how we view ourselves, how we think about our childhoods, and how we judge others.

The ability to see the gray areas is a skill that not everyone has, for sure. But here we’re talking about a step beyond that. The ability to say during a conflict with another person, “We are both right, and we are also both wrong.” To be able to conclude, in any situation, “This is both extremely good and extremely bad,” “This person is both well-intentioned and potentially harmful,” “I love you and hate you at the same time.” “My parents gave me a lot, but they also failed me terribly.” All are true.

Opposites go together far better than most people realize. And if you can hold the opposing sides in your mind together at the same time, it gives you a birds-eye view of yourself, a person, or a situation that is far more accurate and real than grasping for a one-dimensional answer.

2. You can manage your feelings while communicating.

Managing your emotions is one thing and communicating is another. Each is a difficult skill to master. Put them together and you have a great challenge. Being able to manage the hurt you are feeling so that you can explain to someone how you feel; being able to manage your anger in order to express the problem in a way that the other person can hear. These are two examples of strong psychological mental health.

3. You’re self-aware.

Everyone knows themselves. But the question is, how well? Do you understand your typical responses to things? Are you aware of what you feel, and why you’re feeling it? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Talents? Likes and dislikes? What do you need, and what do you enjoy?

The better you understand yourself, the more resilient you are in challenging situations, the better you can forgive yourself for mistakes, and the better life choices you can make for yourself.

4. You’re comfortable in your own skin.

This involves being happy to simply be you. Think of it as spending time with yourself, happily and comfortably. Can you sit alone with no entertainment and be comfortable? Can you be in the moment right now and not thinking ahead, thinking about the past, or thinking about something or someone else? Are you able to sit with a feeling, accept that feeling, and try to understand it?

These are all examples of being comfortable in your own skin.

5. You’re willing to take risks.

Being able to stretch yourself, not only within your comfort zone but beyond it, takes a great deal of strength and resilience. Are you willing to put yourself out there? Can you rely on yourself to manage failure, if it happens? Do you know yourself well enough to know what’s worth going out on a limb for? Can you forgive yourself if you don’t succeed?

The strength required to take the risk of failure, and to survive failure, is a great strength indeed.

If reading all of these qualities is somewhat intimidating, don’t worry. Few people possess all five. In fact, most of us would do well to simply be striving toward having each one.

3 Ways to Build the 5 Hallmarks and Become an Emotionally Healthier Person.

1. Become less invested in being right.

When you give up some of your connection to being right, you open up a whole new world; the birds-eye world that is an important part of being wise. You rise above the right/wrong mentality, and you start to see yourself and others differently.

Being able to see the polar opposites — the greater truths — makes it easier to understand your own feelings (which often oppose each other) and to understand others. It aids your ability to see and understand yourself.

2. Learn and practice mindfulness. 

Mindfulness, or the ability to be in the moment, with your attention turned inward at yourself, what you’re doing and what you’re feeling, is a key part of both self-awareness and being comfortable in your own skin. It has also been shown by scientific research to have multiple other psychological and health benefits.

3. Work on viewing failure differently. 

Failure is a sign of courage. Failure means that you pushed yourself outside your comfort zone and took a risk. Failure, done well, is a growth experience. We can learn more from our failures than we can from our successes.

As you become more self-aware, more mindful, more emotionally communicative, and more comfortable in your own skin, you will be freer to take risks and learn from them. Your relationships will become deeper and more satisfying. This will ultimately support you to experiences and successes far beyond what you ever thought you could achieve.

Growing up in a family that avoids, ignores, or disparages your feelings (Childhood Emotional Neglect or CEN) disconnects you from your feelings in your adult life. To find out if you grew up with CEN, Take the Emotional Neglect Test. It’s free.

To learn more about Childhood Emotional Neglect, see my first book Running on Empty 

A version of this article was originally published on It has been updated and published here with the permission of the author and Yourtango.


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below
Maria - January 26, 2021 Reply

Thank you very much dr. Jonice Webb for this very complex knowledge,expertise and very useful skills developing healthy emotionally person.I found very supportive, in expressing and managing my feelings in my relationships. I will pay more attenion on the birds eye view and how to be comfortable in my own skin.Addiction with the future was the treat to be mindfulness.

Last - November 19, 2020 Reply

I am a fan of transferring the work of Bowby and Ainsworth into various settings. How can I compare your Research to their work on attachment? Thanks

    Jonice - November 20, 2020 Reply

    I’ll try to write a blog on this sometime soon! Thanks for the suggestion.

      Miranda - November 22, 2020 Reply

      Great article, thank you for the wise words.
      Would you be having a Black Friday sale for some of your courses?

Immelman - July 15, 2020 Reply


Thanks for your great posts. Please explain the difference between schizoid and CEN. Sounds similar to me? Perhaps a variation in intensity?

Manza - July 1, 2020 Reply

Thank you for the wonderful article ma’am. As someone who has gone through CEN, its really helpful.

Ludmila - June 30, 2020 Reply

Thank you Jonice. The older I am the better I understand what the
life is about and what to strive for with your advice.

    Jonice - July 1, 2020 Reply

    I’m glad, Ludmila. Keep on growing!

Karen - June 29, 2020 Reply

Wonderful article. Thanks to you, your writings and encouragement over the past couple of years I can now see just how much I’ve grown in that time. Proof is a generous supportive relationship I’m now forging with a wonderful man. We’ve known each other for a while now. A few months ago he did something I was not happy with at all. In the past in a similar situation I would have walked away deeply hurt and upset, never to see the other person again, or stayed and allowed resentment to fester. In this instance I reset boundaries and opened up a dialog that has created the space for an honest discussion about what happened and why. As a result we each understand and respect the other better, creating a deeper and more fulfilling relationship. The 5 hallmarks describe an enormous shift in my typical reactions and I thank you for so aptly putting into words how I am showing up in this relationship.

    Jonice - June 29, 2020 Reply

    That’s wonderful, Karen! That required a complex set of emotion skills and is a sign of good emotional health.

Ross - June 29, 2020 Reply

So very wise & true – wonderfully communicated! And as we live under our own microscopes at this time…all the more magnafied is that Birds Eye View…
Thank you.

    Jonice - June 29, 2020 Reply

    Yes, true, Ross, this pandemic is forcing us all to sit with ourselves. Thanks for your comment.

Lyndy Aldridge - June 29, 2020 Reply

Thank you Jonice this is inspiring

    Jonice - June 29, 2020 Reply

    I’m so glad, Lyndy!

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