This article is part of a series on key practices that, if utilized, will empower you to express your best self in any circumstance. Even in the face of apparent mistakes and failures, when you apply these practices, you will be empowered to return to your sense of personal agency and equilibrium as quickly as possible.
Links to all the articles in this series appear at the bottom of the page.
The Practice of Being Present
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn, or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”
—Denis Waitley (motivational speaker)
Emotional intelligence is not a destination: it’s a moment-by-moment practice of constantly bringing yourself back to your most centered, grounded, conscious self. It requires acceptance of who you are and whatever is occurring.
Practicing mindfulness is another term for being present. Rather than being in denial or fighting with the way things are, you are present to what is happening in a way that allows for you to work more masterfully with what is so.
When you are present—observing and owning your reactions—you have the wherewithal to author how you wish to respond to a situation.
Embracing Your Reality
Becoming emotionally intelligent involves cultivating the courage and compassion to own and embrace all your experiences in present time, even the challenging ones. In the process of this, you become more and more fully alive.
When approached this way, everything that occurs in your life becomes a chance to practice and gain more personal agency, autonomy, and freedom.
Staying awake to your moment-by-moment experience of living becomes your meditation. Breakdowns in life become opportunities for breakthroughs and transformation.
No matter how skillful you are, life is not something you can control, and it will always find ways of throwing you off-center. Being emotionally intelligent includes the inevitability of becoming upset and being in a state of reactivation, invalidating yourself, and potentially feeling like a failure.
Achieving a high degree of self-mastery means cultivating the depth and strength of character necessary to be present to what is occurring in your lie. It requires continually looking within and connecting with your best self and being guided by your highest principles on a moment-by-moment basis.
Self-mastery doesn’t mean being naive or idealistic. Rather, it is about being present to the challenges and difficulties of real life and having the skills to successfully navigate them. This allows you to become ever more awake to the underlying dynamics that drive your interactions.