Emotional Health

Excerpt from Chapter 11 - Emotions

What is emotional health anyway? A useful definition of emotional health is the ability to express all emotions appropriately. Those who have this capability are surely also mentally healthy. Being emotionally stuck is often the best indicator of current lack of emotional health. I might be stuck in depression or stress, stuck in anger at my favorite targets, or stuck in perpetual guilt or shame. Obviously, this indicator of emotional health suggests that many of us lack emotional health much of the time.

An outstanding example of emotional health is the average 2-year-old, who often displays a full range of emotions. Emotions are usually properly expressed and felt by the 2-year-old and therefore stuckness in any one emotion for more than a couple of minutes doesn't happen often.

Once felt, emotions change. This is a commonly overlooked truism about emotions - once they are felt properly, they disappear, thus making room for the next feeling or emotion. (The root of the word, e-motion, implies motion or change.) Without change, one stays discomfited, clear evidence of skewed emotional expression.

A quote from The Pathwork of Self-Transformation (Pierrakos, 1990, p. 15) is apropos here, "Your spiritual self cannot be freed unless you learn to feel all your feelings, unless you learn to accept every part of your being no matter how destructive it may be right now." It is a poor spiritual choice to avoid or cover over "bad" feelings or emotions.

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© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze


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Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "The ultimate in self responsibility: Wherever I am unhappy, there is where I need to change myself. Most of us blame others."