EMOTIONAL is what every person is; but there is such a range along a continuum of emotional health and ill-health. Pete Scazzero has carved out a niche in this area called emotionally healthy spirituality.
I took part in Scazzero’s 46-question survey. It’s the sort of survey we get no value out of unless we are brutally honest. You take a survey like this if you’re interested in personal growth on an emotional and spiritual level. Needless to say, I will keep my personal result to myself. But one thing the analysis convinced me of was the veracity for attaining adult emotionality. The rest of this article is purposed toward the areas of competency toward that end.
Depth of Personhood
How deep do we reflect and how deep do we think about our own lives — even our finite interactions and perceptions? If we are able to easily share our fears and pain and our anger with trusted others toward growth we are well on the way. A deep personhood is couched in courageous honesty.
Depth of Redemptiveness of Past
The mature have dealt with the demons of past and any residual guilt or shame has been vanquished in truth. That means the processes of therapy have been engaged with. Nothing that is our truth breeds fear anymore — that’s where it needs to get to. We are no longer afraid of ourselves or our past. The key test is the approval of others. We don’t need it.
Depth of Lived Brokenness and Willed Vulnerability
A person who can actively jettison self-protection — especially if they offer their strength to others — is a person who can live their acknowledged brokenness through a willed sense of vulnerability. It’s a courageous life that exudes safety for others, because it’s a life that is safe within itself. Such a person is emotionally and spiritually right when they are wrong; when they fall upon their sword, say sorry, and seek forgiveness. They prefer to judge themselves than judge others.
Depth of Acceptance for Limitedness
What a strength it is to know our weakness. We have such limitations. One of the benefits I’ve gleaned from burnout (ten years ago now) is my limitations are more on a knife’s edge than ever before. I’m constantly reminded of the need to restore balance. Those with a gift for their limits are wisely adult in their emotionality.
Depth of Experience of Grief and Loss
Expression of sadness and loss and grief are pivotal in this area. That, and to be able to fully acknowledge them without denying any of it. If we are the type of person that people seek out in their distress, we model such a depth that is priceless for the hurting.
Depth of Intimacy with Others
Connecting with others is the point here. If we have the ability to enter others’ worlds, and actually discern them and engage with their inner material, we have a great gift — a gift counsellors need! The capacity for into-me-see is vital. The ability to build relationships at depth is necessarily countered by the adult sense of proper boundary — impelled by the duty of responsibility. Emotional adults (as opposed to adolescents, children and infants) don’t get drawn into affairs because intimacy went wrong. The mature have learned to erect safe boundaries of self-awareness where the vulnerable cannot be hurt.
Depth of Integrity Manifested in Self-Control
This is not just any sort of self-control. It is self-control over our use of time, which means neither envy, nor greed, nor covetousness are inwardly (unconscious) drivers for us. If we find that devotional and spiritual activities have their own reason for being our integrity is vouchsafed.
The biggest favour we could ever do for ourselves is to embrace adult emotionality. A reasonable, rational, responsible, realistic, reliable and logical person is our best gift to others and ourselves.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.