I mentioned in an earlier “Piece” that there are several books that have deeply impacted my life and journey. One of my favorite authors is Peter Scazarro who has taught me so much in his book “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”. I hope I never fail to give him credit or recommend to others the benefits of reading his books. I hope I will always give him credit whenever I use his words or ideas, but so much of how I look at things now has come from him that I don’t realize just how much of an influence he’s been. I certainly will try to say it all today, but emotional health / emotional intelligence is an idea that continues to become more and more prevalent in our society.
I know that over the years I have not been a very healthy person. At times I have been able to mask emotional immaturity, “gut out” certain circumstances, or fake it til I made it – but my lack of emotional healthy state has caused me to mess up my puzzle as much as anything else. School, family, relationships, work…we need healthy emotional interaction within these major pieces of life to cope, to build, to breathe, to bond, to enjoy, to grieve, and most of all to love.
I will start with a small example. In 2008, Ellen and I were using our Superpower…we were at a “falling down” place, and we were trying to get back up. Dr. Ed Bolin was our marriage counselor and early in our time with him I saw a book on his shelf called “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” I said (in hindsight, with arrogance), “Wow, that is a real mouthful. ” He gently pulled it from the shelf, handed it to me, and said, “Read it. I think you will like it.” That book is underlined and highlighted more than any other book I have ever read. As I read, I realized it was about me.
I was a 40-year-old emotional kid. A lifetime of church and 15 years as a minister had given me a tremendous amount of spiritual knowledge and spiritual growth, but my emotional maturity had not grown along with it. I was still relatively unchanged from my emotions as a college student. And if you knew me in college…not very mature. Especially in my vulnerable moments – stress, weakness, tired – I had emotional patterns that were destructive.
I have a lot to unpack on this subject – but I will ask you this, today. How much have you focused or invested in your own emotional health, growth and maturity? When you struggle emotionally with anger, sadness, frustration or fear – how do you cope or react? Do you have a pattern? Does your puzzle end up a jumbled mess? Do you just want to start over? What happens when you can’t make one of your pieces fit the way you want it to? Emotional health is a key to your belonging and your acceptance of others as they need to belong in your life.