Emotional Independence is an ongoing journey. As people grow and mature, managing their emotions in the experience of ordinary daily living tends to become easier with time. Yet, arriving at this level of maturity takes practice, practice, practice, and the willingness to be vulnerable.
The best laboratory for building emotional muscle is your life and the relationships you have. Below, are some New Thoughts and Right Actions, based on the perspective of leaders in the mental health field and their work with families who were affected by the chronic, relapsing brain disorder of addiction.
The generosity of authors
Native Houstonian John Bradshaw was a prolific writer and he, along with Atlanta-based Dr. Charles Whitfield, made popular the concept of “healing your inner child. ” In the early 90s, Mr. Bradshaw shared in a public way his vulnerabilities and own recovery journey from alcoholism. He built a platform of lectures, PBS presentations,
and books to help millions of people around the world. If it weren’t ‘t for his and Dr. Whitfield’s service in writing, many people would never have been introduced to the concept of toxic shame. Mr. Bradshaw’s theory, in particular, is that toxic shame is what drives so many people’s decisions to self medicate through alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping, and overworking to mask the intolerable feeling of unworthiness.
He helped us out
Mr. Bradshaw died three years ago. When his family held an estate sale at their property I attended to see where he wrote his many influential books. While we were there, admiring the many artifacts Mr. Bradshaw had collected on his international trips, we had the serendipity to meet Mrs. Bradshaw. The reason she and her husband had so many collectibles is not because of materialism but because of Mr. Bradshaw’s spirit of service. Everywhere they went, she said, “John wanted to buy something from the shopkeepers to help them out.”
Helping people out is what healers do. Dr. Whitfield is referenced for his compilation of a Personal Bill of Rights as it relates to interacting in healthy relationships. Here’s his list of “rights” that we are all entitled to enjoy if that’s what we choose. What rights are you exercising today?
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© 2019 Brenda Henning