Many lucky children are raised by families that are able to provide them with all of the tools to live a happy and healthy life.
But as a psychologist who specializes in Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), I know that many adults were not so fortunate. In fact, I can say without a doubt that children who grow up in families who are not aware of the importance of feelings or emotions usually grow up with some important gaps in their emotional toolbox. These are the people who grew up with CEN.
As you read the 7 Secrets of an emotionally healthy person below, I hope you will be thinking about yourself and about how well you are able to do them. And about the possibility that perhaps you grew up in an emotionally neglectful home.
7 Secrets of an Emotionally Healthy Person
- Manage your feelings. Life is so hectic and stressful that we all find ourselves trying to manage schedules, jobs, children, and finances, believing that the better we do at all of those things, the happier we will be. And all of them are very important, of course. But few things can erode your quality of life more than unexpressed anger, unresolved sadness, or unexpressed fear, for example. Unacknowledged, unresolved feelings have a way of sapping our energy and strength. They also can emerge at the least helpful times, and ruin a whole day. Most people are unaware that emotions are important messages sent by their bodies. Most folks do not realize that if they pay attention to their feelings, they will receive answers to many questions they might have about themselves, their lives, and the people around them. Acknowledging that you feel sad, for example, helps you think about why you feel sad. And that may be your body saying, “You’re losing something” or “You need something.” Your feelings can tell you very important things about your life.
- Know what you want. It’s entirely possible to go through your whole life seldom paying attention to what you want for yourself. For example, some folks fail to consider what they want to do for work, instead of taking whatever opportunity presents itself. Some people worry too much about what other people want and organize themselves around that. This can even apply in much smaller decisions, like what to do, what to eat, or where to go. Failing to check in with yourself and think about your wishes and desires leaves you vulnerable to ending up with a life you never chose. But when you pay attention, consider your wishes, and plan for yourself, you’re far more likely to end up in a place you have consciously chosen, and with a life that you purposely carved out for yourself.
- Welcome criticism. Receiving negative feedback from others is difficult, for sure. It’s never easy to hear negative comments from another person. Most of us will go to great lengths to avoid hearing criticism; and once we hear it, we get too hurt, angry or upset to adequately process its message. But if you think about it, it’s not humanly possible to go through life without making mistakes. And the people who are willing to criticize us are the ones we should value the most. Criticism is, after all, an opportunity to learn. Not that it should be accepted without question; all criticism is a product of its creator, and it usually says as much about the criticizer as it says about the person being criticized. But as long as the criticizer is generally well-meaning, once you sift through his motives and needs in your own mind, you can usually glean a helpful bit of information about yourself, and how to be better.