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SOURCE: Composite of many lists, including Amy Morin’s “13 things Mentally Strong people Don’t Do.” which is about being in charge of our thoughts, emotions & actions (T.E.A.)
EMOTIONALLY & MENTALLY HEALTHY People (EMHP):
EMHP Don’t Let their Emotions Control them
ACoAs learn, directly & indirectly, to deny & ignore any emotion the family / school / religion disapproves of. In some families it’s anger, in others it’s sadness & the need to be comforted….. This left us with the Toxic Rule “Don’t feel”. Our individual personalities cope with this injunction by either –
— suppressing most or all emotion & living in our head (obsessing), OR
— consumed by accumulated pain to the point of over-reacting to anything upsetting (even the minor ones), being too scared or too angry. That tells us then that – “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical”.
Both extremes come from our WIC, not knowing any other way of dealing with this Toxic Rule. Instead, to be an Emotionally & Mentally Healthy Person (EMHP) the UNIT must be in charge
EMHP can tolerate discomfort because they hold less old pain & because they know how to comfort themselves when distressed. They can identify & accept all emotions, know how to process them & chose how to act, so they’re not controlled by them.
The way we think about a situation has a tremendous power to either help or harm us. Since our emotions are largely generated by our mind (see post: T.E.A. & Anxiety) we can modify the reactions to our emotions by correction any CDs we may have. Overcoming challenges starts with seeing things objectively, rather than reacting from childhood damage. (ACoA Laundry List)
EMHP Don’t Live in the Past
ACoAs who are still ruled by the WIC & the PP think, feel & act as if they are still 5, 10 & 15 yrs old – still living in their dysfunctional family. Most of the time our reactions to present day events – positive, negative or neutral – are the same as when we were kids, because we project our family on to all current relationships.
As unhealed adults, ACoAs repeat the life-patterns set out for us by our family & other sources, which caused us to take many wrong turns – in the form of repeated harmful relationships, self-harm, deprivations….. While our history contributes to out over-all makeup, we are NOT our damage.
EMHP avoid wasting mental energy on past disappointments OR in fantasies of the ‘good old days’. They’ve carefully evaluated both the distresses & the valuable experiences of their early years, so now they can invest most of their energy in creating the best possible present & future. They tend to have a mindful, attentive way of engaging with the world. Being ‘present’ allows us to see things as they really are.
EMHP Don’t Feel Pessimistic
ACoAs are more likely to see themselves (S-H), others & the world from a negative point of view (paranoia & hopelessness). The adults we grew up with either ignored us or were judgmental of everyone & everything, so we took on the same perspective. This meant ignoring all the positive things available in life, including the good things that we have experienced.
EMHP generally feel optimistic about their lives & their futures, without ignoring stresses or hoping for magic outcomes. They don’t let temporary difficulties or unimportant annoyances get them down – at least not for long. They know that obstacles are part of life, making an effort to solve whatever they can & accepting what they can’t change (Serenity Prayer – backwards??).
They don’t focus on their weaknesses – while still acknowledging them. No one can be perfect, so they don’t waste time trying. Instead they continue working on improving themselves rather than feeling defeated.
NEXT: EMHP – Part 1b