Emotional wholeness and maturity

By Dave Henning / April 30, 2024

“Emotional maturity is the ability to feel what we feel without judgment and without being controlled by our emotions.  Emotional wholeness begins by noticing and naming what we feel and then deciding what to do with it, allowing those emotions to draw us to God and one another.”- Jennifer Allen

As Jennifer Allen moves on in Chapter 9 of Untangle Your Emotions, she notes that too many of us lack a vocabulary to describe our feelings.  Or we frail to correctly understand what constitutes an emotion.  However, to make progress toward health we must learn to feel the spectrum of all feelings.  Therefore, you need to learn to name, share, and heal from the pain.

Because we spent decades learning how to control, cope, and conceal, that feeling process can take a long time.  Certainly, Jennifer states, we can’t help what we never learned.  Rather, we fight to learn it and do it differently.  For ourselves as well as future generations.

Consequently, Jennifer offers our place to start thinking about how to name the feelings you’re feeling.  Above all, as your emotional intelligence grows, your goal centers on increased specificity.  Naming with greater detail what you’re really feeling.  Today Jennifer covers the first of the Big Four.

 1.  Joy.  Of course, we all want joy.  But here’s the thing about joy.  Unless you also learn to feel sadness, fear, and anger, you’ll never notice or appreciate joy.  Because, Jennifer stresses: You can’t turn off the parts of your brain that feel sadness and anger without also shutting down you ability to feel joy.

As Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:11 (ESV): “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

Joy — a fruit of the Spirit and a gift from God.  Thus, Jennifer exhorts, start noticing the things that make you happy.  What changes occur in your day when you add those things?

Today’s question: What most helps you develop or sustain emotional wholeness and maturity?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Emotional granularity”

About the author

Dave Henning

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