In a week in which I read that a 39 year old Belgian man wants to claim his legal right to euthanasia because he cannot accept his gay sexuality, I felt that it was right to reflect on the importance of emotional well-being.
I have only recently begun to understand, that my own suffering over the same inability to accept my gay sexuality in the past, was a reflection that my emotional needs were not being met.
It is not that my emotional needs were necessarily the responsibility of someone else – say my parents, or siblings or my wife and children or my friends and colleagues, but for many years, I think that this is what I expected from them.
My inner narrative used to be:
“I am hurting, I can’t tell you why, and although I am often angry, stressed, irrational, and hurtful, I still need you to make me feel loved, I still need you to show me that you care no matter what”
I have come to realise that my emotional well-being is my own responsibility, but what is emotional well-being?
The UK Department of Health in 2011 said that well being is:
“a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope, with a sense of connection with people, communities and the wider environment”
For me it is the glue, the life blood of my human and spiritual existence.
It encompasses my physical and sexual needs, my mental needs and also my social and religious needs.
My emotional well-being depends on my capacity and ability to feel motivated to look after and protect; and also project, who I am in the world without fear.
It’s essence comes from within, through my thoughts and feelings which arise within my head, but which are manifest in my body which sustains my life.
I recognise now, that before I began my intimate relationship with my inner voice and accepted my inner truth and learned to recognise it and love it, that I had given over to others, the responsibility to carry my emotional well-being for me.
When we love other people, we are prepared to do that for them, at times of crisis and bereavement and disappointment – that is quite a straightforward human response which people are generally prepared to give.
When it is given over for many years, as it was in my life, for many people to carry for me, I recognise now that their generosity and love has been heroic.
A mature emotional well-being is achieved through:
- being connected, through talking and listening
- being active, through doing and enjoying and shifting your mood
- taking notice of the things which give you joy
- keep learning – surprise yourself in acquiring new skills and interests and developing and maintaining your old ones
- giving your time, giving your presence, giving your words
yes, giving your words, and these have been mine!.
My next blog will be: Faith and Space