What's emotional health and wellbeing, and why does it matter? That's a big question, and Daryl Van Tongeren has lots of answers and ideas.
Daryl is a social psychologist, college professor, a person who now knows how to swim (which I learned about after reading his newest book), and author of The Courage to Suffer.
His latest book, Humble: Free Yourself from the Traps of a Narcissistic World, is the focus of this thoughtful and thought-provoking podcast. Click here to listen to information and wisdom about emotional health and wellbeing.
Here's a quick checklist for emotional health and wellbeing:
The more comfortable you are with your emotions and know how to communicate them in healthy ways to others and set firm boundaries, the healthier you are emotionally.
You're not afraid of your feelings, nor are you afraid to express them in healthy ways to others. Importantly, you also know how important it is to set good boundaries. Your overall well-being will get stronger and stronger when you do these things.
Well-being means feeling comfortable, healthy, and happy. The good and bad news is that you're the only one in charge of that.
And when you take charge of your emotional health and well-being, your life and everything in it begins feeling so much better, can I just tell you?! You'll be making good choices for yourself, feeling satisfied and fulfilled with work, and joyful in reciprocal relationships (each gives and takes equally).
Daryl has a lot of fascinating things to say about narcissism, including that “the last two decades have been a shrine to ‘the Self’, [which means that] we’ve put our meaning and happiness in other people’s hands.”
Most of us have a "fragile sense of self — we’re externally puffed up and internally hollow: sad, lonely, and anxious."
Another point Daryl makes is that “our preoccupation with ourselves seems to be backfiring.”
It doesn't take a lot of effort to look around and see the rampant narcissism running through so many leaders. Also, it's easy to see how our preoccupation with ourselves has marginalized and isolated far too many people.
And the truth is that too many of my beloved therapy clients are caught in the trap of narcissist relationships. So many people have never been taught about emotional health and well-being, which means they don't know how to teach their children. And so the unhealthy cycle continues.
Daryl believes that "seeing the world accurately and objectively" is the first step in cultivating humility, handling conflict, and setting good boundaries.
Mindfulness, also called mindful awareness, is how we can begin doing that.
Sometimes we need to have "tough conversations" with ourselves, which mindfulness helps us do.
Daryl writes that we can begin cultivating humility in this narcissistic culture by starting from a place of emotional self-acceptance.
Emotional self-acceptance is also where mindfulness comes in because it helps you 1) become more aware of your emotions and 2) learn that whatever you're feeling is OK.
There's great freedom and emotional health in seeing who you are and allowing yourself to feel whatever is true for you.
Mindful awareness also helps you realize when you're maybe being a tiny bit extra defensive. You know that knee-jerk reaction to defend yourself against any possible attack, whether or not it's ever gonna happen? Yeah, that defensiveness.
It's easy to develop the habit of going on the attack before you get attacked, just in case you are going to get attacked, right? But that defensiveness can keep you disconnected from yourself and other people. No one needs any more loneliness or to be any more disconnected.
Importantly, mindfulness helps your awareness of yourself and can help you accept how things are, including how you are.
Also, it's an excellent help for emotional regulation and understanding how to deal with emotions in a healthy way, which is the foundation for emotional health and well-being.
Finally, it can help you figure out if you're too attached to ideas about how things are supposed to work, your job or career, and the people in your life who may be toxic.
The meaning of humility, according to Daryl Van Tongeren, is
a secure openness to the world, where we can be honest with ourselves and others about our strengths and limitations.
It's a way of approaching ourselves, other people, and the world around us with a sense of enough-ness … that opens us to the world as it is.
[It's] knowing yourself, checking yourself (ego), and going beyond yourself (an orientation toward other people).
He also says that humility means "being the right size." I love that description.
I'll admit that I learned a lot from spending the time to read Daryl's book, as well as the hour we spent doing the radio show. The definition of humility he offers is a lovely touchstone for checking in with ourselves about our emotional health and our mindset.
If you feel secure being open to the world, can hear your truth about how you're feeling, and are confident that you.are.enough ... well, then, you're pretty good to go.
Your emotional health will be robust, and your mindset will be open and connected to yourself and others in healthy, compassionate ways.
I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist. I think of emotional health and wellbeing as “loving yourself into wholeness.”
In my experience, learning how to love yourself can be a lifelong journey. Emotional and spiritual healing and wellbeing happen when you deepen into your true self, uncovering, processing, and releasing layer after layer of learned self-doubt, even self-hatred.
Then, you can begin replacing those unhealthy layers with what's good and true and authentic for you.
It’s really about understanding how to feel emotionally safe in a dangerous world. You'll experience freedom when you know how to recognize being connected with something grander (and more important) than your tiny, ego-based monkey-mind thinking. That connection can be as simple and beautiful as loving and caring for your doggo.
Online therapy helps stressed women find the time away from day-to-day pressures to calm their nervous systems. It also makes it easy and convenient to process emotions and learn new neuroscience techniques to cope with challenges, heal the past, and begin building your future..
I strongly believe in the power of online counseling. Along with the research that proves its effectiveness, I see the positive benefits for my clients every week. If you've got questions about online therapy, please click here.
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