I’ve been thinking a lot this week about emotional integrity; the idea of how we express our emotions and decide to acknowledge and take ownership over them rather than repressing them or allowing them to take ownership over us.
It’s really struck me over the last few years that there are many things we often fret about over which we have little or no control. And yet, the thing we do have complete control over, our reactions to situations and people, is the very area in which we often exercise little control. This week’s song choice Be Honest by Jason Mraz explores these concepts in the context of a relationship:
You can do what you want. If you decide you wanna move into a new stage, deleting me from pages in your mission statement; My love is unconditional, make no mistake.
It’s a big call. Unconditional love no matter what the other person chooses. Thankfully, most of the time, the challenges we are faced with are relatively more minor. A challenging conversation at work. Coming across someone who we just struggle with. Perhaps simply feeling provoked by the news. Yet the principle is still the same. We often have very little influence over external context but can always choose our internal response.
Yet, it’s also true that this doesn’t mean pretending everything is fine. This isn’t a venture into the territory of the ‘stiff upper lip’. It’s important that we are aware of our emotions and find ways of expressing and dealing with them intentionally. Being honest with ourselves about how we feel is the starting point. To re-direct a lyric from the song; I don't ask for much, just be honest.
But that self-awareness and honesty is intended for a reason; that we can begin to make the choices which are healthy, enabling, liberating. Without this self-awareness, and acknowledgement of our ability to choose self-determination over our inner life, even if our external context may be beyond our control.
For me, the lyric which is the title of this piece acts as a fantastic reminder. There's no dotted line to sign away your freedom. When we lack self-awareness, emotional integrity, the empowerment to recognise how we really feel, and the real choices we can make in response, we sign away our freedom, even without a dotted line.
Need to rediscover and recover your sense of emotional integrity and freedom? Why not consider booking an appointment with the author, Dr Dave Wood.
Taken from the album:
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash