IntroductionThe importance of emotions in the development of a human being it appears cannot be overstated. Healthy emotions aid the formation of a strong and positive personality, while unhealthy emotions appear to cause dysfunctional personalities in general. Therefore, an understanding of one’s own emotions and ways to handle them, direct them in a progressive manner is imperative in order to lead a fruitful existence. The book Caring Connections: without Co-Dependency (1990) by eminent psychologist and columnist in the Daily Oklahoman, Dr. Eric L. Dlugokinski, is an illuminating work that throws light on how one can strengthen one’s inner emotional ‘self’ through conscious inward analyses and determined action.
As a licensed psychologist with over three decades of experience in the treatment and prevention of emotional disorders his works on Mental Health Education and Communication, are detailed with examples appropriately illustrating a point, and most importantly, easy-to understand. This essay shall briefly illustrate the important principles in the cultivation of healthy emotional adult relationships based on the above book of Dlugokinski. It shall also, discuss briefly the issues of empathy, compassion, and self-direction of people, with examples from both general and personal lives.
In the process, it hoped to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of emotional states, their potential to effectively limit or block relationships within one-self as well as with others, and how their patterns can be recognized and modified with conscious effort. The Two Relationships - with the Self and with OthersSocial relationships are an integral part of human communities. As such the every individual is a part of the society that he or she lives in, and is partially identified through it; however, the society in turn, consists of individuals who are its members, who sometimes give the community its identity, just as the above cultures were frequently identified with men like Homer, Plato and Aristotle.
Thus, the relationship individuals build with others is significant. Equally important is another relationship – one which the individual builds within – with his or her own ‘self’. The confusion, disarray and disorganized pattern in which some people lead their lives, with addictions to alcohol, drugs, obsessive ambitions are but external symptoms of a improper establishment of relationship within one-self (Dlugokinski 1990, p.
3). The root cause of many of the present day ailments are anxiety, stress, fear, frustration, discontentment and the like. According to Dlugokinski (1990) when one is able to establish boundaries, set and strengthen certain healthier ways of relating to the self within and with others, it is more enriching and beneficial to both sides (pp. 3-4). He pertinently points out that, “connecting with one’s self and treating one’s self with dignity and respect, seem to be the fundamental elements for resolving these crises” (Dlugokinski 1990, p.
4). This is because, the quality and texture of the relationship enjoyed is dependant on the kind of treatment that the relationship (with oneself and with others) is given. Unknowingly, or by tradition, one may have learned that relationship with others to be more important than with one’s self, or may have suffered in abusive relationships. Therefore, frequently it means unlearning what ever on has hitherto learned, and start from the beginning. This process though difficult, is important, since one has to overcome the unhealthy patterns that have been followed until now.