Jun 132011

Change is possible. Absolutely. But not totally. And, personal change doesn’t happen alone. People can change for the better. No one is stuck. They aren’t just the way they are. I believe and I have hope.

Essentially 2 questions determine someone’s possibility of changing and becoming a better person. 1. Does the person want to grow? 2. Will the person receive help? Answering affirmatively to both are the first steps towards a new life. If there’s resistance to either, then the odds are really low. Saying yes opens a world of possibilities.

Yes, every person has a particular personality. Some more than others. Acceptance of what is and who a person is does not stop with that. A person’s personality and habits is not static and set in concrete.

To be open to change is not to say a person is not good enough. Change is to say that a person is already valuable and has more capacity for good and for life. Admitting there’s room for growth is a humble posture to say I’m not perfect and I need help. Change is not easy. We need all the help we can get. I’ll take all the help I can get.

And where does this help come from? Other people who accept you and those who can give and speak grace into your life. That’ll get you on the way. To use the language of 12 Steps and of the faith community, ultimately, the power to change comes from the higher power greater than you and I, it comes from God.

Oct 212008

Continuing the series on “Developing emotional maturity – part 3 of many”. [cf. part 1: what is emotional maturity? part 2: how to develop emotional maturity]

Peter Scazzero is one of the few authors that compellingly connect spiritual maturity and emotional life. Since he’s got a couple of published books, that lends reliability and rings authoritative more than articles I’ve found randomly on the internet. [ cf. official website, EmotionallyHealthy.org, has resources for individuals, groups, and even church-wide; video introduction to emotionally healthy spirituality ]

Jay’s Library noted these 4 points from Peter Scazzero’s book, The Emotionally Healthy Church [read Jay's comments too]::

  1. It Is Impossible To Be Spiritually Mature Without Being Emotionally Mature.
  2. To Be Emotionally Mature You Must Be Willing To Look Beneath The Surface.
  3. To Be Emotionally Mature You Must Go Backward To Go Forward.
  4. To Be Emotionally Mature You Must Learn To Manage Pain.

Ginger comments about Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality book ::
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Oct 012008

Let’s kick off a new series, “Developing emotional maturity – part 1 of many”.

What is emotional maturity? Emotional maturity isn’t something that necessarily grows with chronological age, i.e. you don’t get more emotionally mature when you get older. Some adults are very emotionally immature; some have never matured emotionally.

And, you can’t tell someone that. Telling an emotionally immature person they’re immature will get an explosively immature reaction. Childish. Not a pretty sight. And it’s too bad. It’s those emotionally immature people that need a lot of help, but how in the world do you help them? They have to want the help, like the alcoholic who has comes to the point of admitting they need help.

There’s a lot to unpack about this topic, as I began looking more closely at it, and as I review my own journey of emotionally maturing. Not to say that I’ve arrived.

I do think about this topic, and have to say that I haven’t come across great books or teachings on this. Don’t recall any classes or seminars on this. And, it seems that cultures have different categories for emotions and feelings, if the difficulty of navigating both Asian and American cultures is any indication.

Before I find out how does someone develop emotional maturity, let’s consider what emotional maturity looks like. From my quick scan of the Web, these are my tentative thoughts in process:

  • Emotional maturity is being responsible for one’s behaviors– both actions and words.
  • Emotional maturity is NOT controlling one’s emotions. It’s controlling one’s behaviors and choosing to act in a way that doesn’t impulsively give in to reactive feelings.
  • Emotional maturity recognizes it’s okay to feel. It’s human to feel the full range of emotions. It’s not okay to act out immaturely, definitely not illegally.
  • Emotional maturity seems to go hand-in-hand with developing mental health.
  • Emotional maturity doesn’t mean every person will feel the same way about a situation / stimulus / idea. There’s some kind of relationship between core values and emotions / feelings. Would you believe values can change?
  • There’s probably a fine difference between emotions and feelings, but it’s too close to call for me, so I’m using them synonymously. Add a comment to explain otherwise, ok?

James Burns says, Emotionally Mature People Are Responsible. Excerpt below:

Emotionally mature people accept responsibility for their actions. They don’t look for excuses for their behavior. There may be reasons or circumstances why emotionally mature people act in an irresponsible way, but they don’t waste time making all kinds of excuses. Emotionally mature people don’t feel victimized by circumstances or other people. Even when circumstances or events are difficult, they deal with them without resorting to blaming others. … It becomes the responsibility of the individual to overcome difficult circumstances that were not really the fault of that person.

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Sep 192007

When I write down my life slogan, it’s “seeing life change up close”. I’ve heard Rick Warren say that he’s addicted to changed lives, and that propels him to do what he does with growing his church’s attendance, even though it’s not about numbers. I haven’t quite figured out what actions I’m propelled to do for what I like to see. I do know that it takes a particular finesse to cultivate access to another person’s heart, which is where I believe life change happens.

I’ve gathered random bits of data for this series of posts. There are different approaches to facilitating life change. (I know I am in desperate need for life change myself. Yet, I also am discerning how to live out of how I am made, rather than being someone I’m not.)

According to this article, there are only 3 things that motivate people to change:

  • pain – emotional or physical pain gives motivation to change
  • pull forces – transition in life stages or response to inspiration
  • push forces – motivation from someone else or circumstances

I’ve heard great things about the 12 steps to recovery, originally defined by Alcoholics Anonymous. Having met people who’ve been through this kind of a process and really work it, I’m amazed by their honesty, vulnerability, and profound life change:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The Twelve Steps for Christians is enhanced with Scriptural references, and explicitly names God as the “higher power”.