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Sharpening the Saw --- Socially and Emotionally

I am sure we can all agree that to be fully healthy we need to be socially and emotionally healthy, which means health in our relationships. Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, used the phrase “emotional bank account ” to describe the level of closeness and trust, or “richness” in our relationships. A large balance in the “bank” means lots of positive connection, trust, and closeness in the relationship. To have this large balance requires consistent and intentional deposits in the EBAs of my relationships

The Emotional Bank Account is at the center of all of your relationships. Essentially, the EBA is a measurement of how much “equity” you have earned with the other person. What does an emotionally strong and healthy relationship look like? Some of the characteristics of these relationships are:

Some of the characteristics of a healthy relationship are:

Respect - listening to one another, valuing each other's opinions, and listening in a non-judgmental manner. Respect also involves attempting to understand and affirm the other's emotions.

Trust and support - supporting each other's goals in life, respecting each other's right to his/her own feelings, opinions, friends, activities, and interests. It is valuing the other as an individual.

Honesty and accountability - communicating openly and truthfully, admitting mistakes or being wrong, acknowledging past use of abuse , and accepting responsibility for oneself.

Shared responsibility - making relationship decisions together, mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work.

Negotiation and fairness - willingness to compromise, accept change, and seek mutually satisfying solutions to conflict.

Non-threatening behavior - talking and acting in a way that promotes both partners' feelings of safety in the relationship. Both should feel comfortable and safe in expressing themselves and in engaging in activities.

These characteristics are essential in family, work, and friendship relationships in order for them to thrive. All healthy relationships involve honesty, trust, respect, and open communication between partners, and they take effort and compromise from both people. There is no imbalance of power. Partners respect each other's independence, can make their own decisions without fear of retribution or retaliation, and share decisions.

What are deposits and withdrawals in a relationship? DEPOSITS = positive, caring, kind words and actions that make the person feel cared for and respected. WITHDRAWALS = negative, cutting words and actions that hurt and make a person feel unloved and disrespected.

We all have plenty of experiences where another person made a withdrawal from our Emotional Bank Account. If you consider the kinds of things that hurt or damage someone’s relationship with you from your own perspective, you will realize that you have made these mistakes as well and will be more likely to do better. Common withdrawals include criticism, ignoring, lack of follow through with something you said you would do, being disloyal, dismissive, withdrawal (physical and/or emotional), and being unavailable.

What exactly are “deposits” into the emotional bank account of our most important relationships? How can we intentionally make those deposits? Showing interest and attention, offering verbal or physical affection, giving compliments, listening, following through with commitments, showing understanding, apologizing, and showing up or spending time together are acts that offer connection, and build closeness. Anything that says “you are important to me, and I value you” will make a deposit.

It is vital that you take good care of your own emotions.

Emotions give color to our lives, and taking good care of our emotions can bring additional brightness and vividness to our daily existence. On the other hand, neglecting our emotions can quickly drain the color from our lives and life can quickly become dull, gray, and dull.

There are many things we can do to be emotionally fulfilled in our lives. Here are a few examples:

· Build strong relationships

· Have deep and meaningful conversations

· Spend intimate time with your partner

· Give service

· Meditate

· Find things to be grateful for every day

· Do at least one thing you enjoy per day

If this is a serious problem for you, you can get help learning to manage negative thoughts and emotions better with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

You can’t be at your peak productivity if you don’t feel good about yourself and your work. That requires emotional health. Reflecting on your feelings, connecting with people, being grateful, expressing yourself - all that leads to better emotional health.

It’s also important to learn how to process emotions in a healthy way, especially the negative ones. Since emotions are closely connected to our mind and way of thinking, this layer also includes managing negative thoughts properly and staying optimistic in life. I find connecting with like-minded people in church, small groups, support groups, interest groups is a key element in maintaining my own emotional and social health.

Improving emotional awareness and equipping ourselves with emotional - management tools (together often referred to as emotional intelligence) is so essential that it can be one of the greatest investments a person can ever make.

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