Emotional Defeat

I woke up this morning, with the intent to write about hypocrisy. However, it seems that as my day progressed, and my tormentor discovered he was nowhere near breaking me–as he’s been attempting to do these past few weeks–he moved on to the thing that always trips me up…my emotions.

It began at my doctor’s appointment. I’ve been praying, hoping, and waiting for healing, for a few years now (about 7). In fact, I stopped praying for healing not too long ago, because I figured God just doesn’t want to heal me, because if he did, then he would have done it by now. I’ve just accepted that it’s a part of my life and I just have to deal with it. However, recently, I’ve been reminded a few times not to give up and to continue requesting healing, so I sat there praying again, while I waited for the doctor to come in.

Finally, my doctor comes in…Last time I was in her office, she was pregnant, and now, she explains to me, her son is two months. As she’s telling me about the delivery I notice her eyes move toward my left hand and I get the feeling that she wants to ask me if I plan on having any children, but as she realizes I’m not married, she withholds the question.

As she moves forward with the appointment, she apologizes for taking so long, and explains that she had a 16-year old patient that she was talking over things with (did I mention this is an OB/GYN appointment?). I had seen the girl in the waiting room and I wanted so desperately to shake the girl and tell her to wise up! To tell her she didn’t want to be like me!

I headed home after the appointment feeling completely defeated. Feeling unloved, undesired, alone…I see my friends with their families–children and husbands–every day, and I don’t feel like this…but today…*big sigh* I guess my emotions have just gone haywire. I’m sure I’ll feel better in the morning.

Lord, please be with me; I know You love me and have a plan for me and I’m sure it’s much more than what I could ever imagine or accomplish on my own. In times like these, I need your strength and comfort more than anything else; and I want to know that I haven’t been forgotten.

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)

Thank You for reminding me.

Ethical Values vs Emotional Desires

I was doing homework and came across this in my text. It’s what I learned the hard way and have been trying to explain to all the women in my life. It’s too good not to share!

Other than the most rigid people, most people will find themselves caught in a tug-of-war between their ethical standards and their emotional desires, or feelings, with the latter often leading to some breaking down of moral behavior at some point in their lives. I have a counseling practice, and I often tell my clients that feelings and emotions are like the interior design of a house–moving and poignant, even beautiful at times–but only truly useful if protected by the exterior and structure of the house–the walls and roof, which are the framework, like our ethical standards, values, and principles. Thus, although human beings are certainly emotional beings, individuals with high character are not driven to act solely on the basis of their desires and passions.

In fact, individuals who are motivated primarily by emotions are often emotionally unstable, not because their emotions are wrong, but because their values and principles are not well enough defined and/or developed to contain or regulate their emotions, oftentimes leading to the inability to control their impulses. For instance, an employee might become angry with his boss and feel like striking him, but the employee doesn’t because he values nonviolence. A person’s ethical values should then be the rudder of behavior, and although there are certainly times when people will be driven by passion, or will need to follow their hunches, emotions and desires serve people best when they aren’t chief in the decision-making process.

Another reason why it is important to understand the relationship between our ethical values and our emotions is because we often use our emotions to justify our unethical behavior. Cheating on a test is wrong, unless he test is too hard and we hate our teacher; adultery is wrong unless we’re in a loveless marriage, are extremely lonely, and fall hopelessly in love with someone else; lying is wrong, unless we need the day off and will only get paid if we say we’re sick, even though we’re not; violence is wrong, unless we’re provoked; and drinking too much alcohol is wrong, unless we’ve gone two weeks without and just had a very bad day. Thus, one of the primary functions of ethical values is to keep us on a good moral track, particularly when we find our ethical values at odds with our emotional desires and urges. Certainly there are times when emotions should lead, and we certainly do not want to become heartless in our application of rules. When someone is driven to act solely on the basis of their values or rules, they are often deemed rigid legalists. But when someone behaves in a manner that is solely driven by their feelings and desires, they are often deemed immature, volatile, and impulsive.

Martin, M.E. (2011). Introduction to Human Services: Through the Eyes of Practice Settings, (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.