The Words of the Stein Family

Emotional Wellness - A Family Affair

Pamela Stein
August 2010

Pamela Stein was blessed as an 1800 Couple in 1975 with Dan Stein and lives in Bowie, Maryland. The Steins have four children who are blessed, and five grandchildren. Pam is a massage therapist, wellness coach and is pursuing her creative non-fiction certification at UCLA's online Writer's Program.

Not everyone is aware of the influence in their lives of emotional logic, the underlying feelings that can cause a person to act or behave completely normally from his own viewpoint, but in fact does not make sense to someone else. Emotional logic is especially prevalent in family relationships, where love lessons are first learned. Then layers of feelings, thoughts and behaviors are developed over the years from birth to adulthood, forming the foundation for our individual personalities.

Emotional Logic

We tend to seek relationships in which we feel comfortable, yet we might not be aware of why we are attracted to a certain person. In fact, we are often attracted to people who most resemble our primary caretakers. Do you ever wonder why you sometimes instantaneously trust or do not trust someone? This is where emotional logic comes into play. If we have been hurt while growing up, we have an imprint in our emotional body which, as we grow to maturity, remains there, but we don't necessarily keep the details of the memory in the conscious mind, If we have been loved and cherished as a child by a certain type of person, then we feel glad when we meet someone similar years later. Next time someone walks up to you in the bookstore and says, "Don't I know you from somewhere?" it very well may be you have the look or sound of a past emotional imprint.

For instance, Peggy and Janna both came from families where the dad was gone a lot. Both fathers had successful professional careers which kept them long hours at the office. Although they were able to provide well for their families, they had limited time to spend with their children. When Peggy's father came home from work, although often late for dinner, he spoke with each of his children, giving quality time, showing genuine interest in their comments or stories or problems. He also took time with Peggy when she went to bed, reading a story to her or talking softly in the dim glow of the hallway light.

Janna had a different experience with her father, who was also a good provider and very successful in his career. When Janna's father came home, he often was tired and distracted. He seemed distant at the dinner table, and was not communicative during the evening hours. Janna was unsure how to relate to her father, and often felt lonely around him while growing up.

When Peggy married Jim, she was proud of his success as a lawyer, but she knew that he wouldn't be home a lot. She felt confident in his love for her, and as the years passed she arranged family time in the evenings around Jim's availability. If Jim was often late for some periods of time, she stayed up for him and made sure that he felt welcomed when he came home and comforted him because he worked so hard. She was proud of him and wanted him to know that she was there for him.

When Janna married Bob, she was excited to have her own home and to be Bob's wife. She was happy that over the years he worked hard and strived to provide for her and their children. When Bob's success made him come home late every night, or he was unavailable on the weekends because of his many client demands, Janna began to feel insecure. She felt left out, and abandoned and then angry. She began to confront Bob with what seemed reasonable to her, "You don't love me because you stay away from our home so much." Bob could not understand what Janna was talking about. How could his hardworking success translate into his not loving her? It didn't make any sense.

Only, it did make sense, from an emotional viewpoint. Inside Janna was the old childhood message that she was not important, that the most important man in her life her father didn't care for her as much as he did his job, and when he was home, that he was too tired to be with her. Janna had feelings of lack: lack of love, lack of value, lack of belonging. She covered up that emptiness with acceptance that she had to be a good girl to stay connected to her parents, and that she shouldn't bother her father with her distant adoration of him.

But now as an adult, she couldn't bear the feelings of being unwanted and unloved, which were very much alive inside her. So it was logical to her that the reason Bob was spending so much time away from the home meant that his job was more important to him than she was. No matter how much Bob tried to reason with her -- and she knew with her own reasoning that he loved her, she couldn't shake the feeling that she was unloved.

Unconditional Love

Dr. Greg Baer states in his book, Real Love, "We can't love unconditionally until we have felt unconditionally loved ourselves. We can't give what we don't have." From the way they grew up, Peggy's emotional logic is one of security and belonging, while Janna's emotional logic is one of disconnect and confusion. Based on their emotional health, they each have a completely different game plan for the same situation of the absent husband. Peggy is full and able to give; Janna is empty and fearful, starting a conflict to try and get the love she is missing. Because of her buried pain, she is unable to express herself confidently.

In all unhappy relationships, the real cause of unhappiness is a lack of unconditional love. When our emotional bank account is full, we do not fear situations of lack or inadequacy, but face them with confidence and energy to fill in the gap, also known as cheerful giving.

When we have it, we can give it. If Janna could only experience ongoing unconditional love (not necessarily from her husband), she could fill the emptiness in her heart, heal her past fears and pain, and see the true wealth of her loving husband. Because she would feel full in her heart, she would see that his hard work is his expression of love for her and their family.

The Family is the School of Love

Emotional health is dependent on how much unconditional loving a person has experienced in life, and then is able to generate towards others. The family is the school of love and is the perfect fertile soil to experience all the different stages of love from birth to adulthood. The family that is created with God as a member offers an exciting journey for emotional growth.

It is the family that holds the key to the power of healing past hurts, the power to create new and happier memories every single day, and the power to realize a prosperous and love-healthy future. It takes skills and thoughtful intention to create emotionally healthy people, and there is no better school or teaching institute than the God-centered home and family that we are each divinely entitled to create during our time on earth. It is, in essence, our purpose in life.

True Parents teach about the Four Realms of Heart. Growing through the four realms of heart occurs by

(1) receiving unconditional love as a child;

(2) learning the politics of relationships through sharing and negotiating with siblings and peers;

(3) creating conjugal love with an eternal spouse to create a new family; and finally

(4) becoming parents and grandparents who resemble the full creative heart of God, able to love unconditionally and multiply happiness to create a world of peace.

Creating a true family for God is the great holy work of our faith, for this is where God lives, and this is our destiny. Now is the best time possible to invest in our emotional health. Tending to our emotional wellness is a priority in all that we do each day, and is paramount to a heavenly, peaceful world.

For more information on resources, classes, and small-group programs, contact Pam Stein with Coach4Life. 

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