By Richard Kieninger
I have often been asked to describe what traits distinguish a mentally healthy person. The men and women who are emotionally mature and unhampered by mental conflicts demonstrate two essential features in the living of their lives: they are able to love someone other than themselves; they have a satisfactory capacity for work. The personality assets listed below are typical of the normal person:
He is able to earn his own livelihood, work without too much complaining, and he keeps too busy to be unhappy.
He is not overly attached to his parents or to the past.
He does not act impulsively, but rather he has learned to control his emotions, to exercise good judgment and to make rational decisions.
He utilizes the experiences of past mistakes to acquire wisdom in a positive way.
He accepts the hardships which befall him in a philosophical way and does not allow himself to become cynical or to hold neurotic prejudices.
He is able to get along with almost everyone, is flexible in his associations with others and is humanly understanding.
He tries to keep his nose out of other people’s affairs and not interfere in their lives.
He is tolerant, tactful and not argumentative.
He can accept criticism, is not overly sensitive and has a sense of humor.
He is glad to be alive and he radiates his joy and self-confidence. He has achieved a desirable life style which makes his life pleasant.
He has learned how to relax and enjoy recreation and the pleasures of life.
He is capable of giving love and sharing love with someone.
He has faith in mankind and has a healthy attitude toward people and the world around him.
The well-adjusted man and woman are likable persons, respected and admired by men, women and children. They never dominate others although they are dynamic and self-assured. They are free of neurotic indecision and follow through positively in their actions. They are poised and broadminded. There is no selfish motive in their dealings with others. They give love rather than expecting it. They are kind, considerate, and romantic. They are even-tempered and discuss rather than argue controversial issues. They achieve mutually satisfying sexual adjustments with their mate and can appreciate the view point of the other gender. They are not goody-goody and are just daring enough to be fascinating.
They can enjoy an off-color joke, but their tendencies toward adventure are never foolhardy and are always under control. They never compete with their spouse but seek companionship. Excessive complaining, fussing, bickering, teasing, and nagging are recognized by them as fatal to a marriage.
No one is spared the sorrows of life, but it is how one reacts which determines if one is normal or neurotic. The healthy-minded person does not allow himself to become incapacitated by depression. He keeps from becoming either overly elated or greatly depressed by employing constructive rationalization to avoid extremes. If he has a spell of the blues, he knows the mood will disappear as time goes by instead of surrendering to depression. The emotionally healthy person does not allow his worries and fears to make him over-anxious. He tries to distinguish between unfounded and real worries, and then he deals intelligently to solve those which are within his control.
The well adjusted persons exercise moderation in everything they do—eating, drinking, working, playing. They keep in close contact with the things which stimulate and inspire them, such as beautiful music, art, literature, love and religion. They cultivate sound living habits and constantly strive to develop techniques of self-improvement to attain healthier thinking and peace of mind. They refuse to be defeated by setbacks, and they work for the betterment of their future.
Emotional maturity involves the ability to stick to a job, to struggle through until it is finished. Maturity gives rise to one’s capacity to give more than is asked or required in a given situation; it is this quality which enables others to count on one—it is reliability. Persistence and forbearance are aspects of maturity with which one endures frustration, discomfort, hardship and unpleasantness. Determination to succeed gives one a will to live and to cooperate with others, to work in an organization under authority. The mature person exemplifies the twelve Great Virtues alloyed with the wisdom to adapt and compromise flexibly if necessary in the face of inimical outside pressures. Dissatisfaction with the status quo calls forth aggressive, constructive effort from the mature person to satisfy his social concern and devotion. The mature person readily sustains his own morale.
Without emotional maturity, true spiritual advancement is unattainable. The efforts needed for one to earn recognition by the Brotherhoods as having achieved Initiation needs a sound emotional platform from which to venture forth into spiritual realms.