The Healthy Adult Mode series is written to provide you with insights, ideas and suggested behaviors, which when implemented, will assist you to obtain the healthiest of all outcomes for yourself and with others in the 7 Core Areas of your life.
The term Healthy Adult Mode actually comes from Schema Therapy, and when in this mode the focus of your thinking, feelings and actions are to employ functional, sound, mature and “winning” strategies which reflect you’re becoming adept in accomplishing two primary goals: First, you’re effective in taking care of and advocating for yourself, and second, you’re equally effective in providing attention, validation, care and reasonable responses with those in your presence, especially during times of conflict when adult skills are sorely needed to repair relationship ruptures versus allowing your adolescent reactions to create hurt, pain, rage or regretful behavior. You can read extensively about “maladaptive schemas, maladaptive schema modes, ego defenses, cognitive distortions and of course, Healthy Adult modes in Choosing Change #6, #7 and #8.
The overarching goal of the Healthy Adult Mode series is to assist you to identify and practice strategies that help you to create and remain in a cognitive mindset where the Adult part of you engages in skilled behavior to “come to your own assistance,” so you’re able to safely, quickly and reasonably come to the assistance of others. Per the chart immediately below, you’ll know you’re operating to effect Healthy Adult outcomes when you become a “middle column person,” whose thinking and actions reflect the principles and practices of your Adult Ego State (versus the Angry, Defiant, Critical and Punitive Adolescent Ego States, or the Vulnerable Child part of you, who needs love, protection, and guidance from the Adults in the room!).
More than likely when you’re in your Healthy Adult mode I think you’ll experience satisfaction and contentment because you’re using your energy productively to create mutually beneficial outcomes due to the employment of the suggested processes and behaviors in this series, especially when you employ the strategies to brainstorm, discuss, create and develop positive outcomes in your 7 Core Areas and within reason in the 7 Core Areas of others. How do you create and experience the benefit of your Healthy Adult Mode work? Glad you asked and I’ll describe the process in a few important points below.
Important Point #1: Each of the 7 Core Areas has three parts to it. In Part 1 of each entry (“A Loving God“), I’ll suggest how attributes, values, virtues and characteristics are beneficial to you, per your work to develop and maintain a vibrant, conscious contact with your God. When you work to develop a conscious connection with your God, the Spirit of God consciously works within you to identify and implement the healthy choices and actions you’re to use to facilitate compassionate, wise, merciful, curative and healing outcomes for the life situations that need your insightful and purposeful responses.
In Part 2 of each entry (“Loving Yourself“) you’ll focus on developing and applying the attributes, values, virtues and characteristics identified in your conscious connection with God within yourself, with the overall goal of learning how to love, nourish and nurture yourself with these “nutrient rich” processes and behaviors. You’ll know you’re growing into a Healthy Adult when you begin to consistently show up for and take good care of yourself in your 7 Core Areas, where your thoughts and actions produce wise, competent, empowering and satisfactory outcomes for yourself in the varied situations of life you find yourself in.
Finally, in Part 3 of each entry (“Loving Your Neighbor as Yourself“) you’ll apply in your affairs with others the attributes, values, virtues and characteristics you received from your Higher Power that you currently live by, so they too may benefit from fruitful behavior that’s been beneficial to you. You’ll know you’re engaging in Healthy Adult behavior when you’re thinking about then delivering to others reasonable, mature, wise, agape-oriented, and solution-focused behaviors which create favor and grace in your encounters with others without sacrificing your dignity, self-respect, serenity and sanity.
Important Point #2: Why these words? Glad you asked! Just as I’m asking you to be thoughtful, intentional, strategic and deliberate with actions that impact you and others, I’m suggesting these terms and processes for their “high-yield” value, that is, they are intentionally chosen because they are the best of psychology, theology, neurobiology, communication and are relationship builders and enhancers! You’ll find the words in the table below, and as the subsections are complete (or posted) then I’ll add a hyperlink to each section to assist with your ease of transition from one section to another. Again, I want you to not only obtain a positive return on the work you’re investing in, but also to obtain the best of all possible outcomes for your personal benefit and for the benefit of others.
Important Point #3: Finally, a significant payoff from doing this goal and outcome-oriented work is that it creates a measurable standard for you to aspire toward and to live by, and a feedback mechanism that tells you if someone is real, authentic, healthy and is “walking the talk” (or if they’re missing the mark by producing contradictory behavior that’s opposite of their stated intentions).
The Biblical maxim “by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7: 16 – 20) is crucial because many have perpetuated or have been gaslit, deceived, and traumatized by others, who presented as Healthy Adults yet demonstrated unhealthy if not downright maladaptive, dysfunctional or pathological behavior, consciously or unconsciously.
When you say you love yourself (or especially when you say “I love you” to someone else!), then I think it is reasonable to expect to see behaviors that demonstrate and typify your intent. Your behavior doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to reflect therapeutic, healthy and curative processes which produce therapeutic, healthy and curative outcomes. Please know that regardless of your past, becoming a Healthy Adult is possible, but it will take a lot of diligent and consistent work in the your 7 Core Areas to develop, mature then deliver fruitful behavior that nourishes, edifies, heals and strengthens yourself first, then second in your relational encounters with others.
Ready to begin your work in the Healthy Adult Mode series? As you read the material in this series, make sure you set goals for yourself, and engage in consistent activity to reach your goals, and look to develop skilled behavior that’s a reflection of the activity you’ve engaged in (G.A.S. up!). I wish you the very best of all possible outcomes in your effort to grow into the wise, mature, functional and healthiest Adult person you endeavor to be!
Suggested Activity: Set goals for yourself and practice the recommended or suggested behaviors connected to becoming a Healthy Adult in the series. Devote a period of time (i.e., 30, 60 or 90 days) to work and develop characteristics connected to areas of focus. Partner with others to gain additional insight and wisdom in your work in this season of your life.
Skill to develop: The ability to practice and demonstrate healthy adult behavior in your 7 Core Areas in real time, that benefits you and others in your life.
Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3–2–5–4–24″ for additional information that could be helpful.