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When it comes to emotions, the most important gift we can give ourselves and others is to validate that having emotions is appropriate, acceptable, and part of being human.

Published Mar 11th, 2024

By Kim Crawford Meeks
Spiritual Care Manager

“REACH: Reaching Out to Offer Hope and Receive Hope” is the name of a presentation I have offered for many years. Hope is such a vital part of our lives as we leave yesterday behind, cope with today, and move forward to tomorrow. 

The Meaningful Reflections articles for the next three months will be based on this presentation as we move into Mental Health Awareness Month in May. The presentation will be offered for all employees to sign up for if they choose, and dates and times will be announced soon. 

In the REACH presentation, we cover: 

  • R – Reality of being human 
  • E – Emotions 
  • A – Assessing for distress 
  • C – Connections 
  • H – Hope (What to include in your own coping toolbox) 

For this month, let’s focus on the first two letters of REACH.  

The letter R stands for the reality of being human. As humans, we are physical, emotional and spiritual, and these three components create the whole person. We want to reach out to offer support and hope to our patients in all aspects of who they are and maintain hope for ourselves in all these areas too.  

We never want to focus only on the physical but want to remember that each person has the emotional and spiritual also. When we meet someone along our journey, we are meeting them physically, and also emotionally and spiritually. 

The letter E stands for emotions. The four core emotions are mad, sad, glad, and scared. We love glad! We love others to be glad, and they love us to be glad also. The reality, though, is that mad, sad and scared are also part of life. Dr. Robert Plutchik identified 34,000 emotions from the four core emotions. Wow! We have a lot going on inside. On those days when we feel many things, but don’t know why, or can’t really identify which emotion we are feeling, it is all because we are human.  

It is a myth that we can leave how we are feeling or what we are coping with at the door. We may compartmentalize our emotions, and we may not talk about all that we are going through while we are in certain situations, but it is all still inside, and we are feeling it. The most important gift we can give ourselves and others regarding emotions is to validate that having emotions is appropriate, acceptable, and part of being human. 

In April's Meaningful Reflections article, we will look at assessing for distress and what to say — and what not to say — to those in distress. Then, in May's article, we will look at hope.

Reach out to offer hope and receive hope.

Learn more about Spiritual Care at USA Health. Patients, family members, and USA Health associates are encouraged to call the Meaningful Reflections Line at 251-445-9016 for a daily recorded word of encouragement.  

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