by Rod Smith

When it comes to mental health and emotional wellness I like combinations, especially if they are paradoxes. I can work with them. They challenge me, offer me goals toward which I can work.

For instance, an emotionally healthy person is both intimate and autonomous. He or she has to have both and, at its best, in equal share. These two states, at first glance seem mutually exclusive, but they are essential wheels on the same bicycle. Unless I can be me without you (autonomy) I will not be too good at being us (intimacy) or me with you.

The less healthy person usually becomes so invested in the “us” that the “me” gets abandoned in the name of love. This is when one person in the twosome – the higher-functioning one – will whisper to close friends, “I just need a little space; a little room to move.”

Naturally, it is as unhelpful when it goes the other way too, meaning the “me” is so strong and independent that there is hardly a semblance of “us.” Careers can so fully consume a couple that the “us” of the couple is left in the dust until there is no semblance of togetherness at all.

Another combination I love is that of Ambition and Humility – and within this combination is the essence of true leadership – and the essence of Jesus’ Leadership style.

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