A Book Review: Emotional Virtue

“This guy must like me, he chats with me almost every day.”
“This girl must have feelings for me, I think her tweet was meant for me.”

In a world of social media, iMessengers, chatting and even online dating, it’s almost too difficult to find meaning in the relationships we find ourselves in. Assumptions about a person’s romantic intentions based on a Facebook post or a single tweet are out there in the open, in our heads. What is real cannot be considered real anymore.  The true meaning of a relationship is being reduced to what it’s supposed to be but then is filled with twice the drama. Others can’t help but give in to too much emotions based on their fluttering hearts – which they mistakenly identify as “la-la-love.” Then what happens when everything goes offline or someone looses his connection? Bye-bye to the relationship or whatever you think it was and one is left heartbroken, crying in the corner.

Sarah Swafford puts everything into perspective in her book “Emotional Virtue:  A Guide to Drama Free Relationships.”  I heard about Sarah and her Emotional Virtue Ministries from Crystalina Evert when she, Crystalina, came here to the Philippines to give a chastity talk.  Sarah is also a Catholic speaker who talks about chastity and dealing with our emotions.  For her, our emotions should not be taken for granted, yes, we practice chastity but it should not only be physical, it also involves our emotions, our feelings, the way we deal with our relationships.  Because as they say, emotions tend to rule us when we get heartbroken. And more than that, we, as men and women should be guided by virtues. So when the book came out in the market, I immediately browsed my favorite online bookstore and purchased a copy.

Virtue is striving for human excellence.
Virtue is forming the habits of knowing and choosing the good.
Virtue harnesses and trains your passions and emotions to work toward the good.
Virtue gives you the freedom to love.”

The book itself is a guide on how to keep our emotions in the right place as we wait for the right person God has prepared for us.  One thing in the book I considered particularly funny as well as striking was when Sarah described an all-single-girls typical Friday night:  from a chick-flick marathon to planning your destination fantasy wedding to mentally stalking him and moving on to social media stalking.  We, girls, devoted 3 hours checking each photo with his dad, uncles, and sisters and then you start texting him and conclude, “Oh, he must like me already.”  Admit it, we have all been guilty of this once in our lives.

But this is not only a book for women but for the men as well. Sarah discusses the world’s idea of perfection, how to face our own insecurities, and live the life that God wanted us to be – with our emotions intact.

Natural Progression of a Relationship

What I like most about this book is the discussion or the list about the natural progression of a relationship. Just what I have said above, in a world of social media, it is easier for us to have notions about a potential relationship, and this book is a guide – a must read for all who want to have a meaningful and lasting relationship.

The list that goes from:

  1. Getting Acquainted
  2. True Friendship
  3. Having a DTR – Defining the Relationship
  4. Dating
  5. Courting
  6. Engagement and lastly,
  7. Marriage

Swafford goes and discusses each step – in particular order – and how important that one should go through each stage – leaving no gray areas.  It also discusses animatingly and realistically the process of moving on and moving forward that keeps your heart hoping for the greater things that God has been planning for you.

Allowing yourself and more so God, to be the “boss” of your thoughts. You have found a weapon as your heart and mind are being attacked by the world, saving yourself from all the drama you and the people around you do not deserve.

In our relationships, we eventually need to lay everything down in front of God, surrender all to Him. A better way to start doing that is to guide our hearts, minds, and our emotions.

I leave you with quote in the book that will also be forever embedded in my mind:

“Emotions are good, but it is not their job to recognize the truth. Our mind must recognize the truth; and in the task, it must not be dominated by our emotions. But once the mind is locked in on the truth, and our emotions are following our mind’s lead, then we should encourage our emotions.” – Sarah Swafford.

 

(Also Published in: http://designforcoffee.com/index.php/2015/11/11/a-book-review-emotional-virtue/)

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