When we care and express need honestly we use powerful perspectives that guide us objectively, comfort us with empathy, and ease our pain creatively. Optimistic Integration incorporates such able caring and trusting honesty. We experience this within ourselves, and between ourselves and each other.
This path of Optimistic Integration is also a path toward virtue. From objectivity used in caring ways we become motivated by truth. From empathetic caring we become motivated by goodness. And from caring that uses creativity we can find the art of experiencing the beauty of life. Thus optimistic integration connects us to the virtues of Art, Goodness and Truth. We become motivated by such virtues because, in practice, they are also expressions of love.
When we communicate caring within ourselves and with others we improve our abilities to express our needs and feelings, as well as our abilities to care. Thus using creative, objective, and empathetic perspectives we learn to better care about ourselves and others. Optimistic Integration is a way of developing a communication that improves our abilities to love well and to properly trust.
Optimistic Integration uses three verbal dialogs spoken aloud that are aided by our imagination. It is practiced by speaking to and from our emotional selves and our objective adult self. It is also practiced by communicating between ourselves and others using empathy and honest emotional expression. Additionally, it is practiced as a dialog between our emotional selves and our “higher creative power”.
These processes can also be described first as a communication between our feelings and our thoughts. Secondly as a communication between our feelings and our caring. And thirdly as a dialog between our feelings and our creative ability to experience our emotions in more positive ways and scenes.
How, precisely, is this done? Well, you talk out loud between yourself at the age of around six and your present more adult self. You also talk between yourself and those you love or who love you. (Why? Because without love there is no real communication, “enemies” are included because we can still love them, at least in the safety of this practice). Finally you talk between yourself and the part of you that can create positive feelings through suggested loving scenes or other artistic expressions.
There is a deeper non-language set of practices that can be practiced alongside these dialogs. Adding them however must come after a mastery of the verbal practices. They are an application of objective awareness or focus on what you feel in your body. A creative soothing such as mothers do with babies, as in humming,cooing and song can also help make a loving connection without words. Finally breathing in deeply so allow emotions to rise and be expressed can be helpful.
Optimistic Integration makes use of awareness of feelings, playing with feelings, and directly triggering feelings. Objectivity, like awareness, is a lighter more distanced approach to feelings, Creativity, like playfulness, is a bit closer to feelings than objectivity. Empathy like the use of emotional breathing helps to more directly trigger feelings.
The beginning practice of optimistic integration is simply educational concerning the techniques that compose the practice of Optimistic Integration.
What blocks both education and practice in optimistic integration? Firstly it is the lack of understanding. Secondly it is the lack of practice. Thirdly it is the helplessness associated with needs and feelings. The deeper successes in the practice of Optimistic Integration occurs when the caring that is the allowance and encouragement of feeling helps us safely relive any helplessness and thus unlearn and detach our feelings from it.
Core helplessness around needs and feelings leads to symbolic struggles for symbolic goals and needs. Such helplessness is based on trauma and deprivation experienced either early in life or in life threatening events in adulthood. This is why releasing our feelings and needs from feelings of helplessness can be so life changing.
You would be right in viewing this process as similar to emotional intelligence classes. It is also similar to approaches to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It could also be seen similar to an inclusion, in singular sessions, of all the major approaches of clinical psychology. These approaches might be seen as play and music therapies, talk therapies, and emotional trauma therapies. Again we see the use of play, awareness, and the encouragement of feeling. It is the feeling of our feelings that frees them from an association with helplessness
Who are potential students and practitioners of Optimistic Integration? Healthy average individuals who are not experiencing current traumas, and those who are under professional psychological care and guidance, are all potential students and practitioners of Optimistic Integration.
Optimistic Integration instructors are individuals who have experienced the processes and are able to teach them to others and guide others in the practice of them. These can be lay practitioners or professionals in the health fields, or religious counselors. Oversight is always recommended by more than just a single individual instructor when possible, and support groups are often very beneficial.
Optimistic Integration is a lifestyle as well as a practice. In this respect it is very like the practice of yoga, meditation, or forms of physical exercise. There is always room to grow in these practices. Thus the more humble the instructor the better.
Instruction in the practice is a bit like in the martial arts. The instructor develops and graduates the student to the instructor level, however, the true instructor is always practicing and learning.
David “Mitch” Sotelo