The Most Underappreciated Gift of MLK

The Most Underappreciated Gift of MLK

So much will be written today about this incredible humanitarian, that these words will be drops in an ocean of honoring, but important drops nonetheless.

What most people miss is that Dr. Martin Luther King taught us how to release depression and rage. His story is the history of a man who maintained a delicate and crucial emotional balance.

In the field of wellness and psychology, it is only recently that we’ve realized that when it comes to strong emotions, mad and sad balance each other. We always have them at the same time to the same extent.

Yet most of us get stuck in one or the other. When we cut off from our anger (fire energy), we get stuck in sadness – depression.  When we suppress our sadness (water energy), we get stuck in anger – rage.

Dr. King could have easily slipped into depression or rage, and the result would have been devastating for the civil rights cause.

Instead, as it says in his autobiography, he started his social justice movement on his angriest day. And he wept every night of his adult life for the 21 close friends that he buried before he himself was killed. It was the juxtaposition of these two free flowing emotions that kept him balanced and allowed him to get up every day and lead a non-violent movement.

There is much to learn from this man, but among our lessons is this rarely recognized gift – offering us a model of how to stay emotionally connected with ourselves, and how to honor all of our strong feelings. He showed us how to allow our hearts to feel both our passion of protective anger and our compassion of heartfelt sorrow.

Dr. King showed us what Emotional Freedom looks like and lives like. In our escalating efforts for emotional freedom and mental well being, we would do well to let our hearts follow his lead.

MK Mueller is the author of “8 to Great: The Powerful Process for Positive Change,” and “Taking Care of Me: The Habits of Happiness.” She also offers a LifeCoach Certification program and a K-12 Curriculum for her 8-step success skills process.

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