The 5 Commitments, in writing

The following is a contract between you and yourself. This pact provides the seeds and tools for maintaining and sustaining love — both with yourself and with the people in your relationships.

post-it on mental health agreement1. My feelings of interest, anger, pain, shame, loneliness, frustration and joy are mine and mine alone. They are extremely valuable. No one makes me feel a certain way, but I certainly am impacted by others and their behaviors. These may incite different feelings in me. I have the right to share these emotions with others in an appropriate way. I have a right to be heard.

It matters when I feel loss. I need to express some of my feelings of anger, sadness, shame and pain. I will remember to express my deeper feelings with those who care about me.

The depth of my emotions originated in childhood. I suppressed these emotions in the past because my experiences and feelings had not been valued. At least, not in the way that I needed them valued. I will be mindful of not expressing myself in extremes or being abusive when I talk about my feelings — with myself, or with others.

2. If I do not value and have compassion for my feelings and my longings — and do not express them — I am in danger of developing a shadow. This is a dark side that is the carrier of deep, important parts of who I am — parts that will now become hidden. I am now in danger of becoming enslaved to my shadow and I am at risk of controlling and criticizing others for the very feelings and longings that I have denied within myself.

Staying true to my authentic voice, I do not need to hide in a shadow world. I can remain in the light of my authentic creative world. I have no need to impose my thoughts and feelings on others.

3. I am comfortable expressing my truth without controlling anyone else because I now value myself deeply. As long as I am expressing my truth — and have created relationships with those who care about how I feel and my longings — I feel secure and have no need to control or shame others. I have developed love and compassion for myself because this value system has been strengthened.

4. I have a right to receive compassion and empathy after expressing my feelings. I may not always receive these validations, but I have attracted loving people in my life who provide me with the essential empathy that I need.

I do not expect the people in my life to take responsibility for all of my feelings. They cannot always know which of their behaviors triggers my pain, shame, loneliness, anger, fear and joy. Nonetheless, those close to me care about how I am impacted. They are sensitive to who I am. That is good enough for me.

5. Now that I have deeply embraced my feelings and my longings, I am able to view others with love and compassion. I have reclaimed this love for myself. In this solid territory of truly seeing and valuing myself, I am now willing to negotiate my needs — while valuing the feelings and needs of others.

Now I am able to experience true intimacy in a world of interdependency. Not dependent, not independent, but interdependent.


  1. Ana says

    Hi,I was looking to see if I can find something about Validation of Feelings,because I’m been having mayor prolems with my partner of 10 years because of the “lack” of validation that I receive from her about my feelings and emotions;she doesn’t know what the word “validation” means,so I came across this web page and send her the link to see if she will take the time to read it,if you have any recomendation about this particular subject,please let me know I will appreciate.Thanks,Ana.

  2. admin says

    Validating the feelings of another is a very important part of true intimacy. Even though we cannot make one another ‘ feel’ a particular feeling we need to understand that we impact one another and that if you have a feeling about someone’s behavior and you share it , then is is both important and helpful for you to hear that your feelings have been heard, valued and understood to the best of the other persons ability.
    For example if you tell someone that a behavior of theirs caused you pain and you share this, then it is not okay for the person to dismiss your feelings or say you shouldn’t feel pain. This is your experience and you need people in your life who care about how you feel, creating empathic friends is part of growth and true intimacy. Thank you for your comment. All the best to you Dr Wood

  3. Athanasios says

    Everyone need’s to be accepted but people are selfish and dont wana push themselves to show they care for the other’s as much as themselves..people are lacking emotional IQ and that is detremental to a happy life…

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