Emotional toughness requires building our resilience and overcoming our vulnerabilities. Similar to visiting the gym and exercising regularly to toughen our physical muscles; we can also build up our emotional muscles. The critical question is how?
Today’s article is a synopsis of a book by the same title, written by Amy Morin, which comes highly recommended for those who can make out time to get it. The author is an experienced psychotherapist who brings her expert knowledge and years of clinical experience to highlight in very simple terms, key lessons for building our emotional muscles. Here are the 13 things to avoid, if you want to be emotionally strong.
1.They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves
They are proactive rather than reactive. They accept the situation and immediately look for how to positively turn things around. What can I do now and moving forward? They don’t give up and feel sorry for themselves.
2.They Don’t Give Away Their Power
They have an internal locus of control and take pride in their wins and accept responsibility for their failures. The easy way out for most of us is to blame external circumstances when we fail. They stand firm and don’t succumb to coercion.
3.They Don’t Shy Away from Change
Emotional strength comes from embracing flexibility which allows dynamic growth. If you are inflexible and rigid, you will have a hard time maintaining emotional peace of mind.
4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control
Covid-19 happened to us all and we were all stuck with lock-down and travel restrictions. So, what next? You applied for a job or admission into a school and failed. Move on. It is beyond your control. Learn from possible mistakes in your application and improve though. But no point crying over spilt milk.
5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone
Freedom and emotional tranquillity come from the realization that you will never please everyone – no matter how hard you try. Do your best and try to be as pleasant as you can but don’t sweat it if someone does not like you.
6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks
Do not be foolish in taking dangerous risk but do not also hold yourself back from taking calculated risks that may bring immense benefit. Emotionally healthy people consider the risk versus benefits in their decision making.
7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past
You can’t run an effective race if you are fixated on searching for things behind you. Indeed, you may need to stop and start walking backwards. While retrospection is helpful to guide the present and future, fixation on past hurts and failures as the reason for your current challenges and refusing to move on is NOT a habit of a mentally strong person. They look back, recognize the issues it contains and then MOVE ON.
8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over
Repeating the same mistake over and over again simply means that you have failed to learn the lesson. Mentally strong persons learn the lesson and avoid repeating the same mistakes.
9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success
There is enough space in the sky for all birds to fly and soar. Envy and jealousy are petty habits that consume negative energy while not advancing your purpose. Mentally strong persons do not waste their time with envy and resentment. They learn from other people’s success and apply the lessons to their own lives so they can also succeed.
10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure
They recognize that failure is a normal part of life. So, they simply learn, dust themselves and keep moving.
11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time
We all need private time to do some introspection. We should not be afraid to be alone with our thoughts. To reflect and plan for the future. Emotionally vulnerable persons prefer to numb their minds with distractions rather than have to think and be alone.
12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything
They appreciate that life happens to us all and do not feel entitled to anything. They accept the good, the bad and the ugly that comes their way and roll with it.
13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results
The reality of life is that true success comes from delayed gratification. The ability to work hard and be patient for a long time until victory and sustainable success is attained, is a key indicator of mental strength. It is infants and babies who desire instant gratification and are unwilling to wait for anything. Mentally strong persons are able to muster patience and perseverance for the long haul.
If we want to strengthen our emotional muscles, we need to begin practicing some of these attributes. So, we can slowly but steadily become more resilient over time. It requires patience and perseverance.
Tribune Article for the column “Your Mental Health & You”
Thursday, 29th September 2022