A great discussion last weekend on Emotional Resilience on Facebook, here are my follow up thoughts and summation:
November 28th, a friend of mine’s 21 year old son committed suicide by hanging himself. Were the signs there? Should someone have known? Did he reach out? Did he let anyone know how badly he was hurting? Did he have any idea how much his family loved him? Did he consider the pain he left behind? I weeped deeply – hurting for his wonderful mama, brother, aunt, and cousin (among many others). All people he was close to and whom loved him unconditionally.
This is not a case of a lonely person with no support. There are no easy answers to the many questions. Those that loved him poured over his messages and last conversations looking for answers.
I got to thinking about emotional resilience. What is it that helps us to get back up when we have been knocked down? Unexpected grief loss is extremely difficult to deal with. They say grief loss takes a solid 2 years to get through. I know this from experience. 2 years is pushing it in just accepting and being generally ‘OK’ with the new ‘normal’.
Beyond grief loss, other personal tragedies can also be difficult to deal with. Being molested as a child. Being raped or sexually assaulted. Divorce and heart break (among many other things).
Most of us have poor coping skills. Coping Skills certainly isn’t a class taught in school. Many turn to mood altering substances like pain killers and alcohol – though I don’t think for a second that this is a good answer. Many of us beat ourselves up emotionally and sometimes physically by feeding our emotions with food that is bad for us and not taking care of ourselves first.
So I asked a question among my friends and the answers were amazing…….
What makes a person emotionally resilient? What traits, characteristics, life lessons, emotional support, examples, methodologies, practices, (and what-not) help a person to be emotionally resilient – without turning cold and hard toward the world?
Here were some of the answers:
Accept your grief, honor it, feel it fully. Let it go, and repeat!
Reach out to others. Don’t try to manage alone, isolation is a killer.
Choose gratitude over anger. Be grateful we were able to experience something so beautiful and wonderful as their love and their friendship.
Focusing on your pain is detrimental. It is better to get outside of yourself. Raise awareness about loss, reach out to others that are hurting.
Hold on to the positive, happy memories. Talk about them. Relish the good memories. Don’t bury them.
TIME heals. Realize that the pain gets easier with time.
Find comfort and solace in those that love you. Don’t be alone or try to go it alone. It is OK to hurt, and it is Ok to need others to hole you up when you don’t feel strong.
Pray, a spiritual path can help. Trusting that there is a bigger picture and some good that can come out of loss and heartbreak. It’s OK to scream out and say “I can’t handle it!”
Get grounded in nature. Take walks, pet your dog, find comfort in the natural. It helps you to get outside yourself.
Give to others. Reach out to others. Sometimes taking a step to get outside of your personal pain and help another fellow earthling is healing.
It is really important at these difficult times to take very good care of your personal well being. This means eating right and super healthy (Top Longevity Foods) , and avoiding harmful foods (Like Dairy & Processed Meat) and alcohol as much as possible. A whole food plant-based diet is best for your health. This also means using mindful practices like yoga, walks, and attending a faith based services. You can’t be good for anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first.
I hope these things help you become more emotionally resilient. I know they helped me. If you are struggling, please know that you can reach out to me at any time. Don’t forget to reach out to others that may be hurting.
Read my post: ‘Do You Scream At the Top Of Your lungs?’