How to Armor Up for Emotional Resilience

warrior and sheild statue What is emotional resilience? Emotional resilience is response ability. It means enduring through all that life throws your way -- no matter how adversarial or painful it may be. It means realizing that happiness comes from within. And that you forge your life's meaning, by creating your life as a mindful construct. What makes emotional resilience a challenge? Life is hard. It's painful. It's suffering. On top of all that -- society blames those pesky emotions for human suffering. Society's really in the dark on emotions, and how you can work with them. Society would have you believe that your emotions are not to be trusted, that they seek to destroy all logic, and that they're dangerous to your health. But working with your emotions is really your only shot at emotional resilience. That means, you need to armor up -- so that you're ready when society tries to convince you to stay far away from your emotions, by: invalidating them, minimizing them, ignoring them, suppressing them, judging them, or rationalizing them away. Society encourages polarization, but integration is the way to emotional resilience Not only does society try to polarize emotion and reason -- pitting them against one another as opposites. Society also tries to polarize your emotions -- so that they're mostly positive. There's great stigma attached to the dark, or negative emotions. And an even greater stigma that comes when you accept those emotions as having a right to exist. On the surface, it may appear that love and light make for greater happiness, but your brightest optimism comes from your darkest pain. And your dark emotions can ultimately fuel personal growth in ways that the light emotions won't be able to. The positive emotions make you feel safe and comfortable where you are at. The dark emotions compel you to grow. They move you forward to make important changes in life -- so that long-term, you can experience more of the positive emotions. Polarization won't work, because just like emotion and reason are intertwined in the brain, the dark and light emotions have a symbiotic relationship. And if you're polarized from within, you're bound to let society tell you how to live, even when it goes against your values. What does emotional resilience armor look like? medieval armor piecesEmotional resilience armor comes from having a clear understanding, mostly gained from experience, of how valuable working with emotions can be. Once this understanding is strengthened, then you can create and maintain strong personal boundaries -- only expending time and energy on activities that align with your mindful constructs and enhance your response ability. Boundaries aren't tangible, so you can't easily see them. But they do provide the framework for your actions and behaviors. You can think of boundary-work as acting in integrity -- in alignment with your values. Why armor up for emotional resilience? You're a lone soldier who just stumbled on an ancient treasure map. That maps leads into yourself -- your emotions and all the gifts they have to offer. Society doesn't want you to take the journey. But since you live in society, you can't just ignore its cries. And fighting against it won't be very effective either. So fight for your emotional resilience. And armor up by thinking critically about any one or thing that claims polarization is good for you. How to start armoring up today suit of armorThese articles demonstrate practical ways to armor up for emotional resilience: Having the courage to face the dark... Finding value in the dark... Accepting the dark emotions... What's emotionally healthy even if not socially acceptable... Avoiding the Self-Help/ New Age pitfalls... Maintaining boundaries... Subscribe to Mindful Construct to learn more about emotional resilience and how to armor up.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

hasiyo adams July 13, 2010 at 2:23 am


Jonathan December 9, 2011 at 12:54 am

I just read a bunch of your blogs, and you are the help i have been looking for!
i just read your ” empathy” page and its exactly like me, the whole anger thing. and how you could tell what there struggles, fears etc. I am the same way, and you helped me realize that i can use that to my advantage and help them instead of giving them advise that they are probably going to take the wrong way. anyway, thank you so much for this writing. Until today i was trying to figure out my emotions by my self, but i didn’t know anything about them and to be honest it made my emotions go way out of whack to where i was trying to alter them in ways to help me be more able to cop. with some depressing emotions i constantly get. but it made things way worse, and i started to feel like i wasn’t normal and i felt like sometimes i couldn’t make the right decisions. Anyway, That would be great if you wrote a book, and i would def. buy it right now if i could!

Melissa Karnaze December 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

Hi Jonathan, I’m glad you found the site!

Yes, trying to alter emotions in order to “feel better” can backfire, and actually allowing them to be usually leads to a more natural positive transformation.

Thanks for your kind words.

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