Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Resilient

"Aaaww!  That's so sad!"

A dear lady responded to one of my Facebook comments with that endearing show of emotion.  She has not been the first to respond that way when I have discussed emotional survival and the manner in which people can protect themselves from the rough tempests that beat around our hearts in this fallen world. 

One may well consider that teaching one's heart resilience proves depressing, but at the end of the day it is what will rescue us best when no other hand extends toward us in comfort.  God in His infinite mercy has taught me the epitome of being resilient - of being able to smile even as hell itself gnashes its teeth at us and leaves us unfairly injured or in pain.  I am grateful that through far more trials than I could ever have consciously wanted or foreseen, I have learned to be happy even in the midst of extreme, suffocating anguish.  I have always believed that it is not about what happens to us, but how we choose to handle those changes and insecurities of life that matters most. 

So how can we learn emotional resilience and how to maintain a positive attitude in spite of overwhelming opposition?  Like any kind of strength training exercise, we all harbor our own threshold of pain and much of what I would suggest may already prove a natural part of my gentle reader's emotional regimen.  But let's begin at the beginning. 

Firstly, happiness is a choice.  It may be a difficult one, but as a person who battled extreme depression tending toward suicidal thoughts as a youth I will tell you right now that happiness is a conscious choice. We have to want it and we have to give up wallowing in self pity and expectations of others.  Let it go.  Secondly, we will never be able to weather the storms of this nautical experience without prayer.  We may choose to pursue joy but we cannot get there without allowing the Master to take the helm. Thirdly, we need a surefire foundation and certain knowledge that God loves us and that every trial we undergo has been lovingly constructed by an Almighty Hand for our learning and benefit.  We need to always remember that He is watching over us and gives us trials in part to learn how to overcome them.

I have spent some time talking like a Christian; now we switch slightly and lean on the principles of yoga.  Breathe.  Fourth, we need to appreciate the little things.  When trials blare in our faces, we need to look for the good in other spots in our lives.  We need to appreciate the feeling of air in our lungs, or seek some part of our body or life that does not hurt and revel in that.  Turn your back to the pain and seek out the good.  Fifth, refuse to own injury.  Let us suppose that a friend betrays you.  Emotions rack you and bring you to your knees.  Instead of thinking, "I hurt" change that conscious thought to "So this is pain.  Pain is visiting me."  It puts a natural force field and protection around you and keeps anguish close but somewhat more at bay.  Sixth, be aware of yourself.  Recognize that it may not be as bad as it feels.  Remember that much pain can be made worse if you have not eaten, if you have not slept, or if you have allowed yourself to experience self pity.  Take care of yourself well, for you will need all the strength possible to maintain agony when it comes your way. 

The final thought I would share is to turn that negative energy into positive action.  Often at my lowest I will get on Facebook and randomly begin encouraging other people.  I will use that pain to look for the good in others and tell them those things I appreciate about them.  It will bring much needed smiles and friendship right back to you.  Indeed, I write this at present directly because a friend who I trusted randomly turned around and lashed out in a way they knew would hurt me tremendously.  Never mind that person.  God allowed it, and He probably did so that I might create a little needed distance between myself and said associate, remember to value myself more, and create a blog post that I hope may bring comfort and strength to others.

Wishing one and all a most beautiful and blessed day!
 

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