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Build Emotional Strength

“Blessed are the flexible for there will not be bent out of shape.” -Unknown

Emotional strength pertains to your level of resiliency, flexibility and your beliefs. It is important to remember that your emotions do not comprise all of you. Your feelings are not the center of you. For instance, a friend of mine is constantly at the whim of her emotions. She dramatizes everything. Every situation becomes an attack to her personally. She feels people are always doing things deliberately to affect her. Do you know someone like this? Do you tend to take things personally?

How well do you handle the stress of life? Do you flinch when someone says something negative about you? Do little things easily upset you? Are you afraid to stand up for yourself? Emotional strength is all about being tough and resilient in the face of adversity – being flexible enough to bend without breaking, in other words. A strong foundation of self-love and respect will help you to feel stronger, but it will also reduce your need to seek validation and acceptance from others. Emotional resilience is to gain control over your emotions so you can bounce back from setbacks. Emotional strength often comes with maturity, but if not exercised as we grow it can be a weakness that erodes your daily life.

Fortunately, there are ways you can build your emotional strength. Even when you cannot control a situation or influence others to do so, you can learn to manage yourself. Below are some tips to help you become more emotional resilient everyday:

Know your Core Values
Identify what are the five most valuable aspects in your life. These are things that are important to you, i.e. love, honesty, family, independence, creativity, etc. Make a plan to include them in your life daily. Live your values now, don’t wait.

Learn and recognize your emotions
Take time to pause and categorize your feelings as you go about your day. If you can, write down these feelings whether positive or negative. If someone offends you note how that feels, try and put it in a word like, frustrated, disappointed, unappreciated. Make sure you write down the good feeling too. As we begin to notice the feelings inside of us we can learn to feel without reacting. The challenge is to find ways to bring these feelings to surface without denial, projecting them on others or using drugs or substance to deadening them.

Identify your Feelings
Learn how to read your body sensations that tell you how you feel. For example: recognize butterflies in your stomach, feeling choked up, sweating uncontrollably, wanting to throw things, etc. These are all example of your emotions coming to the surface. Rather than distract yourself with an activity, or using substance, pause and breathe through them. For instance: You can allow yourself to feel and say internally. “This is what jealousy feels like.” “I can manage this.” As you allow yourself to recognize your feeling it builds your emotional muscle every day.

Choose to accept what you cannot change
Rather than focus on the aspects you have no control of and continually reinforce the negative, choose to see things in a positive light. Don’t take things personally. Life is rarely the way it is suppose to be. Instead, life is the way it is. The way you choose to cope with what cannot be changed makes the difference.

Express your feeling in a healthy way
Talk to someone who will listen and you trust with your information. Write your feelings down in a journal. This will help you release your emotions and come to understand yourself better. Read about how others deal with their feeling. Reading can help you recognize emotions you can’t identify. Tell yourself: this too shall pass. Know that all is temporal.

Celebrate your positive emotions
Make yourself feel love and value on a daily basis. Notice the things that make you feel good and go out of your way to make sure they’re part of your life. When you feel enthusiastic for no reason recognize what triggered it? If you can know the buttons that make you feel good, it’s like having a bottle of personal happiness you can open up anytime. No matter what happens you have to live with you first. You can’t run from yourself so learn to live with yourself first! Go for It!

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