E M O T I O N A L S T R E N G T H. For many years I thought that emotional strength - the ability to handle your emotions and their hold over you - meant developing the power and resolve to turn them off and not feel them at all.
I started this as a coping mechanism to my parents’ divorce at the age of 9. Feeling things so very deeply but learning how to control them by burying them down - deep deep down - in my soul. If I didn’t engage with them, they couldn’t effect me, surely? Short-term this worked but over the longer term, these emotions found a way of rising up to be felt; whether it be in repeated patterns/triggers from other experiences or through other dysfunctional manifestations. I thought I was controlling them but they were actually subconsciously controlling me.
I soon realised true emotional strength isn’t about toughness but resilience - it comes from the capacity to allow your emotions to flow. Being able to allow yourself to feel them, observe them and release them - to come and to go. The art of allowing and observing takes time and practice. Learning how to take a step back into your higher self to observe your emotions is a great tool and technique to develop your capacity for emotional strength.
Recognising and identifying what emotion you’re feeling, (for example - “ah here’s fear again”) and asking it why it’s come up and why it wants to be heard, (“I’m scared I’ll be rejected... because actually deep down I don’t feel good enough”) can be incredibly useful in gaining greater understanding and awareness of ourselves and how to move forward positively in situations. It can help us identify areas and issues that require some work or development.
Knowing ourselves and paying attention to our emotional responses can lead to greater self-mastery and self-healing. Because it’s not about how little chaos and drama we experience in life, but how we respond to it, that counts.