This is the fourth in a series of articles on resilience.
The fourth habit is: Resilient people know what to do with their emotions.
Another way of putting this is that resilient people are emotionally intelligent. That is to say: resilient people understand what emotions are for, pay careful attention to their own emotions, and practice speaking up about them. I referred briefly to this trait in the first article in this series: Resilient people tell it the way it is.
Emotions are largely related to your own self-preservation and your relationships with other people. If you are following the wrong path in life and doing things which are not right for you then your emotions will warn you about that. If you are in the wrong type of relationship then your emotions will warn you about that too. Similarly, emotions are there to guide you through a crisis.
Resilient people are not ashamed of being scared. Fear is simply an emotion which tells them they need all the help they can get. So they ask for it. The same goes for sadness. That emotion is not, as some might think, a sign of weakness. Sadness tells us that we have lost someone – or something – that we loved and that we are now in pain. And that in the short term we need the consolation that only other people can give while we search for the best way to move on from our loss.
Likewise, anger tells us that we need to get things out in the open and assert ourselves, and frustration that we are banging our heads against a brick wall in a situation we cannot change. While boredom shows that we are stuck in a rut.
Emotional expression and resilience go together. In tandem they guide us towards healthy relationships and life-styles while also showing us how to cope with tragedy when it comes around, as it sooner or later must.