Whilst resilient people may appear not to dwell on their emotions, Authentically Resilient people are able to fully engage with a wide range of emotions – both their own and those of others- including the tougher more challenging emotions. Many writers (even writers on resilience) talk about ‘positive and negative emotions’ – but to label them this way is to judge them as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ which may lead us to steer away from the ‘bad ones’ or believe we should be avoiding them. This is not so. Emotions are simply emotions – varied, complex and paradoxical, yes, and sometimes tough, but they are not good or bad. When we try and avoid the emotions that we find more challenging (e.g., anger, fear, shame) we actually decrease our resilience. By having the courage to face them – to be able to sit with them – we learn that they don’t have the power to destroy us.
When faced with a difficult situation, many emotions will arise in us. Some we can identify, others can be harder to pinpoint. They may be familiar, or unfamiliar. Some may feel overwhelming or downright terrifying. And that is when it can be tempting to simply shut them down, or hide them away for fear that they may undo us.
But shutting down our emotions is simply not sustainable. They need processing. If we try avoid our emotions we can be sure they will trip us up later. Supressing them can cause damage, or they’ll come out sideways impacting our health and wellbeing as well as our ability to interact with others authentically.
Authentically Resilient people ‘do emotions’ -they engage with them, learn to bear them and are able to emotionally regulate. What we can be sure of is that if we don’t do emotions, they are going to do us!