On Psychology Today, there was an article entitled, “The Seven Characteristics of Emotionally Strong People”. This article caught my eye because I feel that I am lacking in this particular area of my life. Upon reading these characteristics, I found myself relating to the author’s ideas for emotional health. I believe that these characteristics are good to hold up in front of yourself like a mirror as if to evaluate just how emotionally strong you are.
1. Emotionally strong people are less discouraged by setbacks and disappointments.
I am a writer (for my second job) and I tend to get discouraged and disappointed if I go for an extended period of time without writing. Instead of just dealing with the issue and moving on and writing when I get a chance, I allow my emotions to be affected. I often get moody and my bad mood makes it difficult for me to write. I believe a way to combat discouragement and disappointments is to give myself the freedom to not meet daily and weekly goals for my writing. I do not live in a perfect world, therefore I am not going to hit the mark each and every day. It is good to set goals. However, goals are there to motivate and inspire. If they are pushing you over the edge, then they are not fulfilling their purpose.
2. Emotionally strong people are more adaptable to change.
Recently where I work, there was a big change. My methods and habits that I had gotten accustomed to were going to have to adjust and I did not like it. Change is inevitable. I believe that I must first live life with a flexible attitude. I need to learn to roll with the punches. This does not happen overnight and often comes with practice which means more change. Secondly, I must learn to breathe when change comes my way. Instead of going into hyper-drive and worry about all the negative differences that are going to arise when life gets interrupted, I should focus on the new beginnings that I will experience.
3. Emotionally strong people are able to recognize and express their needs.
This one is extremely difficult for me. Growing up, I never felt safe to or was allowed to express my needs. That trait carried with me into adulthood and colors how I interact with people on a daily basis. An approach to becoming emotionally strong, is to recognize my needs. I must learn what my likes and dislikes are. Then, I must work on finding my voice to express my wishes to people with whom I feel safe sharing.
4. Emotionally strong people focus on getting around a hurdle rather than on the hurdle itself.
When a problem arises, sometimes it can feel larger than life. I can feel overwhelmed and cannot see around, under or over the problem. I believe when this happens, I can make a list of tasks that need to be accomplished to solve the problem. On that list, I can include resources to help me achieve my goals. If I just focus on the problem, I am not doing anything positive. As a result, I may worry. Instead I should use my energy in a more productive way and solve the problem.
5. Emotionally strong people can learn from mistakes and criticism.
Often when I make a mistake and are criticized, I feel defeated. I focus so much on the sting to my pride and ego after getting called on the carpet instead of flipping the situation over and seeing it as a true learning opportunity. This happened to me recently. To cope with the sting of criticism, I am in the process of telling myself “Do not focus on the mistake. Learn from it so it does not happen again”. If I do that, I will learn from my mistake and bolster my self-confidence for the next time the situation arises.
6. Emotionally strong people tend to see the larger perspective in a challenging situation.
When I am faced with a challenge, I almost immediately get tunnel vision. This is not a good thing to do. If I have tunnel vision, I am only able to see one piece at a time and the view is scary. With this view, I do not know what I am up against or what is around the corner. The best thing to do is get a bird’s eye view of the challenge. From that perspective, I can see the beginning, middle and the end. I can see where there are bottlenecks and places that might need extra attention.
7. Emotionally strong people are able to recover more quickly from emotional wounds such as failure or rejection.
I have had to face failure and rejection my whole life. Due to these long standing emotional wounds, I have not recovered as quickly and as completely as I would like. In order to become an emotionally strong person, I must learn to let go of such emotional wounds and give them over to God. He is the ultimate healer of our deepest wounds. Through prayer, I know that I can be healed of these wounds.
I think this list is an accurate portrayal of characteristics displayed in an emotionally strong person. I know that I am not going to wake up one day and *poof* I will be healed of my emotional weakness. It is a process. It will take work on my part to conquer the insecurities that lie beneath the surface that are robbing me of my strength. In the end, I know that the work will be worth it.
How about You?
Tell me if you agree with these characteristics. Would you add characteristics? I would like to hear your thoughts. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.