I’d like to follow up my last blog with a bit about resilience.
The definition of resilience is this:
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
How does resilience relate to taking a risk and doing for someone else what you’d like from them? Well, how do you feel if you take that risk and in return you receive a blank stare, change of subject or hurtful comment?
For me, resilience in this example is honoring yourself and your needs. Need number one for all of us is safety. A close second is emotional respect. I’d like to address some considerations for those of you that found my last blog uncomfortable, as though you couldn’t or wouldn’t do what I suggested.
The people I wrote about in my previous blog were people I trust. They are benevolent people who genuinely care about me. Although it felt like a risk for me to take action knowing there were no guarantees that my efforts would produce the results I hoped for, I knew these people would not react hurtfully through direct or indirect anger (aggressive, passive or passive aggressive).
To take the risk I dared you to take, the relationship has to have emotional respect and trust. The opposite of emotional respect is emotional shame and in those types of relationships being vulnerable is unsafe and self defeating. If you’re in an emotionally shaming relationship it’s worth your wellbeing to pursue and invest in building a compassionate relationship. It takes considering not only how you feel about sharing your vulnerabilities with the other person but how they feel about sharing with you. If you’re not both invested in learning to communicate using emotional respect, you’ll be fraught with feeling hurt and unfulfilled.
I remember a time I was desperately trying to support someone close to me who was going through a very difficult time. Unfortunately, the more their stress escalated, the more they alienated and compartmentalized me; they simply stopped answering my attempts at contact. This type of withdrawal is a form of passive emotional aggression. After four months of heartbreaking patience, doing the very thing I suggested in my last blog and receiving virtually nothing in return, I tried one last time to have a conversation. This time I was met with emotional passive aggression - blaming and shaming comments; “You backed me into a corner,” and “You’re projecting.” Neither of us were very good at compassionate communication. After that conversation I made the decision to take the attention off of what I thought they needed and put it on myself and what I needed to learn about myself.
I learned that it was my own need for security (emotional respect) that I was attempting to fill by “supporting” this other person. Recognizing and respecting my own needs was a long road to pave; it was easier to expect it from someone else - it also made it easier to blame someone else when I didn’t get it.
Resilience in emotional respect is recognizing what you need to do to take care of yourself. It’s using and receiving compassionate language. It’s having and receiving patience and feeling safe to be imperfect.
Resilience is finding the courage to do for yourself what you’d like another person to do for you.
Learner and sharer of all things healthy, active, esteem building, growth promoting, witty and Hawaiian