What is Emotional Strength?
Emotional strength is the ability to handle and cope with challenges without becoming quickly enveloped and overwhelmed by the possibilities of unfavorable outcomes. Emotional strength is responding progressively, openly, thoughtfully, and critically to what is happening. While we are aware of our emotions, we tend to allow them to guide how we respond. Emotional strength lies in how we unpack and think through our emotional experiences.
How do we build and develop emotional strength?
Building an Emotional Identity
While we may be accustomed to riding out our emotions in whatever way they present themselves, it’s toxic to dwell on these emotions especially when faced with challenges that overwhelm our ability to feel in control. In traumatic experiences, we become the emotions we feel leaving us unable to learn and work through how we feel. Emotions such as fear, guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, jealousy, resentment, and rage often result from our inability to deal with our emotions.
Learning how to build an emotional identity can help in identifying who it is we are in our emotions. Becoming aware of where we are, who we are around, and how we feel in specific situations allow us to think more critically and thoughtfully about our emotional responses. Invading and intruding our impulsive emotional responses also grants us the permission and power to gain control. Continuously and unapologetically asking questions regarding how we feel and what we feel also blocks our capacity to become overwhelmed.
In order to gain access to our response and reaction rates, we must first know what is causing us to respond and react. How do we identify our triggers and how do they affect our emotions?
Self-Awareness and Regulation
An increase in self-awareness, self-reflection, and mindfulness provides the necessary guidance for emotional strength. The more we are aware of how our emotions affect our responses, the more we can identify emotional triggers. In turn, we can evaluate and improve our resilience, confidence, and peace of mind.
Emotional awareness augments vulnerability as we become more comfortable expressing how we feel. Asking for help can be critical in working through our emotional strength as some emotions are difficult to identify on our own. Becoming open and honest about our experiences can enable us to recognize and manage deep-rooted emotional trauma.
As we become more aware of how we respond emotionally to our triggers, we can move on to regulating and acknowledging our actions through changed behavior.
Maintaining Emotional Strength
Acknowledging and increased awareness of our triggers is only the first step in developing emotional strength. The next step is action and maintenance. What do we do about our emotional identity and self-awareness?
Building and maintaining emotional strength can help us to manage, regulate, and sustain toxic emotional responses. Creating and staying true to boundaries, protecting and limiting who/what we give our energy to, meditating, practicing self-care and mindfulness, not comparing our experiences to others, and separating our feeling from that of those around us are examples of how to build, develop and maintain emotional strength.
The more we do for ourselves, the more power and control we have over our responses, reactions, thoughts, and emotions.
Emotional strength as much as physical strength takes work and persistence. In order to change and maintain the stamina to be emotionally strong, we must work constantly to become better versions of ourselves. Understanding who we are is the most important part of building emotional strength. Having and utilizing our emotions is strength in itself. The ability to control and work through our own emotional traumas allows us the power and privilege to progress. Let’s be who we choose to be!
Nina is a Latina from Brooklyn, NY who struggles with depression and anxiety. She finds refuge and healing through her writing since she graduated from college in 2016. Nina writes to spread awareness and hope to those who struggle with their mental health silently. She also strives to motivate and encourage self-acceptance. She enjoys creating creative and uplifting content on her blog SparklyWarTanks.com where she shares her experiences, notes, poems, quotes, and articles