Yesterday I began exploring the characteristics and attractiveness of emotional strength. Today, I will share what we are making more important than being emotionally strong and how we can empower ourselves and stop being a victim when we face demanding people.
Barbara Roux-Levat spoke yesterday for ETC, the network I founded 4 years ago. She held a brilliant presentation and led us in a dynamic interactive workshop on Emotional Strength, where she effectively intertwined her personal story. Her own pain and experiences touched us and made an impact. Her learning’s gave her audience hope. Her tenacity and authority gave us strength to stand up for ourselves and not to continue to accept and allow ourselves to get undermined by anyone.
She brought to our awareness some common reasons – often subconscious – to why we sometimes allow ourselves to live under circumstances that put us down and make us weak. Often, our need for affection, acceptance, appreciation and love lead us to authorize others, unconsciously, to disappoint us, control us, mistreat us and bring us down in other ways. In Barbara’s words, “our need for love and affection can be a potent drug.”
When we are facing a demanding person, a partner, boss, colleague or even a child and we are longing for love and appreciation, we may believe or hope that by being even more loving and kind, we will transform the other person and make him or her give us what we need. We somehow hope that our kindness will brush off. Barbara said no – people who are not naturally loving, respectful and kind towards us need our limits. It is our responsibility to show how we want to be treated. When we are emotionally weak we go between being permissive and going crazy – depressed and mad are two opposite emotions some people live under all the time. When we go crazy we often end up with guilt. Guilt is the emotion that steals most energy and that keeps the wheel going. But there is a solution!
So how do we go about building our emotional strength in these tough situations?
We need to value ourselves. We are precious! We need to see ourselves as important. We should learn to know ourselves so that we can be clear about providing ourselves with what we need, and to put a stop to what is unacceptable to us. We shouldn’t do things with the hope this will be reciprocated; we do it because we want to do it. And we don’t either do things out of fear.
If we recognize that people who have anger inside of them often want to fight and it is easy to become puppets around them, then these situations can be managed. If we limit the ‘perpetrators’ freedom to have access to what they normally are used to; when they no longer get what they want and they truly miss it, their motivation to change will all of a sudden wake them up as they hear us through their own suffering. ‘The language of pain’ is perhaps also the only language some people understand and can therefore be their greatest teacher.
Barbara also touched on the direct link between our thoughts and our emotions and that we can be happy now without attaching our joy to anything outside of ourselves, and develop a mindset where our happiness is unrelated to circumstances.
Being grateful and saying thank you, even if it doesn’t go our way (there is always something we can learn in any circumstance), helps us to build internal happiness.
A few points to remember:
- Emotional strength is both healthy and attractive
- Our relationships change when we decide to change
- Emotional strength works like a muscle, the more we train it, the stronger we become.