Thank you for reading Tender Hearted Warrior. After reading the feedback, I felt that a continuation of this post might be helpful. Specifically, I would like to explore emotional resilience.
It is natural for the tender-hearted warrior to become bogged down and weakened by emotional turmoil. They carry a heavy mental and emotional load but as stated in my earlier post, highly sensitives, also known as empaths, must take care of themselves. Cultivating emotional resilience or mentally strong traits will help you to feel more at peace with your personality and ensure that you will be able to continue blessing others and feel the joy of doing so.
Do you remember the proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Can we all just agree that life is going to give us plenty of lemons? It’s what we do with those lemons, that makes us or breaks us. For the highly sensitive, this is going to be a greater challenge but I myself am a highly sensitive/empath, and I’m assuring you that it is well worth the training of your mind. I have found the following general guidelines to be crucial to my survival.
>Realize and accept that life is full of difficulties, set-backs, challenges and pain. Don’t fear them. When you get knocked down, don’t stay down for long. Get back up, brush yourself off and commit to working toward overcoming the pain that you are experiencing. View the experience as an opportunity to grow as a human being.
>Realize that you won’t be happy all of the time. Our culture is obsessed with feeling good and being happy. It’s alright to be sad sometimes, just don’t get stuck there.
>Realize that there is nothing wrong with existing in the mundane of life. Life isn’t always fun and exciting. Those boring quiet periods, can be loaded with precious growth.
>Realize that relying on substances such as alcohol or drugs (legal or illegal), or even over indulging on food or spending, cripples you emotionally and mentally. Get help if you are enslaved by unhealthy behaviors.
>Realize that you can develop alternate habits that are healthy. Exercise, eating for nutrition, visiting with a supportive friend, journaling, listening to uplifting music, watching comedy or an uplifting movie and learning a new skill.
>Realize that you should not dwell in the past. This is not the same as remembering pleasant memories. If you are dwelling or obsessing, you are making deep grooves in your mind that tend to be negative. Try limiting your obsession sessions to 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before bed. Eventually, you will not need these sessions and your mind will be able to recall a pleasant memory without negativity.
>Realize that you should not be jealous of the position, status, possessions or accomplishments of others. No matter how minuscule, we all have good things in our own lives to focus on.
>Realize that you should not wallow in self-pity or self-doubt. If you have experienced a set-back, examine it and determine what could have been done differently. Learn from the experience, commit to doing better next time and move on. Do not use negative self-talk. It is helpful to have people in your life that will hold you accountable in this area.
>Realize that it is healthy to have a good balance between optimism and pessimism. A positive attitude combined with reality, can help you in many ways. A positive mental attitude alone is akin to lying to yourself – unfortunately, life isn’t always grand or perfect. When you learn to be content and joyful in the midst of reality, you are steadier when challenges come. Also this balance enables you to formulate executable plans which can give you something to look forward to.
>Realize that you should spend time remembering the past and looking forward to the future. This is not the same as dwelling on past hurts and mistakes or fearing the future. Focus on how far you have come and where you hope to go.
>Realize that this will not be easy. As a sensitive, you absorb the negative of life, so your brain has tendencies and leanings in that direction. Accept that you will have to continually practice these guidelines.
>Finally and I believe the most important guideline. Realize that although we are created with emotions and emotions are not sinful, we should not allow ourselves to be ruled by our emotions. Always, check your emotions against who God says that you are and what God says to do and what God promises in His word. Your emotions can sometimes mislead you but God never will.
Journaling is a valuable tool. A highly sensitive will easily believe that they are the problem in almost every bad outcome. Learn to examine yourself and if you have made mistakes in a relationship, job or other situation, learn from these mistakes, ask for forgiveness if appropriate and move forward to the next experience. In your journal, record what you have learned and what should be done differently in the future. As you struggle with self-doubt, this record will be useful to keep you on track as you try again. Also, the highly sensitive is naturally a feeling oriented and deep thinking person. They will gradually or suddenly slide back into reliving old painful experiences. You are usually aware of what triggers this slide and I would like you to use this for your benefit. Make a record in your journal. You will have three columns. In the first, include a description of what you are thinking and feeling – the problem, situation or fear. In the second, indicate whether it is real and confirmed or merely perceived and in the third column describe what action you will take, even if that is committing the item to prayer. You can be as detailed or brief as you feel necessary. This helps in separating each aspect which makes the problems smaller in your mind. Otherwise, a sensitive can have a huge pile of problems in their mind and they become overwhelmed. When the turmoil has passed, which can sometimes take days or even longer, journal about the success that you have experienced. These recordings will be valuable to you later, when you experience difficulty and need the hope that things will get better.
All of us are a work in progress, but working toward something is better than doing nothing at all – or even worse, trying to cover it with substances or over spending. Since each of us will experience the ups and downs of living this life, why not sharpen our positive but realistic perspective? If you find that you become bogged down in emotional and mental mire, I genuinely hope that these guidelines and suggestions will help you to experience relief.