Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Resilience and Self Esteem


Today I was looking at an article online on 5 ways to show authority -- without yelling  Interesting stuff. It came on the heels of a video someone posted on Facebook declaring "Feminism of the world has emasculated men!", along with graphics that were supposed to show how this is happening, but really was just a very clumsy attempt to manipulate men who had some bad experiences with women that they could exploit for their own end.

This got me to thinking about the factors that make for a resilient attitude, and a true sense of self, that does not rely on making others feel weak, just to make us feel strong.

It's quite hard to visually demonstrate the concept of strength. Most often we see picture of really buff guys who work out and have huge muscles. In reality these men are often not strong as they appear. They can do weights but that's not quite the same as the lumberjack of old who took to the woods with a cross-cut saw and could work all day at his task.

Authority, strength... any quality that we might hold in high esteem comes from within and is often a reflection of our beliefs, many of them imprinted while we were children growing up. As it happens our weaknesses are also a reflection of these beliefs too. What we believe about ourselves, what we believe about others and what we  believe is a reasonable way to 'be' in the world. all affects our perceptions and lead our actions (or sometimes inaction).

For many men and women too, feeling strong is not something they think applies to them. Of course there will always be someone stronger, but improving physical strength is possible for anyone who is able-bodied, and even for many who are not. Improving strength and stamina are important elements in our overall wellbeing and affect the way we feel about ourselves and strengthening physically, in turn can improve a feeling of confidence and an appreciation of increased competency in some areas. This all adds to our concept of what we can do. The sum total of these elements adds to our concept of self and builds our own self esteem.

Personal Power
Power is often associated with the ability of someone else to 'do' something to us. They have authority of some kind that we don't have but this is often a perception that doesn't really exist, outside of us making it so. When we understand our boundaries around what we will tolerate, what we will accept and what we will not tolerate, then we get a much more well-defined notion of our own strength and personal power. We begin to 'feel the edges' and as we do, so our resolve strengthens. We can change how we respond to intimidation. We can reflect more usefully on when we may be stepping on the boundaries of others, and gain some new respect for them too.

When we are clear on owning our own power, we can also use that power to be strong when things don't go the way that we might have hoped. In that situation we can rely on the truth that all states - how we feel in a moment - are temporary. The deepest sadness, despair, even elation, have an end. New things happen, circumstances alter and we experience new states.

Sometimes people give away their personal power because they 'have to'. Those who seek to take power from us are bullies and worse. But no matter how intimidating they present, ultimately we hold our own power and it is a decision that we face, if we allow others to take it from us. We are stronger than sometimes we allow ourselves to be.

Preparing Yourself To Build Resilience
Our body needs to train for our muscles to become stronger and to build stamina.  Good food fuels the body and is a joy that junk food and "creamy cheesy" can never bring us. As we stop trying to fill the Void with wishes that things were better and sugar fixes, we may even discover a part of ourselves that we have never met before. Our perceptions change, the world looks better and so too our psychological well-being.

Healthy thinking, improved attention, memory, recall and problem-solving strategies can be learned.

Developing our emotional skills and managing our state help us to be more well-balanced and flexible in our disposition.

Compassion, how willing we are to accept difference and allow forgiveness underpins a healthy happy life and empowers us to let go of those bad feelings that tie us to old problems and prevent us growing in confidence. It opens the door to live with true meaning and purpose and a spirit that nurtures not just others ... but our own Self too.

 Check out my Resilience board on Pinterest


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