“Don’t Take Anything Personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
~ Don Miguel Ruiz, author of ‘The Four Agreements’ ~
When I was a child, and I fell and hurt myself, my mom just put me back on my feet (after ascertaining I wasn’t critically injured), gave me a hug and sent me on my way with the words, “You’ll be alright.” When I came home from school and cried to my dad about some bully who was mean to me, he taught me how to stand up for myself. I really believe these early experiences were the seeds that would later blossom into the emotional resiliency I enjoy today.
It seems in this age of social media, we’re exposed to a seemingly infinite stream of harsh words and negativity. In my day, the bullies were “out there” and my home was a sanctuary. Now the bullies come into our lives from every angle with no where to hide.
Add to that the idea that we need to protect our kids from any real or perceived discomfort by rushing in to remove every bad feeling the moment they have them. How are they to develop any kind of resilience to negativity? We mean well, as parents, and want to prevent our children from feeling pain, but in all this intervention, we’ve robbed them of the opportunity to learn how to move through discomfort, instead of always running away from it or making it someone else’s problem to solve.
The pharmaceutical companies tells us that every negative emotion is a “syndrome” or “disorder” that’s not our fault and easily fixable with a pill. And as we’ve become a culture of instant gratification, we want instant symptom relief, which these pills promise. If not pills, we turn to food, narcotics, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. (which are just different variations of the same pill). Why spend all that time and energy addressing the cause of our discomfort when we can just remove the symptoms and forget about it for a while?
Here’s why… we now have a society of non-resilient and entitled people completely unprepared for a world that isn’t going to shield them from all forms of emotional pain (Political Correctness Police aside); that doesn’t think that every little thing they do is amazing and cause for celebration; that isn’t going to validate their worthiness and solve their self-esteem issues; that isn’t going to reward them just for showing up and doing the bare minimum; and that will hold them accountable for their actions.
Is it any wonder that depression, obesity, disease of all kinds and global anger is sweeping the planet in epidemic proportions?
So, what’s the solution? It’s simple…. but certainly not easy. Stop blaming others and decide to take responsibility for your current emotional state and develop resiliency in whatever way resonates with you. The following is a list of all the things I’ve personally done that have helped me enormously: Seek a counselor, wellness coach or spiritual teacher to help you become more empowered and emotionally stable, which will make you less vulnerable to the negative words and actions of others; go to rehab or a 12 Step programme if you suffer from addictions; train for and run a marathon or half marathon (one of my faves for learning to move through pain and persevere), eat nutrient dense food and exercise (two of the best, and most underused, antidepressants out there), and meditate, meditate, meditate.
If all of these suggestions seem way too overwhelming or hard, just start with taking a single deep breath, then another, and another. Just breathe.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~Lao Tzu ~