Thebastidge: Personality Part XI
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    Monday, August 06, 2007

    Personality Part XI

    Emotional Strength - Introduction:

    Over twenty years ago Scott Peck began his best-selling book The Road Less Traveled with this profound statement of the obvious: "Life is difficult". Two decades of learning later, we want to say, "Duh!! Of course it is". Life comes at us at too fast a pace, just to get by we need to take on more than we can handle, stress outweighs pleasure by a ton - we know all these things because this is the river we swim in, the life we both choose and cannot avoid. And more often than we'd like, it's difficult to make such a life work. So how do we handle the pressure? Do we manage the stress or does it control us? Are we able to cope beyond simple survival and actually experience our lives as happy and hopeful? Or do we collapse under the weight of it all, panic at the thought of what tomorrow morning brings, and look for some way out of what has become more than we can handle? The following paragraphs describe your emotional strength, which is your ability or lack of ability to deal with the fact that life is difficult.

    Emotional Strength: Your Personalized Description

    Most of the time you manage to make it through even the most difficult situations. You've survived the break-up of relationships or the loss of a friend or battles in your family or conflicts at work. You somehow manage to gather your inner resources, keep yourself from panicking, and find your way through. Maybe on occasion you collapse; you crawl under the covers for three days, turn the electric blanket up to ten, suck your thumb and sleep until the panic subsides. But not very often. Usually you're up and at it and head straight for the problem, using your brains and your character and your imagination and getting control of your life again.

    A word about those times when you lose control. Have you ever tried to figure out what it is about those rare times when you don't do so well? Maybe there's a pattern; maybe they involve a certain kind of person, or a situation that calls for a response you're not very good at - you need to fight for your rights and you don't like to fight, or it's something in your family and your family never allows you to assert yourself. Something like that. It's worth figuring out, if you can, which situations give you the most trouble and how you might cope with them more effectively.

    It's also worth knowing where your strength comes from. Maybe you got it from a family that cherished you and challenged you and taught you what you were capable of, or maybe you struggled early on and learned to make your way with ingenuity and imagination until you came to believe in yourself. Now you've had enough experience with surviving, even thriving, to trust that you will make it through most situations.

    Here's another thing you've probably already learned. You need friends, or at least one friend, who is very much like you, not necessarily in their opinions or beliefs or the clothes they wear but in their ability to make it through difficult times. Someone you can count on to understand what's happening when the bottom drops out for you, and whom you can lean on as you make your way up out of the ditch. It is a sign of your strength, not your weakness, that you cultivate a friendship with just such a person so that, when you have to, each of you has the other to rely upon.

    A word of warning. Some people - maybe some of your friends, or even your partner - are always looking for someone to pick up part of their load in life, either because they cannot carry it or they're just not willing to exert the effort it would take. Be careful. You're strong but you're not invincible, something you know from those rare occasions when you wind up curled up under the blanket looking out at the world. You do neither yourself nor your friends a favor by taking on more than you can or should handle. So use your great strength wisely, and both you and those around you will continue to benefit from it.

    This is Part XI of a series. Part I is here and look for Part XII here.

    Comments are welcome- especially from those who know me IRL.


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