“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo- far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”
~ Jodi Picoult
The first thing to remember is that someone else is not responsible for your inner well-being.
Rejection does not diminish your worth or value. Another person’s opinion of you does not define who you are. Rejection can sting and ending a relationship on a sour note can be a difficult experience to overcome.
At the same time, this is part of life.
We can choose to see these experiences as negative or use these experiences as an opportunity to grow and learn. Suffering is an opportunity for transformation. What you do with your experience is up to you and that is what ultimately defines you.
Think about all the obstacles you have faced in your life and the bad experiences that you have overcome.
You survived them and are here now. It is important to recognize your own strength and resilience regarding what you have overcome. Remember to put things into context and evaluate what happened in the relationship objectively. Look at your experience without judgment of yourself. In a break-up, both parties are involved and maybe the break-up was a blessing in disguise.
Break-ups and rejection are especially difficult if you are attached to the outcome.
When we are attached to an outcome, we will bend and often accommodate in ways that are unhealthy because we want what we want without really evaluating if it is the best thing for us. Learn to internally validate so that when you have these difficult experiences you can pick yourself up and dust it off.
Honor yourself by taking care of yourself.
Do not be harsh in your judgment of yourself. Be kind to yourself and nurture yourself in a way that facilitates healing. Holding onto anger and fear is toxic to your spirit.
Be careful with your attitude when you start a new relationship.
Work on your “baggage” before moving on to the next relationship. Each person is different and do your best to recognize that fact. If you are in constant fear or anger, be careful because this will be what you end up manifesting in your next relationship.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
In the family therapy field there is a concept called differentiation.
Loosely defined it refers to emotional maturity and the ability to balance closeness and separateness, thought to be the two competing life forces that characterize the human condition.
Resiliency is probably correlated to one’s level of differentiation.
Differentiation is something you are born with. It’s inherited through your family emotional process stretching back over generations. Your basic differentiation is going to be close to that of your family of origin.
There are some variations, but not a lot.
This is not to say that you can’t bump up your level of differentiation. You can, but it takes a lot of hard work. It’s an intentional process, often engaged in in a therapeutic setting, although that may not be the only way.
I would hazard a guess that innate resiliency is probably correlated to one’s basic level of differentiation. This is why some people seem to have a naturally higher level of resiliency.
They seem better able to take on life’s challenges.
They are not as easily overcome and show fewer signs of depression. They may have an easier time resisting the lure of substance abuse or other defenses to shield themselves from pain. They are the one’s that pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back into the fray of life.
I don’t mean to suggest that one is doomed by one’s family of origin.
But it is our context. When we recognize that, we generally become more aware and less reactive to family of origin dynamics and pressures. We can begin to engage in a process of “growing ourselves up”.
There are two parts to this process.
The first is to recognize and manage your emotional reactivity; the second is to work on your self-definition. Wow! Only two steps to emotional maturity! Two huge steps. Two steps that can take a lifetime of work.
I would like to encourage. You have probably been learning to manage your emotional reactivity for years. You just weren’t conscious of it. Totally reactive people stalk their love objects, sometimes even harm them.
You, on the other hand, are curled up with a carton of Ben and Jerry’s, and listening to Adele (talk about someone who learned to manage her emotional reactivity! Then there is Amy Winehouse- someone who sadly didn’t).
Emotional reactivity is normal but mush be soothed in order to figure out the best way forward.
There are a lot of good methods. Mindfulness is rightly getting a lot of attention these days. It’s very helpful in the process of self-soothing. It takes some discipline, but that’s what characterizes most of what’s worth cultivating.
There is no short cut to becoming more resilient.
It’s all about finding out enough about yourself and your history to begin the process of self-management. The more effort you put into this process the better able you will be to handle what life throws at you.
Resiliency is more of a process than a trait, although some people are born with more than others.
Working at increasing yours is a process that will benefit you throughout your lifetime. Resilient people thrive. They learn from their mistakes and move forward. We can’t always control what life hands us, but we can control what we do with it.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
Breakups suck. So do betrayals and disappointments in your relationship.
But some people handle them better than others. They seem to understand that life is full of difficult experiences. We all have heartache and loss. They seem to accept this and deal with it.
Resilience lets us grow as a result of difficult experiences.
Yes, we grieve and experience misery. But resilience moves us forward. Breakups and betrayals make us question everything about ourselves, unsettle our whole experience of the world…….But every relationship upheaval, every breakup, every betrayal holds growth potential in it.
In fact, we get into and out of relationships in order to grow.
People who recover well after relationship setbacks have something essential. They grieve, but they know their inner worth in spite of what’s happening in their love life. Resilient people possess a stable emotional platform on which to build maturity. A platform built of positive life experiences.
In words, that emotional platform sounds like this:
1. I am worthy. Although this person may not give me the partnering I crave, I do deserve a partner.
2. I am loved. Although I feel miserable in this moment, I know love is there. I am loved by……..(family, friends, higher power).
3. Everything is going to be okay. All my needs are abundantly met. I am at peace, even in the midst of crisis.
If these statements feel true in your gut, you’ve probably had plenty of support to heal from devastations of the past.
If they feel foreign, you probably have some unresolved trauma that needs healing. Trauma disrupts attachments. If left untreated, trauma makes it harder to grow past hurts and disappointments. It keeps us stuck.
As an EMDR (eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing) provider, I see people healing from trauma every day. My clients address current and past heartbreaks through EMDR. They get un-stuck. They move toward wholeness.
Of course, they continue to experience the ups and downs of relationships, but they do so with a stable emotional platform. They stand steady. They cry and know that they’re still deep-down good.
Dr. Deborah Cox – www.deborahlcox.com
In today’s world of revolving-door relationships, most new daters expect to go through a number of potential partners before they find someone that continues to interest them.
They quickly become familiar with every resource available to keep up a positive search, and seem to bounce back relatively quickly when things don’t work out.
Fast forward to months or years of searching that started out as a smorgasbord and, for many, ended up more like searching for a needle in a haystack.
It’s not easy to maintain a sunny disposition and an endless amount of positive energy when life challenges intervene and potential long-term partners seem less available. Even when people have been in long-term relationships that have ended, it’s still equally daunting to get back on the treadmill and reach out once again.
It’s understandable that even the most daring and courageous relationship seekers can become discouraged when they do everything they can to maximize the results.
That’s especially true when the break-ups have most often come from the other side, or what seemed to be sincere promises faded away. People tell me every day how they feel more and more like used goods, struggling to renew their value as they feel less desirability as time takes its toll.
The question of current marketability is always front and center.
Options expand and wane depending on so many variables. Currently, for instance, there is a much higher percentage of women on college campuses than men. The greater ratio of women to men creates a different kind of competition than when the tables are reversed.
Men working in locations where there are many fewer women have a harder time finding suitable mates and often have to settle for less than they would have wanted.
We also live in a society that often values package more than intrinsic values. As people of both genders age, they face many different expectations that determine their current market value.
Relationship resilience is intertwined with life resilience and is, of course, tempered by how much challenge and life stress anyone is able to endure before going down.
Some people are just blessed with the ability to rock with things and only react to situations they have some power to change. Others are simply born passionate, high-responders, alive and responses to both joy and sorrow.
Losses of any kind that are consistent, intense, and chronic can wear down even the most energetic and vital person.
Whether you are one of the lucky people who either have been truly successful in love and life, or at the opposite extreme of having had to roll with more punches than anyone should have to endure, there are some things you can do to improve your bounce-back capability.
It’s never a one-size-fits-all formula because everyone’s combination of basic vitality and how much loss he or she has suffered is unique. But, everyone can improve if they commit to them.
The first, no matter how difficult this may be to face, is to do a true inventory of your own marketability in the market you’re in.
Many times there is a just sense of unfairness in the way certain attributes are valued in specific situations, but we can only make the best of who we are and offer that best of us in the most likely place we’ll be valued.
Many people have an idealistic picture of what they want that is not in sync with what they are likely to have. It’s always good to reach as high as you can, but to put your expectations in line with probabilities as much as possible.
Secondly, become the person you were born to be.
That means living who you are to the fullest extent and at the best possible combination of your own gifts, and trying to leave your mistakes and losses as behind you as you move forward. Learning from the past, but not becoming wed to past losses builds a presentation that other’s find inspiring.
People who are constantly transforming out of past losses into continued commitment to what can be better are beautifully confident.
That is based on two things: knowing who you are and what you want and can give authentically, and adopting a heroic stance and outlook. That means taking the risk to put the most honest and vulnerable parts of you out there up front.
Third, get as healthy as you can.
Anxiety and exhaustion are the enemies of resilience. Learning to live with sacred respect for the physical vessel your spirit lives within is vital to being able to rebound from disappointment or disillusionment. Think prevention rather than damage control. It is so much more efficient.
Short term, impulsive decisions that require long-term fixes are drag chutes that will keep you from being optimum, whatever you’re dealing with. Coming from behind is a much harder task than predicting and being prepared.
Next, if at all possible, don’t let your reserve tanks empty out.
We all have energy and hope at our disposal, different amounts at different times. If we let too many losses accrue, we are forced to go into our deeper reserves. If we use those up, we are going to feel like we can’t get back up. As soon as you realize that you might be in trouble, change the course of your actions so that you can fill back up before you are beaten down.
For instance, if you’ve had a number of disappointing relationships in a row, it’s not a good idea to get out there right away determined and desperate for the next one to work.
Fall back on re-assessing your marketability, change what you can, find trusted and loving people who remind you of your value, and look at the market place with a more wise approach. In other words, retrench and rejuvenate.
Lastly, think of the times in your life, or in the lives of people you love and respect, where down-and-out seemed like the only option, yet you, or they, came back stronger than ever.
Remember what coping mechanisms you used and what resources you sought that helped you rebound. This is the time to let go of any behaviors that have set you back in the past. Think of them as tethers that are keeping you from soaring and try to leave them behind.
Everyone gets down at some time in his or her lives.
It can be a time of reflection and spiritual growth if you take the time to reevaluate how you got here, whether you’ve been here before, how your life has changed, and how you can do what you’re doing differently and better. If you see the down times as pauses for regeneration, they will not be as difficult to get through.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
Resilience is a part of adapting and accepting that adversity will be in various stages of our lives.
Relationship resilience comes from experience and lessons learned from different relationships. Research shows that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary, not without emotional distress though, which is a part of life.
There are several factors that contribute to resilience and that can be added into the relationship arena.
Developing resilience is a very personal journey as people cope with adversity at different rates.
One of the most important aspects is to have a positive view of yourself, then you can develop more confidence and strength as you learn resiliency.
Also have realistic goals and action steps so you have the ability to follow through and carry them out. Learn to develop strong and positive communication skills which include managing your own impulses and feelings.
In relationships, understand that it is a part of the journey to go through different relationships that may not last.
These are learning experiences from which you can adapt resiliency through each one until the right one emerges. We learn something new from each new relationship, even if you find you are repeating the same patterns.
If that continues, consider seeking some professional to understand the meaning of why this behavior continues and how to transform it.
Having an enduring, lasting relationship is challenging for most people, and that does not mean there is something wrong with you, it simply means you are exploring like everyone else, and it is a healthy thing to do.
Persevere and trust in your ability to learn and enjoy the journey as you gain courage and insight along the way. This builds resiliency.
Constance Clancy, Ed.D. – www.drconstanceclancy.com
Being resilient is a hard-wired aspect of the human blueprint.
When circumstances are right we develop a wide range of nervous system resilience which enables us the capacity to weather those unexpected storms that come along.
Sometimes things happen that overwhelm our physiology and we lose our ability to fluidly navigate the hard times that life inevitably brings.
I find it helpful to really register the truth of this phenomenon. It can soften the tendency to blame oneself for not handling crisis skillfully.
When we understand that our physiology plays a pivotal role in the ability to weather our storms we can find some footing in the midst of them. Compassionate self-understanding goes a long way in helping us hold steady when we have to face the tough times.
These are some key things that can help during the challenging moments.
Some relief can come when we can be self-reflective and non-judgmental. Sometimes this is a very tall order. Heartbreak, having the rug pulled out from underneath us, feeling blindsided, outraged……intensities of this magnitude…. can toss us into such highly charged states that it is difficult to stop spinning the narratives driven by our pain and anger.
The thinking part of the brain gets going and off we trot.
Actually, it’s more like a galloping pace that our thoughts run when the charged state in our body has it’s hands on the wheel. Interrupting the storyline that the thinking part of the brain is crafting opens the doorway to calming the charge in the body and lessening the intensity of the pain and overwhelm.
Can you recognize when your thoughts are obsessively telling your story of pain, revenge, self-blame, rage, the myriad of possible pain-driven scenarios?
Imagine you are grabbing the reins of a galloping horse and pull on those reins. See it. Feel it. Let the gallop slow till the horse comes to a place where it can graze and rest. The action of the arms and hands on the imaginary reins can give you the felt sense of an ability to stop the gallop.
Stop and take a breath and see how it feels to stop your overthinking.
Place your hand on your sternum over your heart. Notice how this feels. Stay with it as long as it feels comfortable. Helping your nervous system feel calmer, staying with it for a bit, is helpful to its remembering the way back down out of such heightened states of distress.
Can you allow your awareness to stay more with your body, staying below that compelling pull back into thinking?
Observe the part of your feelings that lives more in your body without an over-focus on the thinking part of your brain. Identifying your feelings as states (e.g. I am feeling hurt; I am feeling rage), naming them, can help create some sense of being anchored more in your body.
Bring your awareness to your legs and feet, your arms and hands. Let them be in your awareness as much as is possible. This can help with settling that very unsettled state of energy.
Simple awareness of the parts of our body can help us feel more connected to the ground.
- Do you have an ideal or image of how you wish to live the painful moments?
- Do you want to feel compassion for yourself?
- Do you want to be the calming, nurturing voice that reassures you that you can make your way through what sometimes seems unbearable?
It can feel so liberating and empowering to be making more of an active choice in how we wish to live our moments. Doing so from places of pain is our most challenging time for doing this. With practice it can become an easier, more immediately accessible way of living in our skin more gently.
The more support we build for having our feelings without getting bound up in them the more resilience we develop for recovering our equilibrium. Wounds take time to heal.
This isn’t a newsflash, right? They will do so when good self-care can be priority. Some people get annoyed with me when I say the following but I do deeply believe this is available to us……..when we can see our times of pain as opportunities to grow ourselves we become actively involved in our evolution.
Grow yourself through these times. You will never regret that.
Sherry L. Osadchey, MA, LMFT, SEP – www.sherryosadchey.com
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