Mistakes, pain, and loss are all natural parts of life. Somehow, we get hurt, but we still go on.
But how do we do it? Sometimes, the pain is so strong that we can barely breathe.
Everyone has a story like that when you lay on the floor feeling like your soul was torn apart and your heart broken, and they would never get back to normal.
But here you are, sometime later, able to live, function, and maybe even enjoy life.
This is possible because of emotional resilience.
Your resilience can show in bursts of strength or in more subtle ways. Nobody completely lacks emotional resilience. We all have it within us.
So, in this article, we’ll talk about the 11 signs you’re more emotionally resilient than you think.
1) You have a support system to lean on
As social animals, humans cannot survive without fellow humans. Your support system’s quality, as opposed to quantity, greatly contributes to your emotional resilience.
In fact, resiliency researcher Elliot Friedman once said that “The availability of social support in all its forms—instrumental support, emotional support, support with how you think about things—they all matter and help us in facing a challenge.”
Your support system, your family, friends, colleagues, or mentors can help you better understand yourself and your situation.
They give you the space and help you need to process your emotions. Your loved ones help you see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’ve lost sight of it.
2) You have a “never stop learning” mindset
You know that nobody is born “good” or “bad” at something because there is nothing that can’t be learned. Strength can come from anywhere, even the mistakes you make.
Pitfalls are not there to call you “stupid,” “useless,” or “incapable.” They are simply events that make you look at things differently, something you can reevaluate from an objective point of view.
Shortcomings don’t tell you to “give up.” They remind you that “you’ll have to try harder.”
A mistake is only truly bad when you don’t learn from it.
All experiences can reveal to you the details of your limitations, your potential, and steps you can take to improve.
The more you understand this fact, the more resilient you can become and the more you can recover from tripping over the obstacles to your goal.
3) You practice self-care
Health is one of the greatest components of emotional resilience.
Think about it: doesn’t simply being hungry or feeling tired make you more irritable?
It’s harder to stay strong when you’re distracted by thoughts about food or your comfy bed that awaits you.
Some have the misconception that self-care is something luxurious or really hard to achieve, but people who practice it on a daily basis know that this is far from the truth.
Self-care means eating healthy, quitting bad habits, getting regular check-ups, remembering to take your medicine, and staying clean no matter how sad, lazy, or tired you feel.
Yes, it takes a lot of discipline. Failing to take care of yourself, especially during dark times, will not only weaken your emotional resilience but also worsen your condition.
Taking care of yourself both feeds and speaks of your emotional strength.
4) You have close personal relationships
Strong personal relationships are the most important part of your support system.
The New York Times reported that based on research on resilience, the most significant determinant of resilience is the quality of your close personal relationships.
It’s a no-brainer that if you have bad relationships that don’t fulfill your needs or actively hurt you, your emotional resilience will weaken.
On the other hand, if you have people that believe in you and support you no matter what, you’ll be able to take on even the biggest challenges in life.
You can’t control how people act towards you, but you can choose which of those people can stay in your life and how much you cultivate the relationship.
Your close relationships are a very valuable source of strength.
The better you choose and grow close relationships, the better you can handle what life throws at you.
5) You reach out for help if needed
Nobody is omnipotent. There are many things we can’t do or sustain for extended periods of time on our own.
So, in order to succeed in life and keep your mental health strong, you need to learn to reach out for help when you need it. A support system needs to be understood and utilized well.
Reaching out means knowing when and how much to ask for help in a way that doesn’t damage your relationships.
In fact, if done right, reaching out can let your relationships grow as you allow yourself to be vulnerable around others and take the opportunity to communicate with them more.
6) You see things for what they are
Being able to see and understand the pros and cons of something by looking at it objectively can take a while to master.
It’s easy to be swept by emotions. When things feel good, the pros of a decision become more prominent; when things are bad, we tend to see the cons more.
Your ability to assess the nuances of the situations you encounter will help you to take things with a grain of salt.
You won’t look at certain complexities in a dramatic way but rather understand that there’s something good and something bad in every situation, depending on how you look at it.
7) You embrace challenges
Your emotional resilience needs to be tested so it can really strengthen. This means that when challenges come, it’s good to face them rather than avoid them.
Just because something is difficult doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, especially when you know you’ll get something worth it in return.
It’s good to practice being confident in yourself so you can test your strength and push your limits rather than remain stagnant.
Welcoming challenges can signify having high emotional resilience and an opportunity to increase it.
8) You look for purpose in life
In the entropy of the universe, purpose is not found; it is created. Believing that everything has a purpose can feel helpful.
However, it can also get in the way of you learning from your challenges by limiting your perspective.
To make the best out of every situation, your views need to be flexible and adaptive.
In opening yourself to multiple possibilities and sources of motivation, you’ll give up a lot less easily.
In other words, having the purpose of finding the meaning of life would motivate you to keep on going until you reach it.
And we all find a deeper meaning in different things–for some, it’s family–and for others, it’s their social work, for example.
But having a higher purpose means you’re more resilient to the downsides of life than those who aren’t fully aware of what they’re fighting for, you know?
9) You don’t let fear get in the way
Fear is one of the negative emotions that’s hard to carry. Courage is not the absence of fear but the will to continue despite it.
Fear is a primitive emotion that protects you and keeps you from entering situations that can hurt you. However, it can also keep you from going after things that you want or need.
The fear of rejection, for example, can keep you from going after the job or relationship you want. Something like the fear of failure can keep you from testing your skills so you don’t improve.
Feeling fear is normal. People feel it every day. But emotionally resilient people don’t make decisions based on their fear. They acknowledge it, but they don’t let the feeling dictate their life.
10) You’re ok with not knowing everything
Humans have a tendency to fear the unknown. This fear tends to manifest as anxiety about the future, which nobody can fully predict.
You can expand your knowledge and learn things you didn’t know before. But you’ll never know everything, and that’s okay.
The more you make peace with your current limitations, the less they can hurt you.
However, there is a difference between accepting that you can’t know everything and giving up on expanding your knowledge.
If you’re more emotionally resilient than you think, you know how to make the most out of knowledge and skills, and you don’t feel like you’d ever stop learning something new.
11) You’re true to yourself and to others
People with emotional resilience are secure enough not to feel the need to put on a front.
As an honest person, you stick with what you believe in and make decisions consistent with your values.
You know how to be honest to gain others’ trust and cultivate good relationships.
At the same time, you are your interactions with others, and you connect with them on a deeper level.
But even if you care about your relationship with others, your self-image is stable enough not to be easily warped by others’ opinions.
Emotionally resilient people are true to themselves and to others.
Everybody undergoes failures, difficulties, and shortcomings. What makes you emotionally resilient is how you handle them.
With emotional resilience, you can use these bad experiences to your advantage or at least keep them from hurting you.
Best of all, as the growth mindset shows, everybody can develop emotional resilience and become stronger!