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10 Things Emotionally Resilient People Don’t Do

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10 Things Emotionally Resilient People Don’t Do

Emotional resilience is trendy, so read on. Basically, this means that if you are emotionally resilient, you can bounce back from most setbacks that life can throw at you. In times of stress, failure or even a natural disaster, your emotional resilience will be put to the test. The word ‘resilience’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’ which means to bounce back. Business people, social workers and school children can all benefit from this emotional fitness. So, how emotionally fit are you? Let us look at what these people never do because they have a natural talent to cope with the stress of everyday living.

1. They don’t  waste energy on negativity

When these people are in a traffic jam, they accept that it is part of the deal of commuting to work. They are able to take advantage of this and listen to their favourite music on their MP3 or the radio. They realize that their anger, bad mood or temper is not going to change the situation one little bit. It is just another part of acceptance but also an opportunity. They are also able to reflect on what is going well and how grateful they should be. “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” – Allan Lokos

 2. They don’t reject mindfulness as rubbish

Living in the present and savoring sensations and feelings is the core teaching in mindfulness. Emotionally resilient people know this instinctively or learn it. They use it as a protective shield against the following toxic emotions:

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  • Regrets about past decisions
  • Envy of others’ success
  • Worrying about the future

 3. They don’t let tragedy mark them for life

We all have scars and we all have suffered from tragedy whether it be break ups, illness, bereavement, job loss or mental illness. Now emotionally fit people can see that this adversity is short lived. They have a goal which will enable them to overcome the sadness and become a stronger and more capable person. They see change as an integral part of life and are prepared for some moments of despair, sadness and discomfort. They have often been compared to a bamboo cane in a storm which is bent by the force of the wind but is not broken.

4. They don’t lock themselves away

Emotionally unfit people tend to wallow in their own downward spiral of negativity. But the resilient ones are going to find the time to make real social contact, keep physically fit by going for a walk or a run, and help the less fortunate. They know and savor the fact that these are healthy distractions which are essential for self-care.

5. They don’t limit themselves to one solution

These people are prepared to admit that they see everything through a filter. They look at a problem from many angles and try to think outside the box. They know that their own personal bias can become a default position. That is why they seek to widen their view knowing that they are growing towards empowerment. They are also prepared to wait, rather than seeking answers and quick fix solutions.

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6. They don’t control their impulses

Our impulse control is governed by the size of the orbitofrontal cortex region of the brain. Research shows that people who had a smaller cortex were more subject to more impulsive behavior such as shopping, drinking, smoking, gambling and sex. Emotionally resilient people tend to keep these impulses at bay by thinking about consequences and how they will feel afterwards, when it may be too late.

7. They don’t let time heal

“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.”- Lena Horne

Time heals sorrow, loss and trauma. But many emotionally unfit people are not prepared to let time take its course. It is as if they wanted to abolish all the pain and suffering with one magic pill. They are more aware of chronological time rather than kairos time. The latter is one of the keys to emotional resilience because it teaches us about the pace with which our personal journey moves forward with all the emotional inheritance we have gathered along the way.

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8. They don’t laugh enough

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” – Charlie Chaplin

If you read the book by Drs. Steven and Sybil Wolin called ‘The Resilient Self’ you will learn how humor and laughter play a very important role in helping to build emotional resilience. Humor helps us to see the absurdity of a situation which may be painful. In addition, laughter itself is a physical reaction which can reduce the stress hormone called cortisol and increase the feel good endorphins.

9. They don’t regard happiness as a top priority

Research has shown that where couples are dominated by one partner who is always right, the couple’s happiness was at risk. The preference of being happy rather than always right is a trait of emotionally resilient people.

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10. They don’t persevere enough

If people do not have clear goals, they tend to quit after minor setbacks. But emotionally resilient people can see the bigger picture and can follow an action plan which helps them achieve mini goals. They regard setbacks as minor interruptions. This is why these people never give up. As we have seen emotionally resilient people are able to keep calm and collected in the face of enormous setbacks and not lose their hope or determination. Let us know in the comments below about how you cope with stress and failure.

Featured photo credit: Bamboo in the wind/ Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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