Life can be a paradox.
Life on the outside can seem like you have everything going for you.
You could be a professional in a lucrative dental practice with speaking opportunities all over the world. You could have a six-figure Bollywod wedding and a million dollar dream home.
Your life appears to be sailing along exactly as your high-expectation Asian parents would have wanted you to live it.
Yet while the external parts of your life are going well and it appears you’ve achieved worldly success, your life could be completely falling apart.
Neeta Bushan’s story that the world couldn’t see is one of pain, challenges and loss. Specifically, losing both her parents and one of her brothers through separate health issues by the time she was 19 years old.
As a child of Indian-Filipino parents who grew up in the U.S., Neeta found herself having to deal with high expectations and academic excellence which took her to dental school and a successful dentistry practice.
Yet, 3 members of her immediate family (including her parents) passed away in her teenage years and she later found herself getting divorced after a physically and emotionally abusive relationship.
For someone who has experienced so much pain and overcoming what seems like insurmountable life experiences, Neeta has captured her life lessons and shares her wisdom in her book, Emotional Grit.
While the book is focused on leadership and building emotional grit in the workplace, I was able to pick out nuggets of wisdom on how she overcame loss, divorce and suffering in her own life.
Here are 5 ways to help you build emotional resiliency when you’re confronting your life’s biggest struggles:
1. Understanding and accepting your emotions.
So much of your life is spent on running away from your emotions because your emotions make you feel uncomfortable and you have been taught to suppress them your whole life. To move forward, you have to be willing to recognize, affirm and apply emotional intelligence to the emotions you’re experiencing. You have to learn to process emotions and learn tools to master the feelings that show up when life challenges that come your way.
2. Positivity and gratitude.
Neeta encourages you to surround yourself with positive messages and daily reminders. “From cards and magazines to picture and clippings, fill your surrounding with images and words that inspire your confidence and enrich your soul,” she writes. Not only does positivity help with keeping your perspective in life but so does gratitude. Waking up to another day is a gift that you can’t take for granted. Remind yourself every day of all those things that you’re grateful for in your life. There are many small and wonderful things in your life that you’re likely not noticing. Wake up each morning and take stock of what you’re thankful for.
3. Be proactive with your mental wellbeing.
In addition to your emotional wellbeing, your mental health is just as important to your wellbeing. Being able to manage stress and being proactive about your mental health are important. You can’t take care of yourself or others when you’re in mental turmoil. You can’t move on or move forward in your life without clearing the mental blocks you face. Reach out to a team of professionals like therapists and counselors if you need one. Otherwise, have a solid community and friendships to listen to you and create space for you.
4. Forgive and Release
Forgiveness may be difficult for you but it’s essential to be able to move forward. Forgiving is saying out loud that you’re letting go of the emotions you’re holding about a particular person or experience. When you forgive, you release all the pent-up energy and emotions about the person and gain your power back but as you know, forgiveness is no easy task. You have to find the courage to forgive and remind yourself of all the benefits of forgiveness. Forgiveness contributes to healthier relationships, less stress and anxiety and higher self-esteem. Not forgiving is like moving through life with a ripped and heavy paper bag, which keeps ripping and things fall out. Forgiveness is putting down the bag and moving forward with more ease.
5. Choose Courage
When you confront difficult circumstances, your fears and anxiety about the past pop up. There are patterns that you grew up with that cause you to act a certain way when dealing with new or challenging circumstances.
“When we choose to be ruled by fear, and specifically when we allow the not-yet-happened to subsume our personal power, we’ve given up the only freedom we have: the freedom to choose,” writes Neeta in the chapter about having the courage to feel your fears.
The way to practice courage is to be more aware your patterns of fear. She encourages you to write down the things that scare you each day and then write down steps to unmask or deconstruct that fear. Even the tiniest of steps in breaking through your fear can lead to more steps of courage.
While emotional intelligence and courage can be helpful in facing personal life challenges, it can also be helpful to your work life. Much of Neeta’s book, Emotional Grit, can guide you to be more authentic, courageous and emotionally resilient in the workplace.