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.
Neeta Bhushan is an emotional intelligence advocate, speaker, and founder of the Global Grit Institute. You can follow her blog here and pick up her book, Emotional Grit here.
You’ll ask why God isn’t listening to you and wonder if God even exists.
Actually, some of us tend to ask these questions and then end up writing books about them! I wrote Is God Listening?asking these types of questions (you can find it here).
While writing books may be productive and helpful, asking disempowering questions of yourself is not. There’s no sufficient answer as to why this is happening. If this was a natural disaster, a tsunami, or an earthquake, what can you do? What answers will satisfy you?
Tragedies, natural disasters, and yes, even divorce, happen. Yes, divorce involves feelings and people, but ultimately they occur. Relationships start and end. It is a natural cycle of life. In all of life, we want answers to questions so we can understand the world better. “Why me?” you may ask.
It’s natural and human to ask questions like this of ourselves, but it is not healthy or helpful to healing. A couple of different ways to think about this is to believe that things happen, and sometimes for no reason at all.
There’s no positive result that comes out of repeatedly asking why certain things are happening to you because some of these questions won’t have answers.
The divorce happened because you weren’t compatible, because you married the wrong partner, because you didn’t put the time into the relationship, because of an affair, etc.
It happened for any number of contributing reasons, but the big question of “why you” has no answer.
Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people.
No point in holding the universe responsible or blaming life itself for a sequence of events that resulted in divorce. You’ll just keep swirling negative thoughts in your mind, and wasting emotional and mental energy trying to understand why this happened to you.
One way to view your divorce is that nothing happened for this to happen to you.
Your divorce happened for any variety of reasons, but there will be no answer to why it’s happening to you. Like rivers and oceans and life for billions of years, nature and human experiences is just running its course. There is no reason or explanations needed.
You didn’t cause it, your karma didn’t create it, and God isn’t after you.
Sure, you might have done things that contributed to the divorce in your life, but there’s no good answer to “why you.” Divorce happened like it rained yesterday afternoon; there’s no rhyme or reason other than possibly it’s the rainy season.
There’s no particular reason why you were singled out in life to experience divorce.
Your sixteen-year-old son wants to back out of the garage and drives into your house instead.
Natural disasters and life happens.
It’s not fate, karma, voodoo dolls, or anything else that has it in for you. Life happens like nature happens.
You’re a tiny speckle of the universe who has come into it for eighty-some years and will be leaving it.
Demanding to know what your role is in the universal scheme of things or having the knowledge of why your divorce happened as it did is not going to help any.
If you look at it from a billion-year view or take a meta-view (step ten thousand feet away from your situation), your divorce is just one set of events that unfold.
It’s a small part of a much larger picture. It will be a small part of your life when you look at it globally.
You don’t have to know why it happened.
If you insist on knowing why it happened, choose this message: Your divorce is happening for your greatest good. It’s happening for your spiritual growth. It’s happening to help you become the best version of yourself. It’s helping you become the person you’re capable of being so you can attract the right partner into your life.
If this isn’t a sufficient answer for explaining why you are divorced, then I challenge you to ask yourself more empowering questions instead.
Don’t ask yourself why this happened; instead, ask yourself what lessons you can learn from this experience. What is the divorce trying to teach you? How is this going to prepare you for the future? What is this teaching you about life?
If you start viewing the end of your marriage as a teaching experience and a period of growth, your mind will start focusing on more helpful and empowering answers.
You’ll be looking for lessons and insights to help improve your life.
Another way to focus on the situation is to think about what you can do now. Yes, this happened, but now what? What’s in your control? What can you change? How can you move forward? How can you rebuild a new life for yourself?
By letting go of one set of questions and focusing on more positive ones, you’ll help focus your mind on empowering questions that will lead to growth, learning and moving on.
Don’t like my answer? Want to know where God is and if God’s listening to you? Click here to pick up my book, Is God Listening?
I thought it was my bad luck that I kept running into emotionally unavailable people.
The women I met seemed to be closed off from their emotions, wanted to hide them or didn’t want to share them.
This felt odd until I realized that the patterns and behavior I was seeing in women were the exact behaviors and patterns I had seen in myself.
I had a “slam-my-head-on-the-steering-wheel” moment. Oh…it wasn’t the other cars that were the problem. I had to look within my own.
You may also be looking for a partner but this time around you want someone who is emotionally available and willing to commit to you.
Finding an emotionally available partner is more difficult than finding vegetarian food on long stretches of a freeway littered with McDonald’s and Taco Bells.
It’s more difficult than finding a presidential candidate who aligns with your values.
More difficult than finding a yoga teacher who treats yoga like a spiritual practice, not a power exercise.
If you’ve had enough of partners who show up with great fanfare and attention but then disappear within days, here’s what to do.
Instead of asking yourself, “Why can’t I find an emotionally available guy,” approach your search differently.
I’m sharing these insights with you as a guy who was emotionally unavailable (extremely unavailable) and who made efforts to change as well as someone who is looking for an emotionally available woman.
6 ways to find an emotionally available partner.
1) Get comfortable with feelings and welcome in emotions.
You often get caught up with the idea that the right person isn’t out there for you or you simply can’t find the right person.
I’m convinced more than ever that it has nothing to do with the person you’re searching for. You have limited control over that but you do have the ability to make changes within.
One key to finding emotionally available people is to become emotionally available yourself.
Don’t run. Welcome in your feelings. Don’t hide from your emotions. Allow feelings and emotions to come into your life and sit with them. Speak to them, write about them, explore them. Get to know your feelings: the soul-stirring and soul-crushing ones.
If the feelings are overwhelming, talk to a therapist or other professional.
2) Be willing to share how you’re feeling with others.
Share your emotions with others. Share your feelings with people you trust instead of keeping them bottled up.
Share feelings and emotions to reduce the heaviness of both.
If the waves of feelings and emotions are uncontrollable, speak to a professional about them. Otherwise, make space for them to sit and breathe into them.
Know that sharing your feelings with others can be an emotional and spiritual release. It will help you become more vulnerable, encouraging you to get into the habit of speaking your truth and fully accepting yourself.
3) Work on your own emotional wounds and healing.
When you get real and welcome in your emotions, you’re bound to find those things that push your buttons. Your former partners may have pushed your buttons a lot but you never realized they were there to teach you and show you that the wounds were there.
Becoming aware of the wounds is the first step toward healing them. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
Get curious about your emotional wounds. Go to the origination point. Where did it develop? How did it grow? What triggers this wound today?
Become a detective of your emotional state.
Once you identify and understand your wounds, you can breathe love into them. You can flood them with light. You can shed them with healing thoughts and beliefs. You can tend to them and care for them.
You can find meaning in these wounds, messages for your life and ways to improve your life. You can tell a new story about these wounds. You can fill the wounds with light and share your light with others who are suffering.
4) Get attentive on how your partner handles emotionally charged conversations.
Once you work on your own issues with emotional strength and openness, notice how your potential partner handles his emotions.
Take notes and observe how your partner responds, reacts and manages his emotional well-being.
Either accept your partner for where he is or don’t accept him. You have that choice but don’t deny or resist the place he’s at.
He’s not necessarily going to change, improve or become the person you want emotionally. And likely, it’s not going to happen overnight.
Become observant. Accept him for where he is and decide if this is going to work for you. Or not work for you.
5) Let your partner know what you’re looking for.
If it’s not working for you, let your partner know what you need from him.
Communicate instead of hiding your emotional needs.
Instruct him, if necessary. Show him what you need from him. Make a request as to what you need from your partner.
Do not bottle up your emotional needs or believe your partner will understand what you want without your saying it.
Speak out your emotional needs. Your partner cannot predict, guess or use telepathy to understand what your needs are.
6) Be willing to let go of relationships that don’t serve you emotionally.
Often we are so terrified of being alone that we would rather put up with anything than break off an unhealthy relationship.
You have a choice: be miserable, unhappy and unloved. Or take your emotional well-being into your own hands.
Find someone who is going to be there for you emotionally.
Let go of being imprisoned by someone else’s emotionally unavailable chains.
By letting go of an unemotionally available person, you give him the opportunity to start working on his emotional needs and opening up.
You also clear room in your life to invite in more emotionally available partners.
* “You can’t be with the right partner when you’re with the wrong one” *
Hi, I’m Vishnu
I help people overcome their devastating breakups and divorces and find love again. Instead of visiting the Himalayas, sign up below and join me. I am taking a writing break but will be back soon.
This guide is free. A ticket to the Himalayas is $2000. Your move.