In my reflection time this morning I was reading about love and betrayal. It’s the theme of many of the best, most loved, most read stories. And for good reason, it’s true in life, that we are often flanked by both love and betrayal, that when we love the most we risk being betrayed most painfully.
How do you handle being loved or being in love? I don’t necessarily mean this in the way it might be read, love isn’t just about those fuzzy feelings you might have on catching the eye of a particular person, love can be manifested in many ways and desire is only a small part of that. We were built for the full range of love, we all need it to be expressed regularly over us and by us. How do you express it to your family; your closest friends; your partner; your parents?
More difficult but no less important: How do you handle betrayal when it happens to you or when you have done the betraying? We all have different responses, do you turn to another person to express your pain and hurt? Do you turn it inward, unable to cope with the shame or guilt that often comes with betrayal? Do you write it down in a journal only you will read? Do you pray to anyone?
Last week I was at a conference about emotional resilience and the point was made that emotions are often seen as the ‘bad guys’, an emotional response to something is deemed weak and/or chaotic; that our ideal would be either Spock (for those older than me) or Sheldon (for those younger!), neither of whom have immediate access to their emotions and as such their responses to situations are ‘logical’ rather than ‘emotional’. But the fact is for the vast majority of us (Sheldon, although he is human *is* a fictional character!) emotions are an instinctive response, not something we have much of any control over in the initial firing of those synapses across our brains. Emotional Resilience is not about learning how to not feel emotions: To be emotional is not to be weak; to be emotional is to be human; to be human is a truly beautiful thing. To love and be loved is human, to betray and be betrayed is human. Emotional Resilience is about learning how to use those emotions for the best, how to survive in the times when our emotional responses threaten to overwhelm us, how to handle the immediate instinctive reactions to rising emotion.
Perhaps you’ve been in some very chaotic situations emotionally speaking and have learned how to cope. Perhaps your coping mechanisms are harming you and the people around you, if this is true then please know that there is help out there. Start here or here, read Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig, talk to someone who loves you or to a complete stranger, reach out and find love and forgiveness.