In a changing world, the most critical skill set can develop is R E S I L I E N C E!
What is your definition of resilience? What do you consider resilient characteristics?
If you grew up in a patriarchal society, you might have been led to believe that resilience is about...
Not Being Emotional
Demonstrating "Masculine Traits" often defined as "tough", "no fear", "no tear", "no fuzzy emotional expression", to name a few...
In my practice, I often work with individuals both men and women who have been wearing these faux resilience masks for so long that they've come to believe this is who they truly are. In reality, these are not only far from evidence of resilience, but they are indeed hallmarks of trauma.
In response to a culture, society, and family that imposes unimaginable demands of performance, "toughness", and "success" on a child, very early on in life, we come to believe that our worthiness and value are tied to our results. Any display of emotion is often shut down in the name of "toughness" or "manliness".
In a society obsessed with production and growth where success is defined in terms of accumulation of wealth and status, we have created a culture of toxic masculinity, ruthless competition, and professional emotional bypassing. In such an environment, the only winner is the extractive capitalist machine, and the cost is our collective and individual health, well-being, empathy, and authentic connection.
A V O I D A N C E is a trauma response
H Y P E R - A C H I E V I N G is a trauma response
H Y P E R - M A S C U L I N I T Y is a trauma response
When our emotional expressions are denied or punished in childhood, we retrieve into avoidance to cope and survive. When we don't feel loved for who we truly are in childhood, we double down on hyper-achieving to receive love.
When we don't feel safe and protected in childhood, we put on armors of hyper-masculinity to protect our gentleness beneath.
Coping strategies aren't failures, they are necessities in face of significant and consistent challenges to our sense of safety, worthiness, and belonging.
A V O I D A N C E fuels addictions and depression
H Y P E R - A C H I E V I N G fuels states of chronic anxiety
H Y P E R - M A S C U L I N I T Y fuels isolation, depression, and suicide
Perhaps it is time for us as a society to revisit our values and begin rewarding healthy emotional expressions, celebrate our individual gifts regardless of the potential for wealth or status, and focus on cultivating safety for all through acceptance, curiosity, and openness.
V U L N E R A B I L I T Y is the true foundation of resiliency.
How are you practicing resilience these days? How are you identifying and dismantling the outdated survival responses that no longer serve you?
I'll share a secret with you! Healing from trauma isn't done through self-development but rather self-dismantlement. We must be willing to let go of our learned responses to trauma to break free from self-sabotage and live the most inspiring, constructive, and joyful life yet!