A courageous person reached out on LinkedIn in a post last week. They said they were struggling and they were afraid of the effects it was having on other areas of their life including their business.
I was impressed; it shows emotional competence to expose vulnerability in public. There was a reasonable response to the post and I read the replies with interest and renewed faith in human nature. And then I came across one response which turned me cold. I am fairly sure it was well intended but it was a conditioned (learnt) response. And it went along the following lines: You should 'man-up'.
I also heard a similar response on the Jeremy Vine show a few months ago. He was covering emotional well-being, part of the mental health awareness made even more public by the royals admitting their own vulnerabilities and emotions. I paraphrase loosely what one guest said. "We are British. We need to pull ourselves together and get on with it". His viewpoint was that it wasn't the done thing to talk about how we feel.
My response to him is: BS!!
Neither response is helpful. In fact, in my opinion, stress and other related conditions are largely down to our inability to talk about and recognise our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
It shows courage and strength to share the emotional struggle. It also shows remarkable self-awareness which is the first hurdle to dealing with underlying issues and starting the process of peeling back the layers. Understanding our emotions, and our reactions help us process irrational fears and projections we have of life. Running from fear is like running around a track. Inevitably you end up back in the same place.
There is still a stigma around mental well being, and to show emotion is largely considered a weakness.
Emotional resilience is:
• being able to recognise the quality of your thoughts (how they make you feel)
• being able to identify unhelpful feelings
• being able to feel and resolve unresolved emotional baggage
Unless we change the way we view emotions/mental well-being, we will continue to have a growing issue around stress, anxiety, depression and worse.
Talking helps but better still being able to unravel deeply rooted fears and concerns, emotional traumas and learning to feel them is the way to freeing ourselves and leading happier lives.
We all have moments when we need some support - if someone reaches out to you, respect their courage and if you can't help, at the very least suggest they find someone who can.