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  • Writer's pictureDawn Ford

The Importance of emotional resilience & telling your truth

When a 16mins video takes 30 mins to watch - you know you're gripped. Pausing, quoting and Oh My God moments - so many!!

This is the first time I have heard of Susan David and her words, her beliefs are so in sync with mine. I don't even know where to start.

Her opening welcome to the audience set the scene beautifully, I knew from the first 2 mins that she was going to be good. Born in South Africa she said the Zulu word for Hello - ' Sawubona' which translated means: "I see you, and by seeing you I bring you into being." How beautiful is that?

And she's so right when she says that the way in which we deal with our inner world drives everything. And I shouted out at the screen in total agreement when she said '"The conventional view of emotions as good or bad, as positive or negative is rigid. And rigidity is the face of complexity and is toxic". In my opinion there are no bad or negative emotions - they are all emotions, just that. Yes there are some that are uncomfortable or unpleasant but NOT bad.

David talked about the need for emotional agility, which is so necessary if we are to become more resilient and to thrive.

Her father died when she was only 15. She continued with school and never dropped a grade. And when ever she was asked 'How are you?' she would reply "I'm OK". "I was praised for being strong".

That one hurt - it always does. Whenever a client utters that sentence I instantly feel very sad or angry for them or both. When you are praised for being 'strong' you wear the mask of recovery - you say "I'm Fine, I'm Ok" whenever you are asked. You cannot 'Be strong' and be human - it's as black & white as that.

David began to isolate and also turned to food as a way of 'numbing her pain', her grief. I was only talking about this exact topic to a client just 2 hours ago. Along-side food and isolation is alcohol, drugs, exercise, 'retail therapy', travel, hoarding & self-harming all of which are common 'coping' stregies to numb, to block the heartache. Society values positivity. Her culture values relentless positivity. So what happens to your feelings? Where do you go? Who do you turn to, who will not judge you, so you can reveal and share your emotional truth?

There is a point around 9mins in when she says " I'm not anti-happiness, I like being happy - but when we push aside normal emotions to embrace false positivity we lose our capacity to develop skills to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be." Yes, yes, yes!!

There's so much more I could say, so much more I could quote - but instead if you can, watch this video.

It is such an incredible feeling for little old me, hearing someone like Susan David say out loud, on a big stage, her beliefs, which echo 100% my own beliefs around emotions, around resilience, around living and speaking our truth.

So much of what she says lies at the core of The Grief Recovery Method, the programme that changed my perception on emotion, on anger, on regret, on apologizing, on forgieveness, on the importance of 'finding your voice' and living your 'emotional truth'.

Feeling inspired, motivated, grateful and not so alone.

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