Developing RESILIENCE – Spiritual (Part 1)

PREVIOUS: Resilience – emotions #2

SITE: Spiritual life coaching

BENEFIT:  Resilient people tend to find some bit of silver lining even in the worst situations, & are *Grateful* for the things they still are & have. While they certainly see & admit the bad, they’re not limited by it, or stuck in it

DEF: The ability to sustain one’s sense of self & purpose through a set of principles or values.
While it may be in the form of specific religious beliefs for many, it’s more than that – it’s a way of life. The West is going back to the awareness that Spiritual health is important in balancing heart & mind – which the East has never forgotten.

Spirituality can be:  Connecting with the sacred, believing in a Higher Power & having a personal experience, understanding life through experiences, wanting to understand the existential self, finding meaning & purpose, having ethical values & beliefs, positive relationships & helping others, & experiencing transcendence.

In broad terms, whether religious or not, Spirituality can be thought of as:
• Moral Responsibility: A healthy value system (personal code of ethics), spiritual
choosing what’s right for ourselves first & then in relation to others
• Congruence: Acting honestly, living by our principles & listening to our intuition
• Altruism: Being concerned for all humanity, & doing what we can to help others – realistically, from healthy motives

Interesting: Various US military branches are now actively including Spirituality in their Resiliency Training. “As a pillar of Comprehensive Airman Fitness, maintaining & strengthening individual spirituality is a primary component for one’s overall well-being.” Fairchild AF Base, Wash.
Capt. Jeffrey Solheim (a 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain) explained that “Spiritual Resilience is about fueling & refueling our heart & soul – that inward part that help to make sense of our existence & experiences…..”

Spiritual beliefs & general ‘right’ thinking allows people to see the world thru a positive (but realistic) lens, which benefits our day-to-day functioning, & offers solace in turbulent times – especially if supported by participation in like-minded communities.
A Spiritual focus helps to decrease anxiety, depression, addictions & suicide, while increasing personal & family stability. It gives people the strength to work toward personal improvements, or to fulfill lifelong dreams.  (RAND Corp paper for the US Air Force).

In 2009, the Defense Department (DoD) conducted a psychological study showing how spirituality has helped service members cope with difficult & traumatic events. The study found most use spirituality to cope with multiple deployments, combat stress or injury. The research also found that it lessens being overwhelmed by “moral injuries” – from participating in or witnessing terrible acts of war that conflict with one’s moral beliefs.

Before looking deeper into characteristics of S>R> – some comments:
Many ACoAs are OK with some kind of spiritual life, while others don’t believe in any Higher Power. Many of us are angry at ‘the God of our understanding’, because our understanding is immature. As kids we prayed & prayed for the alcoholic to stop drinking, for the rage, beatings & other abuses to end – but they didn’t. So we hate God – because we don’t understand the Laws of nature.  It’s a substitute for feeling legitimate rage at our parents, siblings……

John Bradshaw pointed out that “Until the age of 7 we deify our parents. After that we parentalize our deity”.  So if our parents were drunk, mean, absent, judgemental, perfectionistic, narcissistic…. then we assume God is too & we don’t trust H.P. or want anything to do with spirituality.
But God is not an alcoholic parent! In recovery, one woman realized that she couldn’t trust a ‘male’ god because her father was brutal. So she decided to think of H.P. as female, & was then able to consider trusting “a power greater than ourselves.”

Since we are all spiritual beings, we are short-changing ourselves by not correcting our WIC’s mis-understanding, & updating our perspective – whatever form that takes. 12-Step Programs like Al-Anon are spiritual-based, using the power of the Steps & the group to heal our wounds. But it does not ask us to be religious, or even ‘believe’. Only to “keep an open mind & keep coming back.”
(Wide variety of articles re. faith, religion, spiritual anger…..)

NEXT: Resilience – Spiritual #2

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