COMPONENTS of Spiritual Resilience (S>R>)
We need to take care of the sum of our parts first before we can be whole, (PMES). Mind, heart, body & soul are all elements of our core, & not nourishing each one regularly leads to negative thinking & disordered behavior. Without a spiritual life, people are more likely to live in monotony, uncertainty &/or narcissism.
BALANCE is an essential feature of mental health – in this case the balance between faith & free will. Both are true & both are necessary. Faith could be expressed as religious participation. Free will would be actively practicing the Golden Rule: ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ or Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’.
1. Spirituality – Faith, Belief
Human beings’ innate self-righting tendency – the capacity for Resilience – is connected to our basic spiritual nature. Activist Patrisse Cullors said: “People’s resilience, I think, is tied to their will to live, our will to survive, which is deeply spiritual. The fight to save your life is a spiritual fight”. When people include spirituality in how they ‘understand’ a tragedy they’ve suffered (meaning ascribed to events), they come thru it with much less trauma-hangover
As listed in Part #1 the term has several meanings, & people use it differently. It has been called Inner growth, mindfulness, a spiritual awakening….
In 2015 a request went out in the US & Germany: “How would you define the term ‘spirituality’?”and over 1,77o people answered. 10 concepts divided into 3 groupings (see chart above) emerged from an analysis of the responses
PRACTICAL Spirituality – Regular Renewal of:
• Commitment to & relationship with a personal Higher Power of your understanding
• Transcendent experience(s) that energize – developing our higher self (the soul)
• Basic trust, that we belong. Resilient people have learned to trust their experience, intelligence & intuition. They don’t depend on over or under-trusting other people, but have a deep reliance on a power greater than themselves
• Sound values – a meaningful life philosophy to support & guide relationships
• Self-acceptance – we are the way God made us. Value that!
• Hope – believing in realistic possibilities & knowing practical options encourages constructive living in the present, thereby being responsible for future outcomes
• Forgiveness – for oneself, & Reconciliation – with others, when possible
• Community participation with others of shared spiritual values, nurturing interactions with people & nature (From: ‘The Coach of Choice’)
2. Humility (not humiliation, which is = to shame)
Being in charge of our own life is one of the cornerstones of Resilience (R.). That’s balanced against Humility – knowing & accepting our imperfections as human beings, without self-condemnation. Resilient people do not aspire to perfection! True resilience is based in reality, & Higher Truth is that only Higher Power is perfect – no human can even aspire to it.
Perfectionism is a cognitive distortion (CD) many ACoAs are deeply committed to 😇 – from deep in the mind of our WIC. Catch yourself saying : “I don’t have to be perfect”. This implies you could be, you just don’t have to. NO – you can’t AT ALL.
Trying to be perfect is trying to be God! It’s true that not everyone believes in a Higher Power, but even on a psychological level – struggling to do the impossible always leads to disappointment, adding to our sense of abandonment.
Re. shame : John Bradshaw noted that there’s such a thing as psychologically ‘healthy shame’, which admits to realistic limitations. It’s the opposite of grandiosity – the child’s belief that they have no limits & there are no bad consequences.
Developing emotional equilibrium is part of Spiritual Resilience, by correctly evaluating a situation, safely sharing the pain & receiving emotional comfort. Some psychologists have become aware of the connection between emotional regulation & religion.
Spirituality helps balance well-managed emotions with accurate healthy thinking, to form a spirit-in-action attitude that allows us to succeed by being ‘in the flow’ of life-energy.
Spiritual practices that help people cope with trauma-generated intense emotions include:
• Prayer, an exercise in religious re-framing of events
• Acceptance & Forgiveness, which nurture empathy & modify harsh emotions
• Meditation & Mindfulness, reducing excessive arousal
NEXT: Spiritual resilience #3