I was thinking the other day about how weak I feel at times. I keep wondering when I will ever feel strong enough to conquer the memories that haunt me from time to time.
How are muscles built and how I could apply that to my life to feel stronger? So, I started to read about how to build muscles.
The first article I came on said that there are three things that build muscles and make them grow bigger and stronger.
The first is muscle tension. You must apply stress to your body and lift heavier things in order to change the chemistry of the muscle. This causes cell activation and growth factors.
The second is muscle damage. When you feel sore after working out, you have experienced localized muscle damage. This causes a release of inflammatory molecules and immune system cells. The damage from the workout has to be present in your muscle cells to trigger this response.
And the third thing that must happen is Metabolic stress. This means you feel the burn of the exercise. This causes swelling around the muscle and causes the muscle to grow.
This really drew my attention because emotional growth requires the same things. Emotional muscle requires activation of strong body response and feelings. You may feel like punching something or have butterflies in your stomach. You need to have healthy ways of releasing the huge currents of feelings that you experience. As you release those feelings, you are gaining emotional intelligence and growth.
If you allow the feelings and don’t contract or shy away from them, you will learn new responses. Maybe you hate feeling sad, but you can think of it as rain. You may hate going out in the rain but your life would be very limited if you never did it.
If you are trying to be promoted in a job, but you aren’t willing to learn new things or accept new responsibility you can’t activate growth factors.
The emotional damage may come from a broken heart, or grief, or a job loss. But with this pain, you will cry or write, or run, or hit a punching bag. This releases a safe healing response to the pain.
I have often thought of my own abuse my heart would explode and I would never be able to handle any type of emotional reaction. So, I would just withdraw or disconnect instead of trying to figure out a healthy way to vent that pain. If I just stop to cry and not talk negatively about that response, I would grow emotional muscle. Instead of thinking that I’m acting like a baby, I should say to myself that I feel “hurt and insecure”. Negative thoughts and words, whether spoken out loud or internally, can damage your self-esteem and cause you to question your own sanity.
When you are in an emotional storm and drowning, you must have muscle to swim your way out of it. Swimming out of it doesn’t mean you are weak or scared of the storm. It means you had the courage to get out. Afterwards, you feel more confident and a certain exhilaration from surviving.
Experiencing feelings and choosing your actions and response causes emotional muscle growth.
I’m still in the healing process but learning and growing every day.
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.