Guest Post – Maturity and Resilience, a Message for Seniors

Jul 1st, 2011 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Sometimes we come across an article so good that we want to post the original.  This one appeared on, and the Editor, Irene Watson (Reader Views), gave permission for SCJ to re-post it here.  Thanks, Irene!

What Colby says in this article applies to everyone, including senior citizens who are SCJ’s primary audience, not just youth.  Read this one carefully, then go back and read it again.  Colby uses very clear language to describe what is required of us in the midst of emotionally difficult situations, both short-term and long-term.

Youth Futures: Emotional Resilience

Guest Post by  J. Z. Colby

One of the most powerful tools for dealing with a changing world is the ability to keep our heads (rational minds) in control, even when our hearts (emotions) would rather be.  This is also called Emotional Intelligence, but there is an even older and simpler term: Maturity.  If your emotions are always in control, you are a child, no matter how old you are.

This does not mean NOT feeling.  Our emotions are very important when we need to sense things about our environment, make judgments about people and situations, and form bonds (or run from them).

What it does mean is FEELING the feelings, not ACTING on them.  That’s the key.  If you feel something and act on it without thought, you are a slave to your emotions.  Slaves are seldom treated well by other people or events.

But if you FEEL the feelings, then DECIDE what to do with a clear head, you have the best chance of staying alive, and maybe even being happy.

Yeah, I know.  Easier said than done.

Have you taken a Myers-Briggs personality test?  For NEBADOR readers, there’s a simple one in Book One, chapter 15, and the Deep Learning Notes explains it.  There are also tests all over the internet you can use.  It’s not a “right-wrong” kind of test, but instead it just figures out which of 16 personality types you are.

Those of you who have a “J” as the last letter in their type are in most danger of acting on feelings.  “xxFJ” types do this routinely, but “xxTJ” types can also do it when things get stressful.  That doesn’t mean these types are bad, it just means they are better adapted to stable social situations.  If you pay attention to the main characters in books and movies, they are almost always “xxFJ” types because we love their spontaneity and courage.

Back to Emotional Resilience.  Once you clearly understand the idea of keeping your mind in control even when feeling, and you decide you want to do that, the next step is to practice.  It’s the kind of thing that you can’t really practice at times and places you choose, but instead just have to wait for emotional situations to pop up in life, do your best, and look back to see how you did after it’s over.

There are a few rules that can help.

Never do anything dangerous, if it can be avoided, when feeling deeply, even if you think your mind is in control.  If nothing else, your reaction time will be slowed.  Good pilots never fly aircraft when feeling emotional.  Remember: driving is a kind of piloting.

Never make big, important decisions, if they can be avoided, when feeling deeply.  Your rational mind, even if in control, is not operating on “all cylinders.”  Save decisions about education, employment, marriage, etc., for when you are clear-headed.

If everything is basically okay in your world (parent has a job, food in the kitchen, etc.) it may be hard to see how important this stuff is.  But the world is changing rapidly, and many young adults may soon find themselves dealing with difficult, sometimes dangerous situations. (Editor’s Note: Senior citizens may have an especially difficult time dealing with the rapidly changing world, since we have a tendency to become ‘set in our ways’ as we age.  Colby’s words are especially important to us because of our age.)   You might have a parent, friend, or boy/girlfriend at your side to help, or you might be alone.  Even if someone is beside you, you might discover that THEY are consumed with emotions, and YOU will have to think clearly, if anyone is going to.

J. Z. Colby is the author of the Nebador series, young-adult science fiction stories filled with wit-sharpening and skill-honing challenges, mental, emotional, and spiritual, for 21st century youth:

Born in the Mojave Desert, J. Z. Colby now lives and writes deep in a forest of the Pacific Northwest.  He has studied many subjects, formally and informally, including psychology, philosophy, education, and performing arts, but remains a generalist.  His primary profession as a mental health counselor, specializing with families and young adults, gives him many stories of personal growth, and the motivation to develop his team of young critiquers and readers.  All his life, he has been drawn toward a broad understanding of human nature, especially those physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual situations in which our capacity to function seems to reach its limits.  He finds fascinating those few individuals who can transcend the limits of our common human nature and the dictates of our cultures.  In his spare time, he flies helicopters and airplanes.

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