This blog post was written by Alex Tan, Kandidata Asia’s partner in Malaysia. Alex facilitates our EQ-i certification courses in Kuala Lumpur and provides programs and services to support individuals, teams and organisations in measuring & developing Emotional Intelligence.

In two weeks’ time, I will be celebrating my 6th month of recovery from a brain tumour. While the number does not suggest a long duration, the whole ordeal compounded with emotional stress has certainly made it feel like an eternity.

At the height of this crisis, everyone including me was consumed by emotions. We were either sad, anxious, confused and even angry. Some shared how unfair this was for me (in my mid-thirties and considered young), some asked why, some focused on actions, some focused on best-case scenarios while others on worst-case scenarios. Soon this made me realise that even though I was the one physically with the tumour, the emotional stress was not mine alone.

As you can imagine, people around me became very sensitive and cared a lot for my emotional well-being. I became the centre of everyone’s attention and this consequently turned me into an emotional magnet. On days when I was feeling upbeat and optimistic, I noticed that everyone around me was influenced and felt the same optimism too. Likewise, when I felt down, I inadvertently made everyone feel sad as well.

With this realisation, I was overwhelmed with a different sense of focused. I was suddenly empowered with the notion that I am able to positively influence other people’s emotional well-being despite going through a very tough time in my life. The equation was fairly simple – I find solace when I am able to uplift others. I become happier when I am surrounded by happy and encouraging people, and in turn, people also behave more positively when they see that I am happy. So the only thing that was left to do was to start influencing others to be happy because that made me happy. It equipped me with a bigger purpose and I was motivated by a belief system that I could prevail in the toughest of times.

Being resilient sometimes means having the courage and strength to reach out to others. It became clear that while this journey would be tough, I did not have to go through it alone. I could rely on others to fuel my motivation and this built the mental toughness that I needed.

The biggest lesson from the biggest crisis in my life taught me that it is important to invest in building a healthy emotional eco-system with the people around us. When we are in crisis, the one thing that transcends physical stress is emotional support.

How might this experience support you in building resilience in everyday life? What might you change as a result of reading this post?