How is everyone doing with the challenge? You may be interested to know why I continue to call this a challenge. Firstly, it recognises that even small changes take effort and that needs to be acknowledged. But it also takes into account the fact that undertaking a challenge is one of the best ways to build our resilience skills.
Often, it is not just what we are facing, but how we interpret and approach it that matters. This is part of what makes up our attitude: one of the most complex and integral parts of our resilience tool kit.
You will benefit from concentrating on this area if you rated the statements like this in the survey with a Strongly Disagree, Disagree or even Neutral.
I feel proud to have accomplished things in my life
I do not dwell on things I can’t do anything about
I am resilient
It’s not what happens to me but how I respond that matters
You and your scope of control
You may notice that a lot of this comes down to where you place your personal control. For those of you who have been on my mailing list for a while, you’ll need to bear with me while I paraphrase a lot of what I’ve written before around control. It’s one of the biggies, and thus, doesn’t change much.
Control of our lives
Too often, we get really stressed about things that we actually don’t have much control over. Just think about this in terms of other people. We often suffer a large amount of discomfort and annoyance because they are not behaving the way we want them to. The problem is, of course, that we can’t control other people, nor should we even try!
Instead, we need to control ourselves around other people. When I do training on managing difficult people, I first explain that we actually don’t manage the other people, we are learning to manage our own behaviour and reactions around that person. Once this has been established, we can start to exercise control where it really matters (over ourselves).
Although it is important to acknowledge that we don’t have control over everything, it is just as important to not then shrug and ‘give up’. To do so invites passivity into our lives, a stance that can mean we give up what is really important or invite people to walk all over us. There have been studies that demonstrate the long lasting neurological and behavioural damage that can come about through such passive behaviour.
Instead, it is more important to grasp what is ours to control and make sure we exercise it. We can exercise control over our behaivour (like establishing new routines or habits) but we can also start to exercise a little control over our thought patterns- like questioning automatic negative thinking or reminding ourselves that we don’t have to stay stuck in the same old rut.
The Acceptance Affirmation
Many years ago, in one of the worst patches of grief and bewilderment, I came across this acceptance affirmation from an Unknown Author. I found it to be so empowering, so refreshing and so simple that I wanted to share it with everyone:
This is how it is.
Not how it was,
Might have been,
Should have been.
Not how I want it to be,
Hoped it would be,
Planned it would be.
I accept that this is how it is.
Now I get on with my life in a positive way.
I am resilient
You may have been struck by the simple statement in the survey “I am resilient”. Surprisingly, just the very act of believing this to be the case can hugely influence the way we manage our way through it. The truth is that if we let ourselves be, we are very resilient. So next time you are contemplating a future outcome that you are fearful of, just remind yourself- "I can do this. I can cope. I’ve coped before. I am resilient”, then square up your shoulders and charge on in!
A lot of different areas to draw your exercise from this week. Try one of the following:
Exercise: Unstuck- If you are stuck in something, copy the Acceptance Affirmation, place it somewhere prominent and read and absorb it. Find how you can get on with the positive way and choose that path.
Exercise: Control- If you’ve been getting really frustrated with another’s behaviour, start by withdrawing yourself from the situation and reconsidering what you can do with your actions and behaviours. Set, and stick to, self-protection boundaries and observe whether the other person’s behaviour starts to impact less on you.
Exercise: Be resilient: If you have a situation you are facing that is making you feel bewildered, overwhelmed or afraid, start with changing your attitude through thinking thorough the following:
- Fear is normal.
- I can cope with this, even if I don’t like it
- I am resilient
If you are starting to manage it, you may even want to take it one step further: what opportunity presents itself through this?
Keep up the physical care, try some of these and stay Steadfast!
As always, I'd love to hear how you are going- so stay in touch and write a comment or two