Building Resilience | 11
When the end is the beginning
Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash
“The only constant in life is change.” Heraclitus
Ain’t that the truth?
One moment, you’re working away, doing your job, and, if you’re lucky, enjoying it.
The next moment, you’re on the phone with your manager. The company is folding. You’re out of a job.
In a flash, your life, your world is turned upside down.
Painful, life-altering events like losing a job, a spouse, getting divorced, not getting the promotion, happen to all of us at one time or another.
What matters is how we perceive them. Why?
Because that impacts how we handle them.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Choosing to Begin Again
In the face of a life-altering event, it’s no easy feat to choose to begin again. In fact, most of us would more likely choose to hide under our desks or crawl into bed and stay there for a bit. Maybe a long bit.
And that’s ok. You’ve got to take time to heal.
You’ll heal faster, and bounce back faster if, while you’re hiding beneath your pillow fort, you work on reframing the situation to see it less as an adversity to be overcome and more as an opportunity to grow, change or take a different path.
When we can revise our perception of a life-altering situation from adversarial to opportunistic, we can choose to begin again and mean it. If we can’t, the best we can do is put one foot in front of the other and muddle through.
And that’s not living.
Though that’s not to say that muddling through doesn’t have its place
During my first months as a widow, I did a whole lot of muddling through. I had no energy yet I cleaned the house nonstop. Barely got the kids to school each morning. And if I had to pay the bills and go food shopping on the same day, I burst into tears.
It was all just too much. I wanted to stay in bed. I wanted someone to swoop in and save me.
Be careful what you wish for, is all I’ll say about that.
In any case, I was muddling through. But what I didn’t realize at the time is that the very act of making myself put one foot in front of the other and making myself do what needed to be done was helping me fake it ‘til I made it.
Faking it helped me get my energy back.
Faking it helped me clear my thoughts and see that all the cleaning was a way to run from my feelings.
Faking it helped me realize that if I wanted to heal, I was going to have to sit with how I felt and make peace with my grief.
Faking it helped me choose to begin again.
More ways to build resilience
We’ve talked about perception, the power of “muddling through,” and faking it ‘til we make it, and those are all important when it comes to building resilience.
But there are other ways to do so too.
Get outside. Ride your bike. Fill your lungs with fresh air. Throw rocks in the creek. Feel the rock in your hand. Watch the ripples it makes in the water. Be. There.
There are also less “active” ways to build resilience. Lately, I’ve found that shedding things has helped me feel stronger.
I’m watching and reading less news.
I’m spending less time feathering everyone else’s nest.
I’m deleting certain emails unread and unsubscribing to others that send me down a rabbit hole of feeling bad about myself or putting (more) pressure on myself.
I’m even spending less time on social media (tough to do when you have a new book out) because the whole thing is burning me out.
However you choose to build resilience this week, remember:
It’s all an investment in being ready to “begin again” should you need to.
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