“A good half of the art of living is resilience.”
Alain de Botton
I had breakfast yesterday with one of my favorite friends. She is both a successful artist and an effective personal counselor. While we did not violate her client confidentiality we did talk in some detail about her experiences with folks, primarily abused women, who had great difficulty handling the challenges that life threw their way. We exchanged stories of people we knew who were faced with what in their minds were insurmountable obstacles.
Most of us have seen times when life was somewhat unfair. The tough part for many is that they react to events that are not going to change by agonizing over the unfairness of it all or even worse by continuing to sustain a futile effort to change reality when there is no chance of success.
Recently I read somewhere that if we do face an insurmountable obstacle we can either stop and wail or we can change how we deal with it. It does little good to agonize over lost causes, it is so much better to pick ourselves up and move on. In my case I frequently remind myself that when faced with something I cannot change that the world did not stop and that there are more opportunities than there is time to pursue them all. We lose far too much when we let pain clutter up or lives. I find even on my worse days there are far more positive things in my life than the occasional setback and it is up to me to remember that.
My friend succeeds because she fosters resilient behavior. Here is a piece on resiliency I picked up from the American Psychological Association that lets us know how we also can become more resilient.
10 Ways to build resilience
Make connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends, or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can't change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly -- even if it seems like a small accomplishment -- that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, "What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?"
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good.”
After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother, "Mom, I've decided to become a minister when I grow up."
"That's okay with us, but what made you decide that?"
"Well, I'll have to go to church on Sunday anyway, and I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell than to sit down and listen."
"Wherever you are is the entry point."
When visiting us in Los Angeles, my mother decided to explore a trendy shopping area. After window-shopping, she entered a store with unique table displays. Each table was laid out with distinctive linen, fine china, silver and crystal. Mom was the only customer. The young woman behind the cash register initially asked if she could help, but Mom declined and said she was only browsing. Mom was a bit put off by the glances the young woman kept giving her, but nonetheless, she spent almost an hour examining the different makes of china and silver. It was only after thanking the shopkeeper and leaving that my mother discovered she had been inspecting the tableware at a chic restaurant.
A person with six children is better satisfied than a person with $6 million.
Reason: The one with $6 million wants more.
A husband and wife were at a party chatting with some friends when the subject of marriage counseling came up. "Oh, we'll never need that. My husband and I have a great relationship," the wife explained. "He was a communications major in college and I majored in theater arts.
He communicates real well and I just act like I'm listening."
Middle age is that difficult period between adolescence and retirement when you have to take care of yourself.
A second grader came home from school and said to her mother, "Mom, guess what? We learned how to make babies today."
The mother, more that a little surprised, asked fearfully, "That's interesting. How do you make babies?"
"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."
"I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose fitting clothing. If I *had* any loose fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place!"
A guy noticed that his buddy was troubled and asked what was wrong.
"Ohhh, it's my girlfriend."
"Oh yeah? What's the problem?"
"When I asked her if she could learn to love me," he said, "she asked me how much I was willing to spend on her education."
“One's doing well if age improves even slightly one's capacity to hold on to that vital truism: "This too shall pass.”
Alain de Botton
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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