Have you ever found yourself googling a topic several times?
How long does it take you to realize you are reaching out for help?
As a therapist I have conversations daily about self awareness and my clients consistently inspire me with their insights and willingness to take a long, hard look at themselves. I try to walk the walk with honest conversations with myself too, and I’m always working to be transparent.
I have found myself reading and studying resilience a lot lately. I don’t mean I’ve been casually reading a journal article or two. No, I’ve immersed myself in an online course, I’ve purchased many books and downloaded many, many articles too. If I’m not reading about resilience I seem to be talking about it.
For a while I took note of it and wondered if it was about something more, but I immediately dismissed it as something I was doing for my clients and my work. It is good to stay current with research and I always study and read information to keep up to date. Although this is true, I knew somewhere deep down that the amount of attention I was focusing on resilience was a bit obsessive.
What is going on with this resilience stuff? I imagine that might be what close friends are wondering. I seem to work it into every conversation I have.
And then the other day it hit me.
Maybe I need a reminder of my own resilience.
I’ve always been interested in resilience. Why do some people seem able to bounce back after a set back quicker than others? How do some people seemingly never dip too deep when life hands them a difficulty? Or at the very least, even if they are dropped to their knees, they always find themselves not only standing again, but eventually thriving? I think my interest has stemmed from watching my own family and the way in which we have all managed our own challenges. With 7 siblings and an alcoholic and abusive father, I had a test case right in my own living room.
But why now? What am I looking for? What do I need?
I’m still reflecting on this, but so far I have come up with a few specific areas of mine that may need a bit of attention. Do any of these resonate with you?
- Uncertainty has kicked my ass
- when will this pandemic be over?
- when can I travel safely?
- when can I see my granddaughter again?
- will everyone I know stay healthy and alive?
- Ongoing and chronic worry
Although all of these challenges to my mental health are common I do find myself struggling at times to maintain a regular routine when these thoughts are circling in my head.
So what does resilience have to do with this you might be wondering? All of these concerns are valid and we all just need to hunker down and get through it, right?
Well maybe not…resilience teaches us that our own internal thoughts can take a valid concern like say my worry about my family staying healthy, and churn it and churn it until I have developed an irrational fear and anxiety over something that has not occured. Oh and my self talk doesn’t stop there, it morphs into a worry that keeps me awake, impacts my appetite, and alters my ability to socialize or reach out to friends/family.
So my studying of resilience right now seems to be about me trying to step back from my worries and concerns (even the valid ones) to see how I may be throwing salt in the wound. Do I let my thoughts run free and make up scenario after scenario that only serves to wind me up and increase my fears? Am I letting my worries run free in my head with no restrictions so that my behavior begins to be impacted?
People with a resilient attitude don’t deny that there are problems, they just don’t make them worse by creating worse case scenarios in their head. They don’t allow negative thoughts to take over and squeeze out any chance for hope, encouragement or joy. They see the problem for what it is and then work to find happiness anyway.
I think I needed to be reminded how to do that. Do you?