22 August 2019

22/8/2019 Tell Me What To Do Please!

Sometimes people just want a solution, to feel there is something immediately accessible to resolve difficult experiences, thoughts and feelings. The internet is full of advice and information about steps people can take, how to overcome issues etc. With people explaining how they managed to find solutions themselves. Much of this is useful advice and can be very helpful. And sometimes it is not enough.

The reality in life is that sometimes it can just take time. Just like some physical conditions can take several attempts and some time to manage, so it can be with our thoughts, feelings and experiences. Living with uncertainty and not knowing the outcome can feel unsettling and anxiety provoking.

One of the things that can help us through difficult times is having a sense of who we are and that we will be OK: Knowing we will adapt, we will learn, we will survive.  We call this being resilient. It’s not about being super tough or strong.  It’s knowing we are still OK even if we are vulnerable or ask for help.  That we can go through difficult times and be OK.

There is a lot written about resilience as being about taking control with a list of what you can do.  However, in my view this is misleading, and resilience is more about seeing yourself as able to adapt and learn whatever happens to you. You cannot overcome or change everything that comes along but you can find a way to live with it.

If we focus everything on the factors we cannot control, we end up dis-empowering ourselves. Instead we can stay in touch with what we have managed to live through so far:  all the things we have managed to do, the gains we have made, our strengths and skills,  our experiences, building self-support and  the support around us.  Sometimes our difficult time can help us realise what we have, and at the same time it can also show us where we still need to improve or develop. So, learning and adapting is always part of resilience.

Very often we know to advise our friends and family of these things. But being patient with ourselves can be harder. Sometimes the answer is less about finding actions or solutions, it is more about feeling OK with ourselves.

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