Archives for February, 2012
It’s one thing to survive misfortune - but wouldn’t it be great to thrive, too? To grow beyond who you were before adversity struck? You can. It might not always happen, but the more you are aware that good can come out of hardship, the more likely you are to look for and experience growth.
It’s hard to bounce back by yourself. If you look into the research about resiliency, inevitably you’ll find that social support and community are among the factors that help people learn to recover – and even thrive – through the worst of circumstances. There are many aspects to the idea of social support but I’m just going to discuss four key components here. Utilizing any or all of these elements will help you bounce back more easily and in good company.
Ever feel like you can’t take it anymore? There is an essential resiliency skill that will help you not only take it, but bounce back from the really tough emotional times in your life. It has to do with perspective. Let me illustrate by telling the following story.
Psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky is the only researcher I know who has written a rap – The How of Happiness Song - about her research findings. It must make her happy because happiness is what her work is all about. It’s not only happiness that she dissects, it’s how we become happy. She has found that there are three basic intentional activities that promote long-term happiness and thus bolster resilience. (I say long-term because it turns out that happiness around things like our life circumstances being improved by material items only lasts for a short period of time.)
A top girls’ school in London is currently engaging in an interesting experiment: Failure Week. This entire week will be about failure and about “the value of having a go rather than playing it safe and perhaps achieving less.” I love this. Here’s why: We need to become friends with failure in order to be able to bounce back in life. Even though there is lip service paid to “it’s okay to fail,” the reality is that there is subtle and not-so-subtle pressure to do exactly the opposite – to be perfect.
The next message is always right where you are. ~ Ram Dass I was sitting on the patio at Starbuck’s the other day passing time before I met a friend for lunch. I had a book with me and was trying to read it but, to tell the truth, my mood was down and I felt distracted from reading by my inner melancholy. Having lived with depression for a long time, my mind resorted to its gamut of self-recriminations: “You shouldn’t be feeling this way.” “Everything is fine, just stop it.” “You get gloomy too often for no good reason.” Finally, I caught myself, took a breath to let go of the negative thoughts, and went back to my book and mocha. A flash of pink caught my eye as the patio door opened in front of my table.