My resilience often falters when someone else causes me grief, stress, anxiety, or you name it. My desire to find wine goes up, I complain more and I loose sleep. The truth is that it is easier for me to blame someone else for my own lack of resiliency than to take responsibility for it.
I have worked in an environment where showing up to work became increasingly difficult. I would break down in tears when the disrespect and arguing from a coworker had reached its max. I disliked who I was, who I was becoming. I made every aspect of my life about my challenging work environment. I spend all my time being angry. I slept in fits. I had difficult conversations, yet nothing changed. I finally decided to leave.
Life went back to normal. I slept, I found my resiliency again and I was able to make it through the pandemic’s quarantine with strength of mind and heart. I started another endeavor, a volunteer opportunity, and again had difficult conversations, navigating expectations and creating boundaries. I began to my faltered resilience. The difference this time…I realized my deficits more quickly. I committed to not be leaving this endeavor. Instead I need to find ways to remain strong and keep moving forward.
I spent some time with my counselor first. We talked through ways I can change the way I am thinking. I need to keep retraining my mind to tell myself the right things. I can find new ways to focus, especially before I sleep. I can make sure I am getting physical activity as often as I can to put my energy into other places than just my thoughts.
If you are like me, difficult conversations can happen even when I’m not my best, but I’m often exhausted for several days after. Finding space to recharge and reset is key for my resilience. It’s easy to blame someone else or other situations for my “stressed out” mind, but I am responsible for my own actions and reactions. Claiming my reactions as my own is the first step to finding that space. If I don’t like my response, I have the opportunity to change it.
Forgiveness is also important in my resiliency. Time spent over the years in an unforgiving attitude caused bitterness and a poorly trained mind. Now, I am quicker to forgive because I know the value it brings to my mind, my heart and even my body. I still have a lot to learn about forgiveness. Forgiveness means being willing to let go of the hurt someone else has done to us. No conversation needs to occur with the other person, especially if they are unaware I am holding something against them. I have to be willing to acknowledge I have been hurt and I am choosing to let it go. Forgiveness becomes a daily habit until my mind has been retrained. Sometimes forgiving someone takes longer than I would like, but I keep doing it. Eventually my heart and mind are changed and I can walk in the freedom of that forgiveness. (More to come about forgiveness in a future blog.)
I’ve heard it said “hurt people, hurt people”. I hurt people sometimes. I have to forgive sometimes. I have to apologize more often than I would like to admit. Retraining my mind is an ongoing activity. I can’t imagine that I’m alone in this. These are all aspects need to keep myself resilient. As hard as it is, I hope you find some strength in knowing you are not alone and we do not need to keep blaming other people for our own failings.
On this Memorial Day weekend, if you have served or have experienced the loss of someone in our military, thank you. Thank you for sacrificing your time, energy and even life to protect us.