Resiliency – Where Do You Come From?
People come from where they are. Their interpretation of events determines their emotions, actions and behavior. And, their interpretation is based upon their beliefs, or how they think about a situation.
Have you ever thought about what pushes your buttons? What makes you tense, angry, sad, guilty, or even embarrassed?
As I continue with my thoughts on resiliency – as I prepare for my retreat on “The Art and Soul of Aging Gracefully” – I sat down to look at the things that really push my buttons, and what beliefs I hold deep down inside that supports that energy rush. I’m positive you’ll be all right with me sharing this with you, because if nothing else, I know from experience that my buttons are often buttons we share. So, if you resonate with any of these, let me know; we’ll look at them closely together.
- Maintaining balance between work and home
- Dealing with deadlines
- A messy house
- Not contributing to my “fair share” of household chores
- Not wanting to go to the party
- Getting old
- Becoming seriously ill
- Empty nest
- Not contributing enough to the household income
Some of my beliefs are What-Next beliefs – worry about the future, and what might happen because of the situation. For example:
Becoming seriously ill is a belief many of us Boomers often stress ourselves over; expending energy that would be better spent on enjoying the outdoors on a beautiful spring day. My mother died at the age of 66, after having battled serious heart disease for over twenty years. I often catch myself worrying about that.
Getting old. It’s ironic that I worry about becoming seriously ill and dying early, but the flip of that coin is getting really old! Getting really old comes with its own set of issues that must be addressed.
Not contributing enough to the household income, and what-if we get really old, will we have enough money to sustain us or what-if we get seriously ill, will we use up all we have! Gotcha!
Some of my beliefs are Why beliefs, or causal. How do you answer why beliefs? Do you blame yourself or others? Is the situation permanent or short-lived? Will the situation undermine your entire life or just this one situation?
My messy house is one of these beliefs. I believe I’m responsible for making sure the house is not messy, and I’m embarrassed when my friends and colleagues see my messy house.
Resiliency requires us to think both causally as well as giving thought to the implications of our beliefs. The truth is that most of us have a pattern to our thinking, and identification of that pattern is helpful in determining what we can do to become more resilient. For instance, I believe I fall quite frequently into the Always – Everything pattern of thinking, vacillating back and forth between Me and They. I also think more along the Why path rather than What-Next.
In the book, The Resilience Factor, Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte share an interesting chart that created a great deal of enlightenment for me as I thought about my resilience.
|Violation of your rights||Anger|
|Real-world loss or loss of self-worth||Sadness, depression|
|Violation of another’s rights||Guilt|
|Future Threat||Anxiety, fear|
|Negative comparison to others||Embarrassment|
When you look at this chart, you will see the connections. They are quite enlightening. For example, if you look at growing old as a real-world loss, the consequence of that will be sadness or depression. Of, if you look at serious illness as a future threat, you will experience anxiety or fear. My messy house is a negative comparison to others, and creates embarrassment. When we look at ourselves as victims of a situation, we will experience deep anger. And, when we don’t want to go to a party that means a great deal to someone we love (violation of another’s rights), we will feel guilt.
The good news is that you can change the way you think of things – that is the true delight to be found in the concept of resilience. You can “retrain your brain”. And, there are multiple ways to do that. We are what we think, and if we can change the way we think, we can change the outcome of our lives. Stay tuned!
We can change where we come from, and change the destination of where we are going to.