Updated: Sep 11, 2022
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
~ Wayne Dyer
I have been out quite a bit in the last couple of weeks telling my story and sharing the lessons I have learned during my journey (so far!).
I share with the audience the common theme of; resilience, positivity and determination in how I have lived my life. I believe that these were the key traits that moved me from a place of 'survive' to the destination of 'thrive'.
Do you believe this is a competency, a skill we have learned, a character trait we have, or strategies we use?
Is it the capacity of how much we are able to handle?
I believe it may be a combination of both. The more we learn, the more strategies we find that work for us, the more we strengthen our character traits and therefore increasing the capacity of how much we are able to handle.
Resilience is being able to positively function in the face of adversity. It is our psychological resilience, our spirit and flexibility to adapt to situations as they arise. It is protecting yourself from the negative effects of any stressors.
Many definitions describe it as our ability to cope in a crisis and also our return to pre-crisis status. The latter part of this I feel in dispute with.
Can you return to pre-crisis status?
Can you bounce back to who you were before?
I don’t believe this to be true. In my own experience when you experience adversity you grow, you evolve, and you find new strengths, new skills, traits and strategies which means that returning to who you were before is not possible.
As the following quote articulates so well:
“No man ever steps in the same river twice. For it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
Do you think you can go back to the ‘old-me’ or do you focus your energy on moving forward? Rising like a phoenix stronger and more powerful.
A little while ago I posted a blog about my positivity, and how it had been commented on as a negative character trait to someone. I said at the time that I was not going to apologise for this as it is something that is a positive trait for me.
I stand by this, however …
When is ‘positive thinking’ a strength, and when can it become out of balance and a negative or toxic trait?
Any character trait out of balance can become negative. This applies to positive thinking as well. It needs to be in balance for it to be a positive and useful trait and behaviour.
When out of balance, (too much) it can impact resilience. We don’t see the potential challenges on the horizon, we delete, distort and generalise the information available to us and then we do not prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead.
If you tend to be more of a negative thinker or a realist, then it is likely that you see challenges ahead and prepare yourself.
Out of balance, however (too much) this can lead to overthinking, anxiety and worrying, perhaps unnecessarily.
The key is keeping the behaviour in balance so that it remains a positive and useful trait.
Does positivity mask your true emotions? Does it impact the emotions of others or allow them the space and place to express theirs?
It is important that we allow ourselves to respond with emotion and then choose the emotional state that is most helpful to us. We do need to allow ourselves time and space to do that, as well as respecting others the time and space they need to do the same.
We all react and respond differently. ‘Forcing positivity’ onto someone may not be helpful, we do need to be considerate of this, even if our intentions are honourable.
The dictionary definition is ‘Firmness of Purpose’ (insert shrug emoji here!)
A quick google search on ‘Firmness of character or purpose’ tells me that it is the quality of being determined to do or achieve something.
Light bulb moment - If you lack determination do you lack purpose?
This absolutely links back to our personal needs and values. If you are finding that you lack determination for something, then you need to strip it right back and ask yourself why you are doing it. For what purpose? Is it in alignment with your needs and values? If it is not in alignment, what do you need to change, or adjust, so that it is?
If you cannot answer the question ‘for what purpose’ then you at least have the answer to why you are struggling with motivation and/or determination.
Work towards something that has a purpose, with purpose, and you will find yourself with determination in abundance!
I am not sure that I was necessarily aware of how much I was utilising these at the time. I most definitely didn’t sit there in the dark thinking ‘if I just had a little more resilience then ...’
However, looking back on all the things I have experienced, these are definitely recurring themes!
They are also not unique to me.
I have met two groups of women this month through some programmes that I choose to support. The first is a self-development programme for women that have experienced domestic abuse and the second is a charity that supports women who have been sex workers and are now in recovery and building their future.
All the women I have met have these three characteristics in abundance.
I am just not sure all of them realise yet how much, or how this is going to help them build the life they want to live.
I pride myself on the fact that I coach from experience, supported by techniques, tools and strategies learned in the classroom environment, and that means I can help those who I work with find what will work best for them, in their situation and in their life.
What worked for me may not work for others, but it does help me to empathise, understand, and support without judgement.
Often, we don’t realise how much we have within us that helps us through times of adversity until we are tested.
When we are tested we rise, we rise stronger, more powerful and realise that we are able to handle the challenges life brings us.
What is within you that is helping you survive and thrive?
What words describe how you got through a more challenging time?
How can you use these to help you achieve what you want in the future?
To find out how I can work with you to build your positivity and resilience why not book a free clarity call.
First published Sept 2019
Updated Sept 2022