How to Handle Life’s Dramas
This is a really important concept; ‘how to handle life’s dramas’ and ultimately the answer is that it comes down to resilience. Resilience is our ability to bounce back, the capacity that we have to recover quickly from difficulties; a sense of toughness.
Some people are naturally more resilient than others, it’s just part of their make-up. A bit like being a natural extrovert or introvert, it’s just part of who we are. But just like we can push ourselves to be more out going in social situations and rein ourselves in when we are being a bit ‘too much,’ we can also teach ourselves how to be more resilient. It’s a skill like any other that needs to be practised.
I’ve had a lot of practice at building on my own natural reserves of resilience over the years! It’s fair to say I’ve found myself in some pretty dark places at times, and occasionally, it has taken every last bit of energy and strength to drag myself out of it. Sometimes, even just getting dressed has felt like just too much of an effort! Seriously. But I keep on going, that’s resilience and that’s how I handle what life throws at me.
I’m going to share with you my best tips for building resilience that I have learnt through my study of psychology, personal experience, counselling, and advice that has been shared with me. This is the stuff that keeps me going when the going gets tough!
10 Tools for building resilience.
1. Only worry about what you can control – if you can’t control it don’t worry.
Life will throw a whole heap of crap at you that you literally cannot do anything about. It’s just how it is. But our desire to change things, back to how they were before the crap storm causes us huge anguish. If you can’t control it, then you can’t change it, so don’t worry about it! (I’ll admit this is a tough one to crack but if you can, it’s a blinder!!)
2. Identify what you can control – seek advice and make a plan
Once you have identified what it is that you can control, then you can do something about it! Taking time to seek advice, work things out in your head and make a plan for action is really helpful, because it’s empowering. You’re actually doing something about your situation, you’re bouncing back, you’re not just letting it happen to you. You are practising resilience!
3. Remember that you cannot control the behaviour of others, only how you respond to it.
This also links back to point number 1 and is possibly one of the most liberating lessons I have ever learnt. We are all responsible for our behaviour and our choices, we can’t blame others for them, we can’t change or control the behaviour of others. So it’s up to us to choose how we respond to those behaviours and if we allow them to upset us. Once you realise you have a choice, it’s hugely empowering.
4. Ask yourself: ‘is it good enough?’
Throughout life we experience all kinds of dilemmas where it seems impossible to make a decision. It’s impossible because we’re looking for the moon on a stick, when really, we should be weighing up the options and asking ourselves this question: ‘Is it good enough?’ because ultimately ‘good enough’ is what leads to contentment and longevity. If it’s not ‘good enough’, well there’s your answer! Take action!
5. Recognise your own fabulousness!
I mean this. If someone else doesn’t recognise your fabulousness, well that’s their problem not yours! Life is short, so spend it on and with people who appreciate and respect you. (obviously if you go too far it becomes arrogance!! So, careful now!!) But seriously, self-esteem is such an important aspect of resilience. It very difficult to be resilient if you don’t think that you are good enough.
6. Compromise and Forgiveness are not signs of weakness but signs of strength.
Everyone screws up and makes mistakes. We all deserve a second chance as long as it is clear that there is true regret and steps are taken to make amends, change and ensure that it never happens again. If this is the case, then compromise and forgiveness is possible. Life is not black and white, there are areas that are ridiculously grey. Obviously don’t let people take advantage, one chance is more than enough for anyone. But sometimes you just have to decide; do you want to be right or happy?
7. Recognise the impact of Self Fulfilling Prophecy.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy is about the relationship between false beliefs and resulting behaviours. In it’s simplest terms it’s the idea that if we believe something to be true (even if it’s not) we will behave in a way that will ensure that our original false belief becomes true.
Preparing for exams is a great example… Student A believes that they will fail their exams because they are not clever enough to perform well enough to pass. Because they believe they will fail they don’t really spend too much time or effort revising. They sit their exams and when they receive their results they have failed. Not because they weren’t clever enough but because they allowed that belief that they would fail to affect their behaviour and actions. Causing them not to revise, and the lack of revision and engagement meant that they failed, making their initial false belief a reality.
Student B believes that they can pass their exams and are super optimistic. Because they believe they have a chance they make an effort with their revision, making time for it, they ask for help, they practice. They sit their exams and when they receive their results they have passed. Not because they were the cleverest but because their belief in their ability to pass led them to behave and act in a way that was conducive to passing exams.
Our beliefs about the world are intrinsically linked to our actions. Positive beliefs lead to positive actions. That’s what resilience is all about.
8. Take some Risks.
Go on!! I dare you!!. In life we get lots of sensible choices and lots of fun but slightly risky choices. Now, you can be sensible all the time but it is rather dull. As a good friend tells me… ‘I’m here for a good time not a long time!’ So, I suggest, that when faced with the dilemma of splurging on that fabulous holiday or saving for a rainy day, think about which you would regret not doing on your deathbed. No one gets to the end of their life and wishes they spent more time working or saving. Plus, a little bit of risk taking builds confidence that actually, do you know what? It will be ok!
9. Always make time for quiet.
I know that finding time is hard. But reflection, quiet headspace is vital if you are to work through your problems and challenges in your mind in order that they are resolved so you can free up precious headspace. Freeing up that headspace is essential if you are to be resilient. Your brain is like a computer, too much information or processes at any one time and it will crash!
10. Make time for doing something that you love, that gives you pleasure.
Those little acts of kindness to yourself, those little moments of pleasure will help you to recharge. It’s much easier to be resilient when you’ve got a bit of energy. Making time for the things that you enjoy also has a close relationship with your sense of self-esteem. Make time for yourself, you’re worth it.
You might also want to ask yourself ‘Is it Good Enough?’ Find out why I think this is an important question to ask yourself when you are in the midst of life drama, here.
Or maybe you just need a plan?! Here’s a guide to help you with planning your way out of a crisis!