I’m in bed and can’t go to sleep. With only a few days left here my mind is buzzing with anticipation. I got up and did something I do a few times a year: paint. I’m finishing a painting at the last minute – tomorrow I’ll pack the little bottles up. But now, back in bed, not interested in the energy required to follow the fantasy fiction I’m reading, I grab my computer. Major faux pas, I know. The bedroom is for sleeping! Don’t cross that line! You’ll ruin the energy! True. But I just want some distraction. Enter my daily dose of Huffpost Healthy Living. 5 Characteristics of Resilient People. I come across articles like this all the time but usually skip over them because I want to be a resilient person but I don’t want to do the work. Similarly I ignore the Mindful Eating articles because they all tell you to stop eating before you’re full and I kind of think on pasta night I should live life to the fullest next to an endless bowl of (gluten free of course) noodles.
But I really want to be resilient. Already I’m doing a fairly good job, but there is a hell of a lot more room for improvement. My recent challenges were not necessarily temporary, so I’m in need of long term attitude adjustment.
1) Practice mindfulness – the art of paying attention. Monitor the thoughts that come through. Observe vs. react. Ex. Is this feeling ever going to go away? Enter fear. Or…impartial curiosity? Pay attention to what’s right in your life. Turn up the volume on the beauty that surrounds us. Realize we are part of an amazing recycling program.
2) Don’t compare yourself to others – Essential. There is infinite potential to be jealous of other people. Whether you want a lover, better health, ease, clothes, looks, whatever – it’s out there to want. Presently I spend an embarrassingly amount of energy and waste a lot of mind space on comparing my lack of fitness to the uber athletes of Colorado. But, and I like this, “realize that every soul has a different journey and therefore it is pointless to compare the path of your life with someone else.” And this is where you say “Yes, but…” but don’t. Keep it simple. We do all have a different journey – so different that we are all uncomparable. Noncomparable. Whatever, spellcheck. But continue to improve yourself. Just because you have a unique journey and no one else matters in this respect, don’t give up on who you could be.
3) Understand that after every setback is a transformation – Nothing ever would change if we weren’t challenged. We misunderstand setbacks as these big bummers but can you imagine how boring life would be without these interesting turns of events? Bleh! Forget that! And, it’s so true we come out stronger. I still think I’m a sissy pants and that’s why I’m reading this article in the first place but I used to be an even bigger sissy pants so I’m grateful for these challenges to whip me into shape.
4) Laugh ;P Sometimes, especially in hard times, you have to actively look for opportunities to laugh. But, along with characteristic #1, Practice Mindfulness, you’ll notice there’s always something goofy going on. If you’re really stuck, watch the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine says MAYBE THE DINGO ATE YOUR BABY!
5) Let go of trying to control your life – There is definitely a wind that blows that pushes us about, leading us to this and that. The best we can do is put up our sails, keep our eyes wide open but soft and unafraid, and trust that this is going to be a good ride, no matter what.