What Have We Learned About Ourselves This Year?

What Have We Learned About Ourselves This Year?

Dr. Rick Petronella

Self-Sabotage: Why we do it, when we do it, and how to stop doing it—for good.

Conflicting needs can create self-sabotaging behaviors. This is why we resist efforts to change, often until they feel completely futile.  But when we are able to have insight into our most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence, releasing past experiences at a cellular level, and learning to be our best self, we can step out of our own way and into our full potential. Remember, change occurs when we hurt enough.

For many years the mountain has been used as a metaphor for the big challenges we face, especially ones that seem impossible to overcome. To scale our mountains, we actually have to do the deep internal work of excavating trauma, building resilience, and adjusting how we show up for the climb.
“In the end, we begin to realize it is not the mountain we master, but ourselves.” — Edmund Hillary

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Socrates.

 There are valuable lessons to be learned from our life experiences.  We might describe them as negative or unpleasant. While these experiences can permeate our thoughts and behaviors long after an incident is over. We do not have to focus solely on the negative effects of painful events. We tend to identify an experience as positive or negative based on our perceptions of it. However, it is possible to challenge one’s past memories about negative experiences by looking for the positive lessons within each. There can be benefit of looking for the lesson or the process of deriving positive growth from a negative experience. This, of course, is over time and once we are in a new season beyond the painful event. This has been shown to reduce stress while improving resilience and coping skills 

1) Learning positive lessons from negative life experiences is at the heart of developing a healthier sense of self.
2) Painful experiences can serve over time as a powerful catalyst for personal improvement. People with a growth mindset over time tend to perceive failures as an opportunity to learn and develop, not as a condemnation.
3) Further, the act of writing down and recording one’s experiences has been associated with increased positive affect and growth 
4) In the wake of negative life experiences, many of us discover a newfound appreciation for their resilience and strength, increased closeness with others, greater compassion, and changes in your life perspective.
5) Ultimately, the times that challenge us the most also have the potential to be transformed into a better person.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

How Emotionally Resilient Are You? QUIZ

Emotional resilience is the ability to successfully cope with change or misfortune. Even when afraid, resilient people respond to life’s challenges with courage and emotional stamina. 

While we can’t always control what life brings, we can use adversity as an opportunity for growth. Respond True or False to the following statements to discover how well you cope with life’s many challenges.

Set 1
1.    When bad things happen, I think “why me?” I feel fear and self-pity; I want to find someone to blame.

2.    When I feel overwhelmed by negative emotions, I overeat or drink too much alcohol, or do other things I know aren’t good for me.

3.    I don’t trust I can handle adversity by myself, nor do I have supportive people I can truly count on in a crisis.

4.    Even when my life seems stable, I worry that some kind of misfortune is around the corner. I also have a tendency to create catastrophes out of the little things that happen. 
5.    I find it hard to feel faith when bad things happen to good people. I feel despairing, hopeless and unable to move forward.

Set 2
1.    I handle everything better when I take good care of myself. Exercising raises my endorphins; eating right and sleeping well gives me more physical, mental and emotional stamina; and setting aside time for play and positive connections makes me feel more joyful and optimistic.

2.    I have faith in my ability to handle life’s challenges. At the same time, I know the importance of having loving, supportive people to help me face difficulties, large and small.

3.    Even when faced with misfortune, I look for the “silver lining.” I believe that ultimately there’s a positive opportunity from which I can learn and grow.

4.    I have a strong sense of meaning and purpose in my life that helps me move forward despite any obstacles.
5.    I’m very persistent. Even when I get knocked down, I trust myself to eventually get back up. 

If you answered true more often in Set 1 and false more often in Set 2, you may wish to learn some effective ways to develop more emotional resilience. You can strengthen your resilience by becoming more emotionally self-aware, improving your mood with exercise, good diet, play and laughter, building self-reliance and a strong support network, and by developing perseverance, purpose and a more positive attitude.

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