I almost fell off my hairdresser’s chair recently, once I was finally able to get my hair done after the recent pandemic restriction lifting in the Covid-19 landscape. She legit coined the phrase –family distancing – and I could not believe how apropos this sentiment was. It rang especially true for me, considering that I had been working from home for about a year, my children had mostly been learning from home (again, for about a year), and there was a jackhammer situation in my basement. Yes, an actual jackhammer. We are contributing to the lumber supply-demand conundrum of recent times and doing a basement renovation. And by “we,” I mean my husband. So, I needed an office and therefore rented one in the interim. See? Family distancing. We all need a break from those with whom we have been imprisoned. We need a break from ourselves! This does not mean anyone is loved less! This also does not mean that it’s not been excruciating to not be able to see family members we have not been able to. It just means life has been rough. If you’re a human, you’ve been impacted by the pandemic. End of story.
Reach Your Pinnacle: You’ve Already Prevailed. Next.
Over. And over. And over again. You’ve kicked proverbial butt here, there, and everywhere. Does it have to be this difficult? Is it actually this difficult? Yes, no, maybe so.
Onward, Upward…and Sometimes Sideways
That’s how I like to describe it (and by it, I mean life). My clients usually giggle knowingly when I tout it this way. The statement kind of elicits a vision of someone in a rainstorm, holding an inside-out umbrella and trying fervently not to have their height run parallel with the road. You see? I do. Insert giggle. We need the stuff that gets in our way to build resilience. We really do. It’s just like how our goal is not to eradicate anxiety (say, what??) – we actually need a certain level of anxiety for optimal (well, any) performance. Otherwise, we may as well have a nap with the lion that’s about to eat us. Too much anxiety? No, no, no – not good. Well, similarly, too much ease does not please. We need to build resilience to grow and reach the next stages of development. It doesn’t matter whether you flip Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on its head; true story: resilience works in either direction.
A few short themes/ideas on how to build resilience (the term is often misunderstood and overused – a related topic for another day!):
● Avoid avoiding (the main way to tackle anxiety is to do the things that seem scary)
● Broaden our worlds (depression loves the bed)
● Be vulnerable (counter-intuitive, perhaps, but a powerful tool when used correctly)
Note: All 3 of these have been more difficult to accomplish/attain during the pandemic – we have to avoid, we have to narrow our worlds, and we are already vulnerable to so many things out of our control. No wonder everyone is struggling!
That being said, there need not always be a “problem” (or diagnosis) to elicit a sense of unrest and a desire for growth. In fact, the top performers and experiencers do just that – seek more. This is not synonymous with dissatisfaction (though they can co-occur); what I am noting is a burning desire to grow toward the sun. Our metaphorical suns are our pinnacles. Let’s get toasty.