The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of all of us. Once the health crisis is resolved, mental flexibility will be the quality that most helps us to adapt to the new reality.
In this crisis all our plans for the future have been blown up. The world is on hiatus and we don’t know how or when we’ll get back to normal. In addition, we do not know what the reality that we are going to have to live will be like.
Faced with this situation of instability, people with more mental flexibility will be the ones who can adapt more quickly to their new living conditions.
BEING FLEXIBLE MAKES US SURVIVE
Due to the health crisis, people who had a very well defined and defined planning for their future (whether at a professional, family or personal level), have suffered a great setback. All short-term plans have had to be canceled and, for later, the forecasts are covered with a dense cloud of uncertainty.
When they have to face serious crisis situations, many people used to cling tightly to their projects, are unable to flex, remain blocked and do not know how to act.
Their whole world collapses, is paralyzed, because they can no longer follow the path they had planned and they do not know how to find alternative routes. These people are aware that they must restructure all their schemes and plans for the future, but they do not have the mental capacity to implement the necessary changes in their life.
We must bear in mind that flexibility is essential to adapt to these changes. Different Eastern philosophies praise the flexibility of bamboo. A Chinese proverb says: “Be strong and flexible like bamboo, which bends but does not break” and a Japanese proverb tells us that: “the bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”
Precisely thanks to its flexibility, this plant has the ability to withstand the strongest winds without breaking.
NEITHER IMPROVISE NOR OVERPLAN
Thinking ahead and planning the steps that we are going to follow six months to five years from now, obviously, it is, in addition to being practical, very healthy. However, if these plans are not flexible, they can end up becoming a prison that blocks us and that, paradoxically, prevents us from achieving our goals.
On the other hand, it is not healthy to give up all plans and let ourselves be carried away by what comes to mind at all times. Let’s not forget that bamboo has strong roots well anchored in the ground. If we don’t have a good goal that shows us the way forward, we will go around a thousand times, but we will never get anything done.
The intermediate solution, as is often the case, is the most appropriate. Plan, of course, but with flexibility, knowing how to adapt to changes in the wind, just like bamboo.
WHY IS IT DIFFICULT FOR US TO BE FLEXIBLE?
In my practice, we frequently work on the subject of flexibility, since most of us have been raised and educated in rigidity.
Authoritarian families in which children can never decide for themselves or the educational system in which the syllabus is the same for all students, mark a unique path in which neither mental flexibility nor the ability to choose.
However, reality is not so linear, it varies continuously, like the wind, so many adults in their lives suffer the consequences of never having been able to decide for themselves and of having been raised and educated in the philosophy of life. inflexibility, of the single path.
CONNECT WITH INTUITION
I want to bring to this blog the reflections of Faas, a Dutch boy with whom he did online therapy. He was in a job crisis, he was not comfortable with the job he had and he wanted to reorient his career, but he did not know how to approach his future.
In one of the relaxations we did, he connected with his intuition (much wiser than reason) and got these interesting ideas:
“You have to think about what you want, what you like to do and where you want to be in two or more three years. It is important to know the goal, but understanding that there are several ways to reach it. Each option will have its pros and cons, but you have to be flexible to choose. Like the water of the river that is going down. He knows that his goal is to get to the lake, but that he can take several paths to get there ”.
One of the many lessons we must learn from this pandemic is that we need to be very flexible in order to adapt to new circumstances that may arise at any time in our lives.