We all have resources to make the best of it when things get complicated or our expectations are not met. How to transform that pothole into an opportunity?
- Someone recovers in the hospital after a traffic accident and there he finds, without looking for him, the “love of his life”.
- Another person believed they despaired when their partner left them and with time and distance, they understand how limited that relationship had been and how much their days have improved since the fateful moment.
- The economic crisis is reactivating, in many people, the ability to make better use of resources and sharpen their ingenuity.
- Thanks to the traffic jam that caused us to be late for work, we found an old friend whom we had not seen in a long time.
How many good things can happen after losing something that we wanted to achieve or retain?
There are many stories of people who “have won after losing” and that are synthesized in quotes, sayings and even stories.
Among the latter stands out that now almost universal about a young peasant who escapes going to war because the day before he had fallen from his horse and broke his leg, to the indifference of his father, who did not judge the accident negative or positive from the outset. your exclusion from rows.
Reality, legend, destiny? What is truth in all this?
EDUCATE A POSITIVE OUTLOOK
But let’s be practical: it is clear that two hundred people do not miss the plane that crashes just after takeoff and that the lottery does not go to everyone who buys a ticket. Where, then, is the wisdom of the popular saying that insists on the fact that “there is no evil that does not come for good”? Probably the key lies in the look itself.
Sayings like the one we mentioned, or that of “in bad weather, good face” are a hymn to hope, an incitement to sharpen a positive outlook because it is precisely the one that gives the strength to better adapt to setbacks, to manage the frustration with creativity and face with integrity the most painful events.
“Every event carries some benefit for you; just look for it, ” reminds us Epictetus, a Greek philosopher who was a slave for part of his life in Rome.
No effect is guaranteed – neither the good nor the bad -; We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our attitude towards it. Focusing on what can be done and focusing perception on the positive brings out your own resources in a way that ends up being more useful.
Things do not always end well or do not always meet previous expectations. But does that mean they have ended badly?
Events, themselves, are neutral. When they go against their own expectations, they are often labeled as “bad”, or even as “worse” if the gap between what is expected and reality is excessive.
This is the case both with setbacks and daily difficulties and with the most traumatic situations, although, of course, the latter affect us in a more brutal way and, without a doubt, are much more difficult to handle.
No matter how hard we try to plan, prevent or control things, experience shows that you have infinitely less power over events than you would like. Adversity and setbacks in life are inevitable; deciding what to do next is the only thing we can manage.
Knowing this, why, then, do we continue to be unpleasantly surprised when things are not as we have imagined them?
Because we are human and, in our species, the fear of suffering and change is something powerful and ancient. You fear losing everything that provides security and you avoid the possibility that things go wrong or are almost impossible to correct.
That is why it is important to try to improve but also to treat yourself with kindness, patience and compassion. If fear is unavoidable, don’t get angry about it; Let’s see, instead, how we can deal with it.
Whatever the intensity of the adverse circumstance, every difficulty puts us to the test, forces us to be creative, to sharpen our senses, to look inward in search of our own resources and hidden abilities; a few times to feel better; others simply to survive.
On one occasion Jung complimented a friend who had lost their jobs and also suffered a sentimental disappointment. After that disconcerting congratulations, Jung explained that thanks to that he could dedicate himself to his personal development, something that perhaps he would not have done if everything in his life was running perfectly.
In the words of Alexandre Jollien, a contemporary philosopher with cerebral palsy since birth: “It is quite true that the difficulties you encounter can be formative and that a man with a bit of sanity will get more out of them than by consulting erudite works”.
DO YOU WANT TO END A BAD STREAK? DON’T FEED HER
When things are not as you thought, when they definitely go wrong, letting yourself be carried away by anger or frustration adds an extra suffering that, sustained over time, tends to contribute to further entanglement.
From that emotional state, it is easier to make impulsive and less useful decisions, or to encourage others to move away from you, thereby wasting the main source of support. This mixture of resentment and impulsiveness can trigger a mixture of negative actions and effects that are difficult to explain.
We owe the English playwright Charles Reade this famous reflection: “Observe your thoughts, because they become words. Observe your words, because they become actions. Observe your actions, because they become habits. Observe your habits, because they become your personality. Observe your personality, because it becomes your destiny. ”
If things have not turned out as we expected, they cannot be otherwise, A person may complain, mourn incessantly, be saddened to paralysis, let himself be filled with anger or indignation to the point of heart attack, or accept the situation and see how you can best handle it and take advantage of it.
As Alexandre Jollien says: “Life –concrete experience gives us the weapons to find solutions, solutions that emerge little by little, as a result of a dialogue: with friends, with the closest people but, above all, with one same”.
You also need to go beyond the incident and not just react thoughtlessly; It is convenient to stop and think, to wonder about the resources one has, what one could do and its effects.
But, having said that, what if we were able to maintain a clean look of labels that would allow us to be surprised? The positive, the learnings, are there, along with everything else: it’s just a matter of being receptive, not closing.
Light and shadow coexist, why, then, be obsessed with darkness? How many good things have we missed simply because we were too busy feeding anger and frustration because things didn’t turn out the way we thought they should?
HOW TO TAKE A CONSTRUCTIVE PERSPECTIVE
This setback that has been suffered, what positive things has it allowed to see, feel and experience? Asking these types of questions over and over again, day by day, will help to generate the habit of taking advantage of things, that is, of life itself.
In most cases, the ability to find positives out of adversity is best appreciated once the situation has been resolved or managed. When everything is over it is easier to sit down and reflect on what has happened, to evaluate the result of your own effort, to seek and give meaning to the lived experience.
In this process it is very important that the person can focus on highlighting everything they have done to successfully resolve the situation focus on their own resources and on all the help they have been able to get.
Nothing can be achieved without the direct or indirect participation of other people. Thinking about it makes us humbler, which allows us to learn more and softens the grief. This implies recognizing who and in what way have collaborated in the successful management of the situation, although “success” only implies that one has become capable of living with an unchangeable situation.
The complaint does not help; what has happened can no longer be avoided. It is better to ask yourself what one can do to solve it or to live with it. It is helpful to make an effort to find three positives in each unexpected or negative situation. It is convenient to find answers to questions such as:
- How was the difficulty dealt with?
- What was useful?
- What was comforting?
- What brought hope?
- What helped you persevere? To resist?
- What’s good after all?
Many people, after this reflection, feel a great sense of triumph. If that happens, it’s a very good sign, let’s enjoy it! This feeling is an important part of the process of gaining endurance and psychological strength (resilience, in fact); you should be happy about it.
HOPE AS A MOTOR
José Luis Martín Descalzo, priest and writer, used to say that “all the doors are never closed while we are alive.” It is difficult to explain but, without hope, nothing ends up being possible.
Perhaps because human beings are semantic animals: we need things, our actions and our wishes to make sense. And hope is one of the key ingredients in that search for meaning.
It is clear that it is not about generating false expectations or feeding the so-called “magical thinking”, but when life is too tight, an excess of “realism” can be, literally, deadly. Hope is what helps to persevere in the effort, to believe that it is worthwhile to continue fighting, making an effort to learn from any situation.
“Even in the wound there is healing virtue,” said Nietzsche, and people need to believe in it because that not only boosts their own ability to face difficult situations but also to end up being better people after the storm.
We do not have to go far in search of hope because, like any positive thing in our life, it is already with us. And, in the same way that no one finds what they are not looking for, we all need to remember what we forgot to look at.
12 KEYS TO GET AHEAD WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG
Increasing the capacity to learn from each circumstance and to find its good side is a matter of attitude. Keeping these 12 tips in mind will help us develop resilience, an enormous strength in difficult situations:
- Distinguish between what depends on you and what depends on other people or circumstances over which you have no control. Focus on what you can do or decide.
- Do not resign yourself; Take an active attitude. Trust that solutions will emerge gradually, moment by moment, day by day.
- Allow yourself to feel the frustration or intense emotion, but without letting it take over and paralyze you.
- Keep in mind what the goal is; Define what or why you want to push yourself and continue to do so.
- Nurture hope, as it gives you the strength to move forward. Think that everything is possible, that everything will work out, that suffering or setbacks do not last forever.
- Trust yourself, your own abilities. Each person carries the solutions within; you only need that these can come to light.
- Remember that difficulties can be formative; taking advantage of them is up to you. Each setback offers the opportunity to look within and invoke intimate resources. The trials we endure show us our strength.
- Demanding that events happen as you wish easily leads to frustration: avoid those expectations, or at least accept them for what they are: just a possible outcome.
- Seek beauty, even in the harshest situations. Who said that “bad” is only bad? Better be surprised by life.
- When the adverse circumstance has ended or during it, look at everything you have done to resist and resolve it. Enjoy, if it arises, the feeling of triumph.
- Ask yourself what the experience has meant to you, what have you learned from it.
- Do not miss the opportunity to appreciate the help or affection received. When it is not possible to express it to others, you can do it, at least, internally.