How Well Do You Bounce Back?

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How resilient are you? That is, how quickly do you bounce back after life sends you a curve ball…and it hits you in the face.

People that are resilient handle disappointment and set-backs well. Instead of allowing circumstances to define their life or who they are and set the tone for the future, they acknowledge them as a normal part of life. If they’re really good, they learn from these events. Exceptionally resilient people see adversity as opportunities for adventure and growth.

If you tend to think of failures as the norm for your life and engage in a lot of negative self talk when things don’t go your way, then you probably need to build up your resilience a bit. This allows you to better cope with the inevitable unpleasant events that occur from time to time.

First, notice the negative self talk and question its validity. When you think things like: “This always happens to me,” “I was so stupid, this is all my fault” or “I can’t do anything right”—just stop. Are these thoughts factual? No! This is your inner gremlin taking advantage of the situation to feed off shame and guilt. Don’t give it the satisfaction. Instead, think about what you can learn from the circumstances and use the opportunity to grow stronger.

Next time you feel yourself sliding into this trap, grab a piece of paper or your journal. Write down what has just happened. Next, list everything that can be learned from the situation. Now, make an action list for moving forward. What “learning moments” can be acted upon? What decisions can you make now to either correct the issue or prevent a similar event in the future? Finally, rewrite what happened in a more positive light given the insight you now have. Forgetting to make the house payment (again) and thinking you’re stupid and unorganized may now be “I’ve learned that my current bill payment system doesn’t work. My mortgage is important so I’m going to put auto payment in place.” (A simple example but you get the idea.)

Know that all situations are temporary. Life is fluid and we have control of its direction over the course of time through the decisions we make. If something unfortunate happens, it’s really just a bump in the road. Don’t let it throw you off course. Or worse, into a ditch.

Photo credit: Bowman! / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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