If there is one skill that most of the people on this planet have been compelled to nurture, since March 2020, it is arguably RESILIENCE amidst change. True – there may be many different shades of color to this skill. While some of us have bid goodbye to loved ones, others have said a farewell to their old jobs and searched for newer avenues of work. If some have learned to push back at the panic of dwindling finances, others have welcomed new arrivals in their families – masks, vaccine shots and sanitizer in place. We’ve given up old habits and acquired new friends, stopped old routines and begun new hobbies, questioned old priorities and acquired guilt-free joy in the little pleasures of life! Amidst all these changes, we’ve learned to bend our knees and balance on the “surf-board” of life. Sometimes gracefully, and sometimes reluctantly. But there has been no escape from the learning!
While reflecting on my own journey of learning, I realized that there was a convergence of “A-ha” moments, drawn from several roles that I play – that of a daughter, a mother, a wife, and also that of a professional, an educator, a life-coach and a teacher-trainer. If the year 2021 could speak, what would it tell me? So, here’s a little list of what 2021 “spoke” – maybe you might find resonance with some of them? ????
- Identify your “Circle of control” versus “Circle of influence” versus “Circle of no influence, no control”. The first refers to everything that is in your hands – your efforts, choices, emotions, thoughts, etc. The second refers to all those things that you can try and impact, but cannot fully control. This includes the actions and choices of your loved ones, workplace colleagues, friends etc. The third refers to the national or global events that impact you, but which are not controlled by you. These can be many!
- Train your mind to consciously link your emotions to only those things which are in the first circle. Learn to gradually de-link your emotions from the second and third circles. This is tough! But possible…
- When unpleasant and unexpected things happen, respond to them ethically, with the best of your efforts, without wasting time and energy in asking “Why me?”.
- In any situation, ask, “What is the best I can do in the given circumstances?” Then do it!
- Surrender the final outcomes to the universe.
- Let prayer and humility mark your efforts.
- Understand that not all efforts bring immediate outcomes – but every effort definitely brings the commensurate outcome at some time, in some way. Therefore, drop the stress.
- Instead of getting distracted by people and situations, ask yourself “How do I give value to those around me?” Then proceed to do that.
- Make your peace with all the things you do NOT control and cannot predict! This is truly difficult. Yet, logic tells us that there is no alternative to this, if you want your mind to be calm. Then, that calm mind can generate creative solutions for any problem.
- Remind yourself of these regularly, as intellectual understanding doesn’t easily translate into emotional acceptance. The mind is like a little child that has to be coaxed into learning. ????
- Track your growth and see how the uncertainties and challenges of your life have made you a stronger, wiser, more compassionate person!
- Breathe deep, smile at yourself in the mirror and pat yourself for every step of the journey you have walked on – only YOU know your battles, and you deserve to be appreciated for your endeavors.
May all of us learn the art of bringing the smiles back to our faces and our hearts, via the beautiful skill of resilience!
Photo credit: Piya Mukherjee