Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.-Charles R. Swindoll
The power of our brain is incredible. We can take many situations that get thrown at us and change the way that they impact us by just adjusting the way that we see them and, in turn, how we react to them. A friend recently experienced a breakup with her significant other, someone that she thought could be “the one”. For three weeks, she wallowed in her misery. Plans with friends went out the window in exchange for a pint of Haagen-Dazs and a movie that merited at least two boxes of Kleenex. She was unfocused at work and barely took the time to brush her hair (forget about her previous meticulous make-up regimen). Finally, she came to me looking for a shoulder to cry on. Instead, I threw her in a shower, laid out her clothes and makeup and dragged her out for coffee. Over our overpriced Starbucks, we talked about how we could change this experience into a positive one. What did she learn about herself through the course of her relationship? How did she grow? What did she learn about her priorities, needs, strengths, and challenges? And most importantly, how could she incorporate that knowledge and growth into her life moving forward? Once she was able to shift her focus from what she lost to what she gained, she was able to take some of her power back. SHE had control over how she now moved forward. She was no longer a victim but someone who had the power to create her future.
Now, not all situations are resolved over a Venti Frappuccino (with whipped cream, of course), but trying to modify the way we react to a situation and using our challenges to create positive change can empower us in our daily life. Talking it out with a friend or a therapist is a great way to put things into perspective, helping us to make a “molehill” out of our “mountain”.
Cindy Haynes LCSW-R