This can be a really difficult time of year for some of us. Especially if it has been a very hard year and we are still in a darker place than we want or thought we would be. Throw in the pressure of feeling grateful because we are supposed to, and we can easily be stepping onto the downward spiral escalator.
One of the most important pillars of positive psychology deals with resilience. Bad things are going to happen–it’s a fact. Sometimes they aren’t bad, they are awful. So here is the difference between someone who is miserable, and someone who, despite the odds and their circumstances, is thriving in their life.
Can you change the situation that is stressing you out and making you miserable? Great–you have control. Go for it and change it.
Can’t change it? It happens. Contrary to popular belief or desire, there seems to be more that we have no control over than that which we do. If you can’t change it, what can you learn from it? How can you make your life better because of the lessons shoved on you? Because you can. You have that option and you have that power. How are you going to emerge stronger from that divorce? From that layoff?
That is where your power (and your gratitude) lies–within that decision.
You want to be happy? Learn to bounce back. Don’t blame anyone for what happens. Not your boss, not yourself, not your spouse. It’s a waste of energy and will only leave you defensive and empty–not to mention miserable. Why waste your time, your life, and your potential happiness pointing a finger?
There are those people who will say it could always be worse–and that is true. But that is not the definition of resilience. Comparing yourself to others is way to determine status not happiness. Happiness comes when you realize that you have the choice to learn something from everything that happens to you. That you have the choice to fall down and get back up stronger than you were before. That power has always been in your control. Sometimes it is just easier to believe that someone else has more power than you do.
As we head into Thanksgiving, if it seems like you don’t have that much to be thankful for, just stop. For every negative you can count, think of something you could learn from it. Believe me, there is something you can learn. It’s why we are here–to learn and grow. To be resilient.
When you begin to recognize (if you haven’t already) how you can grow stronger when faced with challenges, you can’t help but begin to be more grateful for everything that happens in your life. Not just the good times, or the fun times, but all the times. It’s all part of the mix. And that is something worth sharing during this holiday.
It may be a little early, but I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Take some time each day through this week and think about what you can learn from your current struggles. What can you take away that will make you a better person? Don’t wait until you are sitting around the table and sharing one thing that you are thankful for. Make this year matter. Make it a turning point. Build your resilience.
You have that power.