Friday, August 27, 2010

Getting Through It

We hear it all the time and it is probably the most difficult thing to do. And that it to be positive. Now, not being positive does not necessarily mean that we are negative. Sometimes we are ambivalent or in a state of limbo. We find ourselves in the middle of an intense life situation and we do not know how to get through it. Just the mere fact that times passes and that everything changes is one way we are assured that we will get through it. As the U2 song laments, "We are stuck in a moment and can't get out of it". The moment can be an actual moment or a situation or an hour, emotion, behavior or a multitude of many life's problems. At the time really isn't as important as to how we got there than it is to learn how we must move forward and get through it. It is often said that by talking about it, you move forward but this isn't easily done. Sometimes we just relive the situation and there is no forward movement. So what to do?

My last post was indicative of emotional, psychological and physical trauma but this post can be applied in any situation. Big or small. Not just the traumatic ones. One thing to do is to be conscious of knowing, as I have said, that time passes, whether we like it or not, and the world will change. Our goal is to encourage change in a positive direction instead of an undesirable one. One cognitive function is called, "automatic thinking". A situation occurs and from our past experiences, we automatically know what the outcome will be. And it usually isn't a good one. So, we must recognize our automatic thinking. Stop and look at the situation with an empty head (yes, that is possible). Erase all past thoughts and experiences when caught in a perceived hopeless situation and start to think about the good (or at the very least, the easiest) things that could come out of our situation. The may be require quite abstract thinking but the goal is to change the way we feel (the hopelessness) of the issue. Try to think of all the solutions that can be achieved, whether they have happened to us or not. When something of advantage crosses our mind, the hopeless situation may not seem like one without merit anymore. Exploring each possibility can take us away from the negative repetitive thoughts that we automatically find ourselves engaged in and a new feeling, whether it be hope, joy, curiosity, open minded may blossom.

By no means is this easy to do yet we read about it (like here) all the time. So, I say to think outside the box and be open to many possibilities. Not necessarily ones that have dragged us down in the past. We just may find that we are feeling a new sense of strength and act in a way that is reflective of our new way of feeling. An example: I lost my job, I'm depressed and feel worthless so why even leave the house. A new way of thinking: Wow, now I can the chance to do so many other things, excited and feeling hopeful and getting out in the world making our new goals come to fruition. Again, I want to stress that this is not easily done and we will try and fail, slip and slide into hopelessness from hopelessness but once we accomplish this ONE time, then we have a new history in which to draw from. You know, even thinking that things can get worse can challenge our hopelessness feelings, hence...encouraging us to be a bit more assertive to make a change. Two steps up and one step back. When we find our behavior helping our lives, it re-enforces this new advantageous thoughts that we are thinking, effecting emotions....and so on and so on. This is how the cycle of change can work in a positive way instead of our automatic thinkingthe same thoughts that are keeping us stuck to begin with.

When we try and fail, we need to get right back up and start changing our thoughts over and over over again. This perseverance starts to become a new automatic part of our make-up. The assistance of a professional, a friend or even alone will soon give you more confidence regarding your new set of skills. Yes, many of us fear change because of the unknown but change is going to occur naturally and I, for one, would like to be at the helm when these changes are happening. Sometimes the change isn't what we expected but to accept it, we must change the way we feel about this unfamiliar situation if we are to do the next right thing. The next right action.

Start with small changes and see how it works. To discover where you feel powerful over the process. This could be a good impetus to be prepared for the bigger unexpected changes that occur in our lives. We can all change but we must all put effort into it because, good or bad, nothing in life stays the same. Be the master of your destiny with an adequate amount of awareness with new skills to learn how to use your power.