Category Archives: Resilience

Can you lighten up a little bit?

And by you, I mean me.

Can I lighten up a little bit? Can I find a way to not be so serious? To not try so hard? I’m still writing about it, so I guess it’s still a challenge at times. ☺

I know that when I lighten, life gets easier. I get easier. I know that when I lighten, I am happier. I know that when I lighten, things are good.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m light a lot of the time. I’ve worked hard ☺ to be light. I’ve learned to be light about being light.

And I can still use reminders.

There was a reunion of my Applied Positive Psychology class this weekend. Talk about a lot of people who are focusing on being light. It was wonderful to hear their stories of how they’ve applied Positive Psychology practices, almost as if they’re unconscious behaviors already. “I found myself stopping to take a deep breath to calm down,” one person said. “I freak out about everything I have to do and pause and look back at everything I’ve already done…and relax a bit,” another said.

I love seeing their journeys into more calm and ease, and lightness and joy. It reminds me of my own.

I love that I live my life looking for – and seeing – the beauty in everything around me. And often everyone around me. I love that I have tools to help me not be so serious. To help me not push so hard. And I love that the tools are almost so second nature to me – after all these years – that sometimes I use them without really noticing it, or thinking it through. I sometimes use them a lot.

Yes, there are moments in life – in my life – that are hard and heavy. Yes, I still have – I may always have – challenges in my now and trauma from my past to work though. Yes, there are times when I am so filled with anger it feels as if I’ll explode or when I’m crying with sadness. And yes, I believe I need to allow those feelings, be present for myself (and whomever I’m with), and search for (self) compassion and love.

And then when it’s time, I can, once again, lighten up.

I can often – if not always – use to bring a bit more joy and delight into my life. I can often – if not always – stand to pause, breathe, and ease. I can often – if not always – benefit from lightening up even more. And even more.

I can lighten up just a little bit.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I am feeling vulnerable. That is okay.

I reread Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. Once again, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

What jumped out at me this time? Brené offers this self-soothing for the times when we are afraid. “I am feeling vulnerable. That is okay. I am thankful for….”

I’ve been using that, over and over, in my times of fear. (Often irrational fear.) I know that I can be overcome with fear. I know that many of my fears are completely irrational. And I know that it makes complete sense that I have some – if not all – of my fears.

But I don’t have to live my life ruled – or restrained – by my fears. I told a client the other day that I’ve learned to admit to others, and to ask for help, when I’m overcome with irrational fears. When my kids are twenty minutes late, I know it’s irrational to be afraid that something awful has happened, and I know it’s where I’ll go left to my own devices. So I nearly always turn to my husband and say, “I’m afraid, and I know it’s irrational, but I’m afraid.” That always eases my fear.

As does Brené’s self-soothing. I place my hand on my heart and say (sometimes out loud), “I am afraid. I feel vulnerable. That’s okay. I’m thankful for…” and I’m overwhelmed with the number of people and things I have to be thankful for.

I think somewhere along the way we somehow learned that we’re never supposed to be afraid, while we also learned how many rational and irrational reasons there are to be afraid. When we can let our vulnerability and fear be okay, it lessens, and it lessens its ability to rule or ruin us. When I pause and breathe and self-soothe and bring to mind even one of the many blessings in my life, my fear decreases and sometimes subsides.

It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to not feel strong or equipped. We’re usually a lot less vulnerable than we feel or think we are, and a lot stronger than we feel or think we are. But it’s okay to have fears and challenges and difficult times. And it’s okay to not have your life be defined by them.

I feel a bit vulnerable for putting this out there. I feel a bit vulnerable when I open my heart and soul in this blog. I feel a bit vulnerable when I let people in and love people deeply. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay.

I am thankful for so much.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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Permission to be human

Perhaps you’ve heard this concept – permission to be human. I was reminded of it yesterday during the completion of my Positive Psychology program. Someone in the room mentioned that the process we’d gone through, and the Positive Psychology content (as well as the people in the class), had given them the permission to be human. To have feelings. To make mistakes. To not know. And not do.

Over the years I have learned to give myself permission to be human. I learn it again and again and again. I’ve learned to embrace “Oops!” again and again and again.

I used to think I was alone in my need to be more than human. Or super human. Or above human. It astounds me that so many – if not all – of us carry that internal critic and pressure. So many – if not all – of us feel compelled to never let anyone down, to never drop any balls, to never make a wrong choice.

Let’s give it up, huh?

Just like, as we sit in stopped traffic on the highway, my husband and I wonder what might happen if everyone just went 60 mph at the same time (jokingly of course), I wonder what would happen if we all agreed to drop the (internally imposed) obligation to be more than human and gave ourselves permission to be just as we are.

I grant you that permission, in case you need it from someone outside of yourself. I wave my magic wand, sprinkle my fairy dust, and click my heels three times, and behold, your compulsion to try harder can be eased.

I give you permission to be human. Today. All day. I give myself permission to be human. To take a breath and a break. To delight in the sunshine and the flowers in my garden. To connect with strangers, friends, and family.

I give you permission to be human. Enjoy it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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