Monday Musings…. Remember Where You Came From

Last week, I talked about waiting and how challenging that can be. Whether it’s waiting for a diagnosis, waiting to hear back from a job interview, or something as simple as waiting in the drive-thru for your Tim Horton’s coffee, there’s something in the fibre of your being that wants results now! It really becomes a head game to keep yourself grounded while you wait, as Rudyard Kipling suggested in his famous poem, “If”.

But what happens when the results of the medical tests come back with bad news, or you get passed over for that job, or, and even though it’s minor, your coffee order is incorrect and you’ve just noticed that 2 km down the road? Whether it’s a minor inconvenience or a major life changing event, you can become disgruntled, discouraged, or despondent. “Why me?” you ask. “Man, I can never catch a break,” you surmise. It’s pretty easy to start to sink, and, especially with more serious issues, to plummet to the depths of despair.

When I’ve worked with people who are teetering on the edge of hopelessness, I remind them that they are still here, in this moment in time. Everything can seem like impending disaster, that the walls are caving in, and that there’s no way to get through this. But they are still here. Breathing.

Then we take a step back, examine the issue at hand and work on a plan, a solution. For every problem, there is a solution. Often the person whose struggling will say, “I don’t know what to do,” as if they are frozen in time and thought. You get that. You’ve been there.

So, where do you start? Remember where you came from. Leading up to today, you’ve likely gone through some situations you thought you could never get through. Maybe it was not as difficult as your current circumstance, but challenging nonetheless. Think back and ask yourself, how did you get through it? When you thought it was ‘the end of the world’, what pulled you through? Is it possible to draw on that same source of strength, that same strategy in the situation you’re in now?

These may be tough questions to answer, especially if you haven’t struggled much in life. Whatever has worked for you in the past, even in small setbacks, can you try it? The point here, is to go from overthinking and indecision to actually trying to do something to ‘fix’ the problem.

Hoping the problem will go away is not the solution. Even talking to multiple people to get their opinions delays the solution. And to be honest, you are only listening to the people who give you the advice that either agrees with your own idea, or is the path of least resistance. Saying “I don’t know what to do” won’t get you anywhere. In the end, you must decide and then act. Inaction only allows your brain more time to ruminate, like a cow chewing her cud over and over, but it’s the same piece of grass, the same problem continuing to be sloshed around in your head. Stop thinking, come up with a plan, and act!

But…. but…. what if….? Do not hesitate. Anxiety breeds indecision. Fear is not the midwife you need by your side when times get tough. Instead, you need Perseverance to push past the barriers of “I can’t’” or “This won’t work” to encourage you do whatever it takes to solve the issue.

Remember where you came from. When I was a child, I was often left to fend for myself outdoors. In fact, I always had to ring the doorbell to be let into my house, but that’s not to say that I was actually allowed in. There were a few reasons for that, but one of the main ones was that I was a rather busy and messy kid (substitute ADHD). So, what do you do when you can’t go inside your own house? Well, I could have sat on the step and cried, and I can tell you that would not have worked. It would have been a complete and utter waste of time and emotion. I could have gone to my friend’s house across the street, but that would be impossible to do every day, and they didn’t care much for a busy and messy kid either. So, I had to think of something I could do on any given day, no matter the weather. I came up with a plan: on rainy days I delighted in jumping into the biggest puddles getting completely soaked; on sunny days I went to the biggest hill in my town and rolled down, repeatedly, getting my clean clothes nicely grass-stained; on cloudy days, I worked at building a shelter in the tree tops, accumulating multiple scrapes and burns from climbing; on snowy days, I found my way to the library, sat in a bean bag chair, and read the encyclopedias that gave me just enough information to peak my curiosity before losing interest and moving on to the next subject in alphabetical order. I had a problem, thought of a solution, and followed through by executing it. My solution protected me from the elements, I never got bored, and now I have a brain full of Jeopardy trivia!

You need to know that this was an everyday occurrence for me, trying to manage something that seemed out of my control. Instead of wallowing in self pity, or becoming angry at the injustice, or paralyzed into accepting my fate, I chose to act. I was young but teachable, and by that, I mean that sometimes you teach yourself the best lessons when you own the problem and figure out the solution. I constantly think back to how I got through things in my past to come up with solutions whenever there are seemingly insurmountable problems in my present world.

So, the next time when situations threaten to make you stumble, and you don’t know what to do, remember where you came from, how you got to where you are now, and take control of where you want to be moving forward. Don’t over-analyze. Use a tactic from the past that has worked and do it! In the profound words of Yoda: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

The video and the song lyrics remind me of my childhood, as I remember where I came from:

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