Posted by: jude49 | September 20, 2013

Count Your Many Strengths, Name Them One by One…

Dear Readers,

Life hands each one of us challenges that at times are so overwhelming, we feel we will never find our way through them.  At times like these, we seem to be frozen from moving forward as we see our weaknesses and inadequacies multiply before our eyes.  They pounce on us with all their negative power.

Stop!  We have choices!  One of them is to dwell on our weaknesses and stay stuck.  Another choice is to review past challenges and see what we did to get through them.  What strengths did we use?  What “hidden” strengths came to the fore that we didn’t think we had?  What strengths from former challenges can we use in our present challenge?

An example:  I was with a friend who has an awkward underground parking place.  As we were talking, she found that she had maneuvered her car very close to a pole.  She panicked and immediately went to a place of negativity.  She was positive she couldn’t get her car out.  But, after a few minutes, all was well, and we were on our way.  She apologized for getting so upset.  She is a good driver, and I’ve seen her get out of numerous difficult parking situations.  I asked her if she had brought those strengths to mind when she found herself struggling to maneuver her car away from the pole.  She said that all she thought of was scratching the paint off her car.  I wondered out loud if her experience would have been different if she would have approached her situation from a “strengths” perspective with a more positive inner dialogue such as the one following:

I’m stuck.  Darn it.  I’m worried that I’ll scratch my car.  And then I’ll have to get it re-painted…

I need to stop thinking these thoughts.  I’m getting more and more stressed with every negative thought.  I’ve been in tough parking situations before, and I’ve got out without any negative incidents.

I just need to take a few calming breathes and believe I can do this.  I know that if I gradually inch my car towards the left, I’ll be able to back out and turn around.

We both laughed, and she acknowledged that she she would have felt more strengthened by engaging in a positive dialogue with herself.

From the above experience, I’ve come up with a 6 step plan.

  • Acknowledge the negative situation, feelings
  • Stop your inner critic
  • Calm yourself
  • Remember past strengths
  • Affirm your belief that you can do it
  • Make a plan and execute it

How can this plan help you positively deal with the challenges you face?  Let me know.  I’m always interested in your responses.

Warmly,

Judith

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