“The more you hide your feelings, the more they show. The more you deny your feelings, the more they grow.” ~Unknown
Many people define resilience as being able to move toward goals. However, at times our negative emotions, thoughts or memories can block our progress. When we accept our difficult emotions, thoughts, and memories, paradoxically, we can help make the progress we desire. These valid parts of our healing process most likely need some focused attention.
Part of having career grit is to acknowledge the difficulties we have in life and at work. By accepting our negative feelings, thoughts, and memories we are validating and honoring what we have been through. Accepting our whole self-allows us to move on and work through difficult experiences. When we don’t acknowledge and accept these parts of ourselves, we can end up being stuck in repetitive patterns instead of moving beyond these experiences.
When we demonstrate self-compassion and self-acceptance of our thoughts and feelings we can develop the energy to move forward in our lives. Some ways to face and work with these thoughts and feelings are by:
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings helps you get them out of your head and can bring perspective to your experience. You most likely have had some negative moments in the past, where in time, you were able to release these situations from your mind and free yourself from the grip they had on you and your thinking. Sometimes difficult periods even bring with them unexpected gifts of resilience, learning or growth. Has that happened to you?
- Talking with Supportive Friends/Family: Sharing our problems with supportive people can help us get support in difficult times and share our common human experiences. Hopefully, you have people in your life that you can do this with. Don’t be surprised if some of your friends and family are not able to be emotionally vulnerable and tolerant of low moments. You will learn whom you can do this with by taking a risk and sharing with some of the closest people in your life. Keep those people who are able to be emotionally vulnerable close and also give them an ear when they are going through challenging times. This will help you build trust that either party can count on when you need support.
- Accept your Thoughts and Feel your Feelings: Allowing yourself to feel your difficult feelings, and bear witness to them, in a kind-hearted way can help you reduce the impact they have on you. If we strongly fight our negative feelings and thoughts they persist. When we accept our thoughts and feelings, we can change. “What you resist persists.” Carl Jung
One example occurred with a client I coached who had memories of working in a number of difficult team settings. This interfered with his work search since he was unconsciously worried this would mean that he would inevitably end up working with a difficult team again.
Rather than avoiding becoming part of a work team again, he reflected upon his past experiences and learned how to impact teams constructively. This helped him lean into team situations again. Sharing and dealing head on with his experience, helped him gain the confidence he needed to move into a new work team.
The problem doesn’t lie in the negative thoughts or feelings we have, but in how we respond to them. Can we be compassionate with ourselves when we have a human moment without beating ourselves up after the fact? Can we accept the inevitable dips in our journey of life, and not judge ourselves harshly for the difficulties we face? Remember, acceptance and self-compassion are instrumental in keeping us on track and moving forward.
“Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you can not bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain.” Kahlil Gibran
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