- IMAGINATION: Many people believe they have little or no imagination, and yet most of us have a huge capacity for imagining negatives: what the future might bring, what might go wrong, how people might react to us and so on. Use your imagination in a positive way. How would I like this situation to work out? Create a vision of the life you would like to have, or the person you would like to be. Imagine what it would feel like (if the situation worked out as you want, having that life, being that person.) Try to stay in how it would feel to get what you want, rather than slipping into the disappointment you might feel if it doesn’t work out as quickly or exactly the way you might want.
- MAKE A DECISION: Often when we feel stuck, we are experiencing mixed feelings and are unsure where to go next. Making a decision can seem daunting, especially if we are afraid of making the wrong one. However, not making a decision, or putting it off, is a decision in itself, one made by default rather than by design. In general, making any decision is better than making none, as it gives us the feeling of moving forward. If it turns out to be the wrong one, we can change direction further down the road, with the learning that we will have gained in the meantime.
- TAKE RESPONSIBILTY: It’s tempting to blame others for where we are in our lives. However, it leaves us in a position of powerlessness, and gives power to the other. Taking responsibility for ourselves and our results allows us to move into our own power. Even when it appears that the other person was totally at fault, we will have had a part in it. Somewhere along the line our choices will have brought us to where we are, and we are always responsible for our reaction and our feelings. Taking responsibility is not the same as blaming ourselves, which is as restricting as blaming others.
- MAKE A GOAL: Many of us live our lives in reaction to what happens around us, without ever taking an active part in our own future. Making a goal helps us to focus on what we want, and puts us in control of our lives. It might be a small one, to take more exercise, to eat healthy food, get more sleep, or read a book. Or a bigger one, such as change of career. Focussing on what we want and what we can achieve is an antidote to the powerlessness that we can feel when confronted by outside events that can rock our lives and can provide an anchor to hold us in the storms.
- BE OPEN TO SEEING THE SILVER LINING: The old saying, “every cloud has a silver lining” is more than just an old wives tale. In every change we encounter, there is a letting go of the old, and a space for something new. It may be some time before we can see the silver lining, perhaps a new relationship, a new understanding, or a new opportunity. A period of difficulty is often the forerunner to a period of personal growth.
Jude Fay is a Counsellor and Psychotherapist at AnneLeigh Counselling and Psychotherapy, Celbridge and Naas, Co Kildare