Without Resilience - We Fail
We all know what resilience is. The ability to bounce back, overcome set-backs, deal with stress, self-calm, self-care, keep calm and carry on. What happens when you don't have those skills? What happens if you have some big hairy ugly thing happen to you in life and you feel you don't have the strength to bounce back? For some people, it is a string of little things that go wrong, one after the other - life just seems to keep knocking them down. The truth is, if we do not bounce back - we fail.
There are a whole bunch of reasons why we might feel negative about life. Stress about money or pressure at work; feeling lonely; a sense of loss after a relationship break-up or a death of a loved one; abuse or trauma; being bullied; feeling rejected, invisible or abandoned. Whatever the cause, if we carry these problems around with us every day, it is a heavy burden to bear.
For many people, it feels like life has turned to custard. Instead of bouncing back, they get weighed down by disappointment, despair, confusion and a sense of bitterness. When people feel this way, every other little thing that goes wrong in their life adds another heavy weight to their burden. It is a downward spiral. At some point in this downward journey they develop an empty space where natural happiness should be. They have a void to fill.
How do we fill the void?
There are many ways to fill this void. Most of them are destructive.
Alcohol and drugs are common choices. Drink to oblivion so we don't feel the pain. Escape from reality for a while to make ourselves feel better. The problem here is we only escape for a short time and then the situation will probably be worse. Alcohol and drugs lead to poor decision-making, poor health, less opportunity for job satisfaction, fewer friends and a hole in your pocket where the money should be.
Eat more food to satisfy the inner need for comfort. We are literally hungry for something to make us feel good. For many people that do this, putting on weight is the result and this may lead to more problems. Health issues may develop, needing to buy new, bigger clothes may add to money stress, maybe even a sense of self-loathing if they become unhappy with their body shape.
Gambling to give us the chance of success when we feel like we are a failure. We know why the casino is full of glitz and glamour - it is because they make oodles of money. Gambling may give a temporary high now and then with a little win, but usually this habit results in losing money and in isolating yourself from people who care about you. You feeling of self-worth does not improve.
Throw ourselves into work - become a workaholic to take our mind off things and make us too busy to deal with the real issues. Productive? Yes, for a while. But usually not a good team player as these people are stressful to be around. Stomach ulcers and heart attacks are common, along with a variety of other stress-related health issues. Plus, you have no time for friends or family.
Sleep all day. Just don't get out of bed. Pull up the covers to feel like we are pampering ourselves. Shut ourselves off from the harsh reality of the world. This course of action can lead to having far too much time to think and dwell on everything that is miserable in your life. You are isolating yourself from others and making your problems triple in size (in your head). Lack of exercise will lead to more lethargy and less energy to deal with any issues you have.
Making it worse or getting better?
As you can see from the above examples, our attempts to fill the void, may simply create more problems. We may not realise it at the time, but filling the empty space inside us with the wrong things is actually creating a bigger empty space to fill. All of the above ways of filling the void are acts of self-sabotage, even if we do not intend them to be.
Do you know someone who is in this state? Have you been in this situation yourself? Watch out for our next article on resilience, coming soon. We will talk about intervention and how to help.
Success With Grace is home of the TechBiz Success Academy, coaching and training to help technology based organisations thrive. Heather also invented the "Use your Yo-Yo" system for building resilience in people and organisations. For information about TechBiz programs go to www.techbizsuccess.com
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