Why do some things knock us sideways and other, equally big things have no impact?
Photo by Matthew Lancaster
Something unexpected happens to you and it completely knocks you off your feet. You may fall apart, lose weight, get overwhelmed, and much worse, yet, when something similar happens another time, you sail though it as if nothing had happened. Amazingly, you bounce right back even better than you were before. This can be quite confusing to someone because how is it that two things that affect your life equally impact you in such different ways. Why don’t you react the same way both times?
There are a few possible reasons for this:
a) Setbacks that have a link to past trauma will hurt more
Past trauma can be the trigger for surprising emotional responses, even if it’s something you hardly remember, or thought had been resolved. Anything that happened in your early life that hasn’t really been dealt with, can, when resurfaced, knock you sideways when you experience something that feels similar. For example, if you were brought up in an abusive household and find yourself with an abusive colleague, your response may be strongly influenced by your old memories may and even bring up the old feelings that you felt as a child.
b) Your support network may not be as strong as it once was
Having a strong circle of supporters behind us can make us more resilient. Having people to talk to about what is going on has been shown to be as effective as having counselling, But support groups are made up of individuals whose circumstances change so there may be times when you don’t feel as though you have someone to turn to because they have moved away or have a lot going on themselves.
c) Giving people's opinions too much power
Linked to the previous point, when you are going through challenging times, you may have people around you who aren’t rooting for you and even offer discouraging advice. Letting the naysayers influence you will get in the way of bouncing back from the setback. Just because someone says something, it doesn't have to be true!
You do not have control over what things happen to you, but you do have control over how you react to what has happened. Try to remain objective and not let past experiences and other people’s opinions influence your interpretation of events. If your support network isn't up to the job, for whatever reason, please consider expanding your options or getting some professional support. That will help you work out what needs to happen to get you back on your feet and ready for more!
14/10/2022 05:15:45 am
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25 years experience in helping teams build user centred products and services, now helping digital colleagues learn how to bounce back better than before from the challenges life throws at us from time-to-time.