During these times, and the roller coaster of emotions I am experiencing; as a result, I am learning to check in daily and ask myself with compassion and curiosity:
- What have I struggled with today?
- When did I feel at my most vulnerable?
- What has energised and uplifted me?
- How am I grateful?
For example, I struggled with a few encounters last week. I found them to be incredibly draining, and I can still feel the effects now. But the learning from them was immense and has made me more determined to pursue this line of work, all around Black Lives Matter. There will be a lot for me to do both professionally and personally if I am going to make this happen.
And here I have to admit there wasn’t too much I found last week to energise and uplift me, but to quote the ubiquitous, Scarlet O’Hara, ‘tomorrow is another day.’ And yes I get the irony.
I am also thinking about friends and colleagues, wondering how they are managing, what they might need? Or who might be struggling right now and how I might reach out to them?
Recently, I have also found myself acting as informal supervisor to some work colleagues, while they let off a little steam. It was a relief to listen with compassion to their issues while letting go of the need to come up with a solution. Accepting, learning that I do not have to solve this. It was enough for me to listen with compassion and curiosity.
And curiosity, in my view, is one of the key characteristics that underpin resilience, underpins an individual’s ability to either, ‘bounce back’ or ‘slog through’ a challenging event or situation.
Curious people are open to new possibilities and fresh perspectives. They are perhaps more alert to changes and what they might mean. Open to new experiences and new ways of thinking, doing and being.
It may be that people who have questions are more motivated to go and seek out answers, even if they end up uncovering a whole new set of questions. A big part of being resilient is first accepting the situation you find yourself in and not staying in a place of ‘denial’. Far easier to maintain a state of ‘denial’ if you are not looking ahead, asking questions, and seeking answers.
If this applies to you, then it is likely that your curiosity will extend to the people around you and why they act the way they do. You may find that you do not necessarily take everything at face value, especially if you perceive someone to be behaving out of character.
Being curious will likely mean you are continually learning in a way that is easy and natural for you. Frequently on the lookout for new pieces of information, new ways of doing things, new opportunities and hopefully put yourself in the best place to take advantage of these as they arise.
In times of stress and difficulty, your natural curiosity might help to keep you on an even keel. It is easier to maintain emotional balance and or distance from a situation if you can question it. What is happening here, who can help? What are the implications?
Curiosity can also put you in a position of having some control, information, and choice within a situation. It can put you ahead of the game. Over the years I have coached people facing redundancy and noticed the difference between the people who had seen the changes coming, had seen the ‘writing on the wall’ and those for whom it was a complete shock. The more curious, seemed to have some plans in hand, whilst the others were almost ‘paralysed. It took them longer to come to terms with the situation and start to move forward.
It is also worth considering that you may not bounce back, like a rubber ball to exactly where you were before this all started. You may find that you have experienced a fundamental shift, and moved through Post Traumatic Growth. I know this happened to me when my mum died almost nine years ago, I am not quite the same Janice Taylor as I was before. I feel as though the experience has tempered me very much like tempering steel by reheating and then cooling it.
So, with the current situation, what are you noticing about yourself and the people around you? Perhaps it is time to apply a bit of compassionate curiosity.
Until next time