I am always looking for ways to create resilience, especially for highly sensitive people. I want us to thrive in the world both as individuals and in relationships. I’ve seen significant research that shows how we interpret our lives makes us less or more resilient. If we take advantage of what happened to us rather than bemoan it, we lead healthier, more secure and content lives.
Have you known or read about a family that suffered from a traumatic experience but produced one child who suffered as the forever victim and one child who thrived? I’m really curious about the child who thrived. Did you know that twelve of our U.S. presidents lost their fathers while very young?
“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.”
― Ryan Holiday,
For some it seems, the obstacle is truly the way.
Perception changes everything
I’ve heard it said we only have control over our perceptions, decisions and actions. Perceptions are the foundation to all three. By creating a narrative that makes sense of everything that has happened to us and how it has strengthened us, we boost or change our perspective.
Personal coaches help clients change their perspective so they can move forward in their lives.
Sensitive and suffering
I often ask clients how a past misfortune changed them in a positive way. Perhaps their negligent parent caused them to be self-reliant and independent (sound familiar avoidant attachment types?). Perhaps their overly dependent parent taught them how to read people well and anticipate other’s needs.
Inborn sensitivity to threats matched with negligent parents makes it tough to establish security but there is hope for resilience.
Building a narrative helps.
We can view our sensitivity as a gift that gives us superior insight into other’s feelings, allowing for close connections through empathy. We can use our parent’s unavailability as a spur to develop personal grit and an independent nature.
Parenting guilt not necessary?
For a long time, I’ve carried a sense of guilt about needing time to myself to write and recover energy. This guilt rears its head the most in the parenting realm. When my marriage was ending and my writing began, I withdrew mentally and physically from the family sometimes to gather myself and create. I also was raised with a fair amount of autonomy, so naturally my parenting style resembles my parents.
A few comments my oldest son made recently, make me think perhaps I did not scar him as much as I think I did. He said he is glad I did not ‘baby’ him too much. He thinks it is OK to say no to your children once in a while. He said he is more independent than kids whose parents did everything for them.
He may not have felt my absence as deeply as I believe or he has built a positive narrative of his own.
You don’t have to write a book…
You don’t have to write a book to get the full benefits of establishing a narrative (just think it through or jot down thoughts in a notebook), but writing my book gave me a sense of peace and understanding I hope passes on to the reader so they may build clarity and security with their own life stories.
Writing The Quiet Rise of Introverts: 8 Practices for Living and Loving in a Noisy World, helped me make sense of my experiences as sensitive person in a rowdy world. It definitely made me more resilient.
What stories do you tell yourself? Do you have grit or grief? How could you change your perception?
If you would like help reframing your perception of your life story, please contact me for personal coaching. I’d love to work with you to create more security and resilience.
Here’s a video I created describing what The Quiet Rise of Introverts is about, what readers are saying and how it differs from other introvert books.