Captain’s Log: Paloma here with a much needed check in! As many of you know, our store was broken into the day after Christmas, and we’re happy to report that we’re recovering well and things are aaaalmost back to normal, thanks in huge part to your support. Yes!!!! Thank you for the love and high fives and flowers and cookies and purchases - they have made such a critical difference in how quickly we were able to bounce back from this. THANK YOU.
On that note, Krista had an idea — why not share in this newsletter a little more about resiliency — that ability to bounce back from difficult and shocking surprises? What works? What tips can we share from this experience?
What a great idea. So without further ado —
THREE TIPS TO KEEP YOU BOUNCING BACK —
NO MATTER WHAT THE NEW YEAR MIGHT HAVE BROUGHT YOU:
Tip #1: Don’t suffer alone
Do not be ashamed to share with others that something hard just happened. Here’s the key however — do not complain. Really.
Practice the difference between saying things like “This hard thing happened, and I could use hugs/support/some hangout time/donuts” vs saying things like: “The world is shit and people are awful - my life is the WORST.” The first lets others know that you need help, so you feel witnessed, but most importantly, it keeps you and them focused on what kind of help you need. The latter has been shown to make you feel worse and builds community around negativity. That kind of community is not helpful towards building resiliency.
So, how to reach out? You can post on social media — this was my first time doing this. It proved to be really helpful, affirming, and efficient, because I really wanted to ask for help but didn’t have a spare second to text every friend that might be available. You can also text two friends together and say “I could really use hang time with you both, I’m having a hard month I think” — sometimes, squad time is truly what the doctor ordered. Or email a family member or friend to say “I’m having a rough time, and if you’re free to talk or hang, I could really use it.” I recommend asking for both time to share how you’re doing, but also quality time with others to distract yourself from the hardship. Tell friends you’re having a hard week and would they like to go to a funny movie with you, or to the museum, or to the arcade? Whatever gives you a break from the intensity of the feelings for a few hours.
Tip #2: Know the difference between love, and "growth" support.
In my life, I have a mental list of people who love me (which are lovely for when I’m feeling great) and people who are skilled at helping me be my best self (which are my go-to’s when really hard shit goes down). They are not always the same people — because love is not a skill set.
Listening deeply is a skill. Reflecting and affirming is a skill. Coaching is a skill. Love is just a feeling you have for someone. All of these are great, but resiliency requires time with people — who through intuition, training, or just good ‘ol practice — are good at listening, giving you the right amount of space, and sharing helpful questions or reflections to guide you to your best solutions. Wish you had more of these kinds of people in your life? Take workshops or read books so you gain these skills set too, because you’ll only find them when you’re able to offer that kind of support back.
Tip #3: Write and talk about what is in your control
When things get hard, my brain is tempted to focus on all the things outside of my control — other people, their feelings, what they’ll do or say, the weather, etc. But a critical muscle to build is the ability to snap out of this — SNAP OUT OF IT — and get clear about what IS under your control. Then, keep your eye on those things.
Example: Someone broke into the store, and stole equipment and things we needed to open and run the company. I don’t have control over the cops, I don’t have control over the insurance company, I don’t have instant control over how much funds we have in the bank right now to just magically buy all those things back so we can open the store again. The list just went ooon. I cried for a minute, in the store, with just my husband there, at the sheer overwhelmingness of that long list.
Then I took a deeeeeep breath. Or two. And I opened my notebook to start a list of tasks that were under my control, and a list of resources I had the option to call on, and later that night, I made a list of skills I had that I could rely on. The first and second lists helped my PFC (prefrontal cortex) have something concrete to do; the third list helped my amygdala remember that the first two lists were important, but the third list is truly the biggest factor. Because on that list were things like “I used to work in a homeless clinic where crazier shit happened” and “I am good at making project timelines” and “I am good at talking about my feelings so they feel less intense”.
Hungry for more tips? We recommend the book The Happiness Advantage (available in the store!) as well as the Coaching Habit (for building on those skills we talk about in Tip #2 :)