Thursday, 29 January 2015

What have you got going for you? More than you think

If your answer to the above question is 'nothing', you are in the grip of black-and-white thinking. So take some deep relaxing breaths and think again.

We all have an enormous numbers of resources available to us, and by that we mean the skills, experiences and attributes we have developed and accumulated to date, which we can call on at any time to help us navigate our way through life. We may take some of them for granted or even deny them if we are in a state of negative thinking.

If you are struggling to think of any consider the resources (called 'human givens') that nature has given us to help us meet our needs including:
  • The ability to develop complex, long-term memory, which enables us to add to our innate knowledge and learn 
  • The ability to build rapport, empathise and connect with others Imagination, which enables us to focus our attention away from our emotions, use language and problem solve more creatively and objectively 
  • A conscious, rational mind that can check out emotions, question, analyse and plan 
  • The ability to 'know' — that is, understand the world unconsciously through metaphorical pattern matching 
  • An observing self — that part of us that can step back, be more objective and be aware of itself as a unique centre of awareness, apart from intellect, emotion and conditioning 
  • A dreaming brain that preserves the integrity of our genetic inheritance every night by metaphorically defusing expectations held in the autonomic arousal system because they were not acted out the previous day. 

And that's not all.

Perhaps you are out of a job and you don't have a relationship at the moment. It is important then, to remind yourself of the jobs you have successfully held in the past, the qualifications you may have gained, the skills you have learned which enabled you to do these jobs, and so forth. Count it as a resource that you have had boyfriends or girlfriends in the past and are therefore capable of making a relationship work: or that you were married for many years before your marriage broke down and during most of that time you were a loving, caring partner, capable of sharing, having fun and being fun to be around.

If you have ever carried out responsibilities in your life, whether in a job or at home or even when doing a paper round in your youth (getting up early and doing out on a dark, cold, wet morning is no mean achievement), count it as an important resource.

If you have loved anyone in your life - your parents or siblings if not a life partner - or have cared for people in a professional capacity, you can count on having loving feelings and being able to love and care for others.

If you have just one exam pass to your name, that still shows you had the ability to follow through and complete a course of work in that subject, turn up for the exam and keep your nerve for long enough to take and pass it.

Perhaps you are great at drawing cartoons or animals for your nieces and nephews to colour in. Or you knit scarfs to give to charity shops. Or you read your children stories at night and give all the characters voices.

Count as a resource even adversitites you have weathered. Perhaps you have had years of illness that you have had to cope with or you have survived an acrimonious divorce or you have managed not to go under, despite financial losses. These are huge resources.

Don't forget aspects of your character either. Perhaps people feel you are a sympathetic listener. Or you are kind to stray dogs. Or you have a great sense of humour.

Write it down

Start making a list of everything you've got going for you.

Be thorough. No skill is too small.

Reminding yourself of your resources will help you to access them more easily, build your confidence, lift depression and think more positively and productively about the future.


This excerpt taken from the book: How to master anxiety: all you need to know to overcome stress, panic attacks, phobias, trauma, obsessions and more

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