Written by Doctor G

Sometimes “The Good” takes Resilience

Hi! resilience

This week a dream, a prayer of mine, came true. My son returned from combat to visit. So much joy! Through some fast footwork and the help of people who know us and people who don’t and my partner’s heavy lifting on problem-solving and logistics… I got all four boys together and it was glorious. He was home for five days and is now on his way back to base.

I appreciated the heck out of every second I could.

And? Appreciating the heck out of every second is hard. It took a lot of my energy and strength to focus on the amazingness happening right then. To pause on the logistics. To do my best to actively ignore the obstacles and challenges (that don’t magically disappear during special moments). To let go of the five-days-from-now-he’s-leaving thoughts.

Have you had this experience? Have you needed a surprising amount of energy to squeeze a great moment to get all the joy? Have you felt that feeling gratitude and appreciation for a longed-for moment (or a bunch of them) takes a surprising amount of effort?

We can make this easier though. There are several strategies that strengthen our ability to really take in good times and feel during and afterward that we’ve had the benefits we expected. The one that helped me the most this week is the concept of “and… I choose.”

This strategy means acknowledging the opposing feelings and then choosing which I wanted to focus on right then.

My example: When I got some stressful news just before our weekly Friday night dinner – the first time I’d get to have my boys together for that in so long – I talked to myself. 

I’m feeling angry AND so grateful and happy. I choose grateful and happy for right now. This might last for the whole evening or just a few minutes or anywhere in between. For me it lasted about an hour until I thought of the thing that made me feel angry again. And I chose again. Later in the evening after we were home and everyone was doing their own thing I chose the anger for a bit. Talked to my person about it. Got some sleep. 

Resilience means navigating change with intention towards a positive goal. In this case the positive goal is to appreciate the good change while you’re in it. We waste a lot of time missing out on happiness while it’s happening and can waste even more time feeling regret or guilt about that later. There are a bunch of ways to strengthen the ability to enjoy the good. If you want to learn about more of those strategies let me know. Either way I’d love to hear what you do to take in the good while it’s happening.

All my best,

Dr. G

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A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
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