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Search for the Creative Way Through Adversity

Today I continue to write about Brené Brown’s 3rd Guidepost, which is “Cultivating a Resilient Spirit:  Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness."  Last week I wrote about Resilience, so this week I’m writing about Numbing and Powerlessness.  The book I'm referencing is listed at the bottom of this blog.1

When adversity hits, it’s hard for most anyone to be resilient in the middle of the pain, vulnerability, or struggle.  What happens for many of us is that we want to find something to take the edge off of the pain and discomfort.  Many of us run quickly to whatever would make it all more tolerable.  Some take refuge in addictive behaviors, which only make it worse.

The problem is that when we take the edge off of the pain, vulnerability, anxiety, or struggle, we rob ourselves of the power to do anything that would really help. What we don’t realize is that when we numb a negative emotion, we also numb the positive ones.  Brené says that we can’t selectively numb our emotions.  You numb one, and you’ve lost the ability to feel all of them.  Who the heck wants that?

The wholehearted people that Brené interviewed said, one after the other after the other, that when adversity hits, they lean into the discomfort.  When I’m hit with some situation that causes me pain, my favorite question through the years always comes back to me:  “What is the creative way through this?”  When I can remember to ask myself that question, I know I’m going to be all right.

Brené says that’s one way to define “hope.”  Hope happens when we can set goals, figure out how to make them happen, be flexible enough to know what Plan B is, and to believe in ourselves.

I would say that the two statements from this chapter that have stood out the most for me are :  “You can’t selectively numb emotions.”  And “Lean into the discomfort.”

And I would add, “Ask yourself, ‘What is the creative way through this?’”  And then get busy figuring out the answer to that question and acting on it.

1 Brown, Brené.  The Gifts of Imperfection:  Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.  Hazelden, 2010.

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And remember, you're awesome!  And God holds you in the palm of His hand.

2021 © Dorothy Gremillion

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