10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living, Guidepost 3

Guidepost Three

Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

I believe we are all brave and worthy of love and belonging.  And I believe we are all capable of learning the skill of learning wholeheartedly.

This is the 3rd in a series as we explore the 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living as found in the research of Brené Brown.

These are intentionally designed as simple, direct, two-minute reads that I hope bring you insight, value, and immediately practical application.  Given the current state of the world and the unease that you may be experiencing as a result, I hope you find this timely. And at a minimum, I hope you find them food for thought.



Guidepost 3

Guidepost 3 Cultivating a Resilient Spirit

Guidepost 3 encourages us to let go of numbing and powerlessness.  

Resiliency is the ability get back up when either things go wrong, we encounter disappointment, or we’re in the middle of adversity. Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly.  

How’s that for timing?  Sheesh.  

I know with the current state of uncertainty and so much change in what feels like such a short period of time, it’s easy to feel powerless and have the urge to want to numb out.  With so much happening, it’s important to look after ourselves and one another.  

And for me right now, the idea of resilience seems… empowering.  It seems like hope. It seems like a focus on knowing we’re going to get through this.  Assumes that we will. And that, to me is comforting.  

The fun part, or the work if you will, comes in understand how to be resilient even when we may not feel like we are.   

In order to cultivate a resilient spirit, we are encouraged to lean into and deal with the pressure of life, rather than run from or numb our distressing emotions. And to be fair, we all numb to some degree! Many of us turn to our devices, food, gaming or the use of planning and overworking. And ‘staying busy’ now that social distancing gives us less options to distract.  

And yet if we want to experience deeper joy in our lives, it begins by working on letting go of numbing. Why? Because when we numb painful emotions we also numb our ability to fully feel joy, love, connection, curiosity, gratitude, and even contentment. A resilient spirit feels, and therefore recovers more quickly than a numbed one.  And we need to draw on connection and contentment now more than ever.  

In order to make a shift, we need to figure out things that can replace the urge to numb when life gets hard. For example, I self-comfort by talking walks, meditating, talking to supportive people, practicing self-compassion, playing with my dogs, and cooking. These activities don’t numb me, they help me get through painful moments so that I can build a sense of resiliency.

Here are a few suggestions on how to set yourself up for non-numbing success, ahead of time:  

  1. Make a list of ways you numb and things that put you in that mode. Knowing your go-tos will help you make more informed choices next time around. And the next. And the next.  
  2. Make a list of things that bring you joy and people/activities that you are grateful for. If you remember from Guidepost 2 it is impossible to ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. Staying in gratitude allows us to continue to feel.  
  3. Commit to replacing your numbing activity at least once a week. Remember, this about cultivation. And cultivation starts out with baby steps.  
  4. Discover where your hope comes from. Ask yourself, “What keeps me going?” and say to yourself, “I CAN do this!” This identification of the things that do bring joy paired with positive self-talk can help shift the inner voice.
  5. Learn what is inside and outside your control. If we all had CALM as our superpower, this would be an easy one. But since we don’t, identifying the parts of the discomfort or pain that are within your circle of control helps you to let go of the things that are not.  Acknowledging that ‘this too shall pass’ regardless of the energy you give it, often allows us to avoid getting swept up in the emotions we assign and allows for greater resiliency and a faster recovery time.   

When we practice these skills, our lives will be so much more satisfying and full of happiness and joy.

Join me next month for Guidepost 4:  Cultivating Gratitude and Joy – Letting Go of Scarcity.

And if you feel the need to connect, please reach out.