The other day TL and I struggled to find the right labels for the next set of underlying problems I must tackle. In simple terms, it seems my problems are that I am too pessimistic and that I give up too easily. Why do we think that? The most recent example is when I reacted negatively to suggestions that I needed to put more time into my recovery work and into helping with my sons’ scouting activities. Reminded of these responsibilities, I panicked. I instinctively feared I could not find the additional hours in each day. I blew the challenge out of proportion. I failed to approach the challenge with persistence and resilience. My initial temptation was to give up, to tell myself it could not be done.
Several days later, after experimenting with some new ways of organizing my time, I found that it was indeed possible to do all my responsibilities each day, or at least each week. (Actually, I’ve seen my kids experience a similar pattern of panic followed by acceptance when they are given responsibilities.) What had I learned? I learned that I need courage, courage to take on new challenges or to be flexible. Patterns and habits are a crutch for me. I must learn to walk without them more often. I learned that I need to keep challenges in perspective, not imagining them to be insurmountable. And, I learned that I must be persistent and resilient. I must not give up, even when the work becomes difficult.
Had I learned these lessons decades ago, I may have pushed myself to be more successful, more physically fit, more focused on academic achievement rather than on image and arrogant pride, more flexible and more innovative, and a thousand other things that would have made me a better and happier person.