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When challenges or adversity strike... Shake it off!

Posted 5/25/2019

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the ones… when things just all go horribly wrong? When you allow people to disappoint you, when something you were hoping for falls through and when you have an unnecessary conflict with another person? One of those days, you get to end of feeling discouraged, confused and disconcerted? Well, I’ve just had one of those days. It’s taken a little while to process and get over, and, the best advice I got from my mentor was to just shake it off and move on.

Just so you know, it wasn’t a ‘bad day’, it was, as I like to call it, a ‘personal growth day’. It was a ‘tolerance and patience’ day. It was a ‘forgiveness’ day. It was a ‘learn some valuable lessons’ day. It’s easy to say that now, looking back, but let me say that, whilst in the midst of it, I did not feel like displaying patience, tolerance, forgiveness or learning any lesson. I wanted to blame, suck my thumb, feel sorry for myself and throw a good old-fashioned tantrum!

It all started when I got a message from a business associate with news that was not good for them or me. I felt deflated. Not long afterwards, I received an email from a person I was proposing to come and do a series of talks, I really wanted to do, which stated they wouldn’t be going ahead. I felt discouraged and I started doubting myself. Then to top off my morning, I had a really confronting conversation with someone who was angry with me. It was a conflict that really shocked and disappointed me. I was disappointed in myself for allowing it to get to this point of conflict. At this point, I felt like going back to bed and not getting up again.

Three strikes, and normally you would be out, but I refused to let these things take me down. Having said that, I did feel sick in my stomach, and, quite discouraged about life, for a period of time. The most disturbing thing for me, and maybe for you also, is that we tend to focus way too much on what’s not going well, and just gloss over all the incredible things that are happening. I’m not immune to this. As I sit here writing this blog and thinking about my life at the moment, I am super excited about what’s happening. I have so many more wonderful things happening, than upsetting things, so why do I get so affected by the negatives? You may ask yourself the same question. Then the other morning, I was talking to my mentor and telling him about my ‘personal growth day’, and he simply encouraged me to shake it off and move on. So, I did!

Some simple ‘shaking it off’ strategies!

Shaking off negative thoughts and feelings is far easier said than done, but is possible, and, can be done quite quickly with some strategies up your sleeve. I love watching wet dogs shake off the excess water. Have you ever taken the time to study how they do it? They start with their head and build momentum as the shaking moves to their front legs, their body, their back legs and all the way to their tail. They then start all over again and keep repeating until they have removed all excess water. It’s a very complex and comprehensive procedure. So, all we need to do, is just shake every possible thing we can shake.

My shaking process started with talking to someone I trusted about the situation and getting a different perspective. My mentor helped me to look at things outside the few challenging circumstances that had occurred, and as a result, I was able to fix my eyes on all the wonderful things in my life, and realise how truly blessed I am. This then got me focused on all of the things in my life that I’m grateful for. There is something about gratitude that will transform any negative situation in a heartbeat. Just indulge me for a moment and try this; spend the next 60 seconds thinking about everything you are truly grateful for in your life. Go on, I dare you! Did you do it? If you did, how do you feel? I just did it and feel amazingly peaceful and happy. If you didn’t do it, that’s okay, you can stay miserable if you like, it’s your choice!

As my shaking started to gather some momentum, I decided to look at each scenario to discover what positives I could take out of each of them. I was able to see how I could have handled each situation better, what I will do differently next time and, honestly, how, in the big picture, none of them were worth stressing over. What a powerful relief that was. It helped me find solutions, fine-tune my next approach and identify what was really important in my life. The most important part of this step in the shaking process is, once peace has been made, lessons have been learned and solutions have been found, then… let the negatives go.

One thing I have learnt about conflict, over many years, is that when you win an argument, you really lose. You see, people have their own opinion and perspective about what they believe, and, telling them and proving to them they are wrong, does not endear them to you, nor does it make you feel better. I actually feel worse after conflict when I’ve been pushing hard to win my argument. Sometimes, it’s just best to apologise for the situation, and, again, let it go.

Remember, things only impact us negatively, if we let them. The situation is never the problem, it’s our reaction to the situation that will either inflame it, and make it far worse, or diffuse it and turn it into a positive. It all depends on our thoughts. It’s not always easy to choose the right thoughts, but it’s always in our control. The thing that most helps me overcome challenges or adversity, more effectively, is my continual commitment to flood my brain with positives. One may even say, brainwashing, but my brain, as does yours, needs a good washing. Every day I read positive books, listen to inspiring audios, affirm what I want, and pray to God. The more great stuff I put into my brain, the better I naturally get at shaking off negativity, and, moving on.

I was born a middle child and for much of my life been a real sooky, attention-seeking mamma’s boy. I still am to a degree, but in my earlier years I would hold on to negativity, blame, and victim-thinking for days, weeks, months, even years! It destroyed many great relationships and opportunities for great things. I just didn’t have the knowledge, skills or wisdom to shake it off. Thanks goodness I have evolved, and I hope to share some of my experience with you. Life is not always roses. In fact, life can and will be downright horrible at times. So, the key to dealing with inevitable challenges and adversity, is to learn how to; find the positives, shake it off and move on.