HOW DO YOU GROW WHEN EMBATTLED 1

How Do You Grow Embattled

In my work with Cancer patients, there are some good days and some totally blah days. The good days are when the circle is full of wit, insight, wisdom, and feeling of ‘can do’. The bad days are when some are stuck in a quagmire over feelings of nearing doom, staggering medical bills, and a the finality of death. Oftentimes, the tendency is to seek solace in own strength — just when we need kindred spirits with a little bit more objectivity to help us out. Oftentimes, we mistake emotions of stress, lack of energy or tension, to mean we are beaten or defeated by the disease. This is so wrong in many ways. Stress, fatigue, tension is a normal reactions to facing the unknown. They show up in exciting times —like getting married, joining a competition, going out on a blind date — as well as in trying times. When we converse with our emotions, we get a deeper sense of how we are thinking about a situation. If the emotion comes from thoughts of inadequacy, then find solutions to the problem. If it comes from uncertainty, they make peace with the journey life offers.

 

by life’s trials along the way.

Rattle Your Imagination

lately, I’ve been studying the theories of self-efficacy by Albert Bandura. simply put, Self-efficacy is defined as one’s belief in her capability and capacity to reach her goals. In the study of efficacy, issues of personal motivation comes up often —we are motivated by support, reward, successes in the past, how we feel about out successes. But then, success is subjective: if we feel successful or interpret events as indications of our success, then our self-efficacy is improved. So, it is not the objective success at all that makes us feel good. It is our subjective interpretation of the event that makes us feel good.

Back now to Calvin and Hobbes. I posit that if we can ‘rattle’ our negative minds from time to time and dustbin our nay-saying thoughts, we will be: 1. happier; 2. able to construct more creative solutions; 3. become more productive; 4. feel better about ourselves. We have so much negativity that emptying them out will give us so much more mental space to be creative because laughter, positivity, enjoyment, ‘just having fun with life’ shifts our mental state. And that is where the magic happens.

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Every time I sit with a new client, I mentally calculate the amount of work that needs doing to heal their spirit, make whole again. Basing the program on scientific journals of treatment plans and outcomes, I feel overwhelmed : 6 to 12 months of twice a week meetings to deal with anxiety or depression; bi-weekly meetings to change behaviour or unhealthy thought patterns; one to two years to work on bulimia;  Non-ending support and after care for PTSD and Bullied kids; minimum 1 year work plan for leadership development. These past few days showed those scientific journals wrong! For reasons definitely beyond my understanding and capacity as a helper, my most challenging clients have made great strides, growing leaps and bounds. The supervisor is now a manager; the daughter who was raped finally has placed her perpetuator in jail; the young man who lived in hate and anger has moved to forgiveness; the middle-aged woman who hid her rape in shame has let go of the secret. Is the secret sauce my brilliance? my fantastic program? maybe the assessment tools? From where I am sitting, it may  part explain. But from a scientific perspective, something or Someone has to account for that outlier result. It is quite possible that the miracles of the season I see means I was never ever ever working alone. And that gives me comfort.

This all brings me to reflect on Mathew 11: Is it you Lord who is to come or are we to wait on someone else? John asks as he languishes in prison for doing God’s work. And Jesus responds, “Go and report to John what you hear and see; the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at me” (Mt. 11:4-5). He could have scolded them for doubting Him, but He does not. Instead, Jesus instructs the disciples of John to look around them, to see the suffering of so many being healed. The point behind this point seems to be that no one but the Messiah would be able to do those things.

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