Approximately 5 minutes ago, I was sitting at my old wood desk, enjoying a glass of red wine, and catching up with facebook friends. Fun. Then I reached for the wine, knocked it over, and broke the glass. Red wine flowed - over my desk, some books, and some papers. A bad word escaped my lips. But, in that moment, I connected with the skills of resilience I have been learning and teaching the last few years.
Ten years ago, when I was at my personal low both professionally and personally, almost anything could have sent me on a downward spiral. Certainly a klutzy move like that would have been sufficient cause for much mental self-flagellation, a dump-truck load of negative emotions, and a bad evening overall. Now, not so much.
The event - knocking over a class, breaking it, and spilling the wine - was just that, an event. It's effect on me was determined mostly by my thoughts. Today, I noticed the tendency (I am, after all, a recovering pessimist) to blame myself and see the cause of the event in ongoing personal shortcomings that will affect many other areas of life. But, my practiced skill of challenging my thoughts kicked in, and I generated these much more resilient thoughts:
1. Though I like our wine glasses, they weren't all that expensive, and neither was the wine.
2. My wood desk, which I like, has seen worse - including the carvings from my older son! (That brings a grin, now!)
3. Not so bad - mop up, re-pour, enjoy the evening!
And, with that, the incident moved into the past. Except, of course, for this blog post. Minor, you say? Yes. But resilience is made up, in large part, of just such responses to events that become minor, or major, depending on our response. Some people are naturally resilient. I had to learn it. I'm glad I did. And I'm glad that, because I had to learn it, I think I'm a better teacher of it.