I am a very positive person, but last week was challenging. On Wednesday night I was excited to make a new vegetarian recipe. With lots of chopping involved, I decided to use a relatively new gift: a mandoline that slices very thinly. I had read enough to know this tool was dangerous, so I was being very careful and using the holder to grip the fennel rather than my hand. And then… oops! One slip and the tip of my right thumb was gone.
This was something I REALLY tried to avoid, and I did it anyway. The whole thing was pretty traumatic, including spending much of a day in urgent care, and it was painful.
Now my challenge was to figure out how to use the We Are Resilient™ approach which has taught me so much about perspective. Adversity happens to all of us, but we are in charge of the story we tell ourselves about what happens. That story determines how the stressor impacts us. What story could I tell myself?
I was reminded of a few things about myself in the process:
- I needed time to process the event myself before sharing it with others. I rely on my relational resilience with family and friends a lot. But their concerns and use of the Connecting Skill of Empathy would have amplified my worry if I had not processed my feelings first.
- I tried the Centering Skill of Positive Reframing but it was not right for me… yet! My husband shared how one of his friends worked on becoming ambidextrous after breaking his right arm. My friend Margaret told me that losing my thumbprint was a signal to go deep into who I could become and reinvent my identity. While both ideas had some merit, neither felt like something I truly wanted to embrace… yet! I wasn’t ready for my story to be “an obstacle turned into an opportunity.”
- My favorite Centering Skill, Finding Gratitude, helped me the most. When the doctor said it would take two weeks to heal, I was grateful it wasn’t two months. I am grateful I can still type, though more slowly and I keep missing the “n” and spaces. I am so very grateful for healthcare and how they put me back together. I am also grateful for my husband, who is working from home, so he can tie my shoes…use the scissors…open the jars…and do all the other things we need thumbs to do!
Now, the “story I tell myself” (and others) is that this was a bummer AND that I am so grateful I have been strengthening my resilience skills.
Finding Gratitude lifts us up!
Meri and the Dovetail Team