Throughout life, we all face struggles and times when things are not going our way. When this happens, it’s easy to start blaming ourselves, even though we may not have caused the situation in question and may have little control over the outcome. We do this because in North America we tend to equate struggle with failure, so when things are not going well, our confidence and sense of optimism can take a real hit.
Anthony Molinsky, Ph.D. has some helpful words to assist us when we are facing these times in our lives. He points out that we are much more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for:
“Think about the wide range of people in your social circle with whom you already interact. Do you speak with your boss the same way you do with your colleagues? Do your interactions with your in-laws take the same form as those with your friends from university? My guess is that the answer is no. In fact, I find that simply reminding people of this fact can boost their confidence going into an unfamiliar situation. You’ve adapted and adjusted your behavior before; you can do it again.”
Dr. Molinsky is referring to a basic tenet of Experiential Psychology–the observation that in different situations, we are able to mobilize different sets of personal skills and attributes to deal with a reality that constantly changes. This means we are not locked into the person we were yesterday, or even the person we are now. With every present moment, we can choose adapt and grow to fit our constantly evolving circumstances. In this sense, struggle does not represent failure, but is actually an opportunity for growth.
Psychotherapy can provide a fertile place to do this by helping us to delve deeply into every present moment, mining the richness of our consciousness–helping us to recognize and let go of obsolete patterns and freeing up mental energy so we can identify new possibilities and make better choices going forward.
Please read the rest of Dr. Molinsky’s inspiring article hear: