As many of you know, I work as a psychotherapist, and spend the bulk of my time working with people on challenging aspects of their lives.
You may also know that one of the FIRST things a therapist learns to do is reflect, to simply repeat back what a client says. This type of training and practice is necessary in our culture (and likely the global community) because our pace of life is getting FASTER and FASTER and, sadly, this means more busy minds and less listening. So there is value, at times, in slowing down enough to say back to someone just what you think you hear them saying.
Even more helpful (and makes you sound less like a parrot;) is to summarize the gist of what someone is telling you – either factually or emotionally. This is something I often do, repeat back the emotion I am hearing, to see if that is indeed what the person is feeling. Well, the other day I found myself saying – many times throughout the day – “That is so HARD.” Because it is. It was. Many people I work with are struggling with something really challenging, difficult and downright icky right now. The challenging truth of our human condition is that LIFE CAN BE HARD.
But does it help us to call it that?
Sometimes, it is validating to know that what you are going through SUCKS. It is HARD (we’re done with the that’s what s/he said jokes now, right? ok just checking), no one should have to go through it, and it’s just WRONG. What occurred to me the other day at work, however, was that I don’t think this statement was as helpful and reflective as I had intended it to me. What do you do with something that is hard? (Ok, I asked for that one.)
What did I decide to say instead? Challenging! Why? because you can ENGAGE with CHALLENGE. It’s hard to engage with hard!
So my encouragement to you today is simple: Rather than call your life, your situation, your relationship or your job HARD, call it challenging. It will not only help you avoid “that’s what s/he said” jokes, it will allow you to draw upon your creativity and strengths to meet the challenge and seek solutions.
That’s all for today, cheers to you rising to and beyond life’s challenges!