You may have heard the saying that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Is this really how you get through tough times? Do you muscle up and push through?
In our time of constant crisis on a global scale, it has become more vital than ever to be able to weather the storm. However, is being hard and closed off the best way to get through challenges? How to be your best self in times of crisis?
The answer is not in being tough, but rather in being soft, and here’s why:
Hardening Yourself Prevents You From Receiving Help
While you may have to rely on your inner resourcefulness and the deep well of strength and perseverance you should cultivate inside you, it is also from the outside that you can often receive the best guidance and support.
This doesn’t mean you need to rely on others to get you out of a jam. Outside resources also include the environment and the crisis itself.
When you are faced with impossible odds, it is often from those odds that you can draw strength. No matter how terrible something is, there is also beauty in it.
Susan David, renowned psychologist, calls this the inseparability of life’s beauty from its agony. If you try to tough it out, you put on blinkers that blind you to the crisis but also to its beauty.
Embracing the fact that a crisis can be both beautiful and terrible is what gives us balance. This is not a skill we are born with, and you may have to learn it by being mindful of each crisis as it happens in your life.
Defining the Relationship Between Good and Bad
It is so easy to say that you are having a bad day, that your life is bad. Yet, this is denying what the stoics called the duality of life. By expecting life to be good, you are easily bowled over by the instances of “bad.”
This means you won’t be able to become your own best self because you are focused on the negative.
All of the best and most motivational people throughout history had the ability to focus on the duality of life—the good and the bad, the fragile and the beautiful.
When you have discovered this relationship in life, you are able to begin acting on the world around you, instead of reacting to it.
This is where your own best self emerges.
Building a Better Self to Overcome Crisis
There are several ways to change your outlook on life and embrace a crisis as an opportunity to shine up your best self. Like an athlete who looks forward to a grueling race to prove their worth, you can begin to see the negative as positive.
This change in perspective is what manifests the change inside you. Soon, you begin to build what others see as wisdom. Yet, this wisdom is not false bravado or unrealistic optimism. It’s about seeing the world for all it is—good and bad.
3 Methods on How to Be Your Best Self in Times of Crisis
Here are methods that you can try to become your best self when crisis strikes:
Stop Denying Your Feelings
Crisis strikes and you feel terrible. Don’t deny this. Stop lying to yourself with the vestigial “it’s okay” or the usual “you’ve got this.” You are allowed to feel bad about what is happening. Give yourself a full 60 seconds to wallow in self-pity.
Enjoy the yucky feeling of personal grief … then stop.
You’ve had time to feel bad, now you can start to be proactive and help yourself up, pushing forward until you can feel better. You’ve felt bad; now it’s time to feel good.
Make Peace With Your Pain
Crisis is often the bedfellow of loss. Losing something or someone sucks. It’s a pain that you don’t ever want to feel, so you kick against it, making that pain your enemy. Instead, embrace that pain.
Take some time to admit you are hurting, that it’s unfair what happened to you, and find a purpose or reason to move ahead.
While others may say you should move on, you know this isn’t possible. Instead, choose to move forward with little strides that become great bounding leaps.
Affirm Your Own Self
You are more than just pain. In a crisis, it may seem that you can’t move ahead, that you’re stuck in limbo on the ninth level of hell. Yet, when you embrace your pain, you begin to make friends with the impossible.
Suddenly, it’s not so challenging.
You can begin to find yourself in every part of you. By taking care of yourself, of your body, your mind, and your spirit, you can stand strong. Whether you choose to hit the gym or visit a meditation retreat, you can value all of yourself. This will lead to a realization that you’ve got an arsenal of skills you can use in a crisis.
Your inner resources are what you have developed over all of your life, and they won’t fail you now. You may need to dust some of them off if you haven’t used them in a while: clean up honor, polish perseverance, and wipe down ingenuity.
That’s right, you’ve grieved that this crisis hit you, but now, it’s time to stand up, step up, and be your best self.
The Final Crisis
Nobody gets up in the morning and says “I wish I had a crisis today.” Yet, a crisis is not all bad. Life is duality. Good and bad. So before you judge each crisis as being the end of the world, also realize it can be the beginning of a new world for you too.
Use the skills you’ve acquired by disconnecting your negativity and opening your heart to the help this crisis will bring you. Build your best self and face the challenge head on. Or as Sir Walter Scott wrote: “The hour cometh, and the man.”
You are ready.