Take a second to close your eyes and think back to this time five years ago. What were you doing? Who was around you? Where did you live? Who did you live with? How old were you? What did you think your life would look like today?
I have always been a planner. I like to know what is going on. When things are going to be accomplished and the end result. For some things it’s easy to plan, like for example knowing what you’re going to make for dinner. Other things are not so clear.
Five years ago I was in my first year of university at Deakin studying a Bachelor Law/Arts. I was 18. I was single. I was in close contact with everyone from high school. I was working at Target. I didn’t exercise. I didn’t know how to cook. If someone asked me at that time what I thought my life would be like in five years this is what I would have said: I would have graduated university. I would be working in a law firm part-time while I completed my practical legal training. I would be in a relationship. I would be friends with everyone from school and catch up weekly. I would have my driver’s license. I would be getting ready to get married and move out of home. I would still have a close relationship with my amazing family.
Well did life have a very different plan for me.
Here I am at 23 sitting at home working on a blog post. An Honours graduate of Law/Arts. Completing a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine). Working at a café. A full driver’s license (those of you who know me will definitely question how that happened). I train five days a week at the gym. Cooking and recipe development are my favourite things to do. A few close friends that at times it is a mission to catch up with. An amazing family (some things will hopefully never change). An incredible boyfriend. A great deal of uncertainty of my future occupation.
Over the weekend a lot of reflection was done. There is something about being at the beach that helps me piece together parts of my past and makes me wonder about the future. How is it that we can think things will turn out one way and then they turn out the opposite? How is it that we are able to deal with the setbacks? Two words, faith and resilience.
Let’s talk about resilience first. I don’t think that there is a person out there who hasn’t had to deal with some kind of heartbreak or upset. Whether it’s the loss of a family member, a bad breakup, not getting the job you wanted or losing your job; everyone has gone through something. A few weeks ago I was dealt a card that I was not exactly pleased about. I tried to put on a brave face and just move forward but deep down I wasn’t happy. I was extremely disappointed and put everything down to me not being good enough. When I took a moment to step back from the situation, with the help of some wise family and friends, I made a decision that I wasn’t going to let this get the better of me. I decided to educate myself on the importance of resilience.
Cassandra Dunn is the resident psychologist at TIFFXO, an online health and fitness program founded by former Biggest Loser trainer Tiffiny Hall. Together Cass and Tiff have a podcast called “Crappy to Happy” that I have honestly been addicted to. On the day I was feeling particularly crappy I decided to listen to their podcast on resilience. Cass pointed out the Three P’s of Resilience. I am going to take you through the three of them:
1. Personalisation: This is the internalisation of failure; or the “it is all my fault; I am not good enough” approach.
2. Pervasiveness: This is the thought process and belief that this one thing is going to spread right through all aspects of your life; or the “This is so bad that it is going to affect x, y and z in a negative way” approach.
3. Permanence: This is the thought that this one decision is going to affect you for life; or the “my life is ruined because of this” approach.
Cass said that if we go through the Three P’s of Resilience with a positive and mindful mind frame, we can reach a very different outcome. What if instead of believing that it was all our fault, we gave ourselves grace and acknowledged that there are a number of reasons why something happened? What if instead of thinking that what happened is only going to spread, we confined it to that one area of our life and were grateful for the things we do have and love? What if instead of thinking something would last forever, we put a positive spin on it and used it as a catalyst for change or a different approach?
A lengthy discussion of this concept on the weekend really made me question why I don’t always take the more positive approach. Why am I so scared of being an optimist when things don’t work out? Is it because I am scared that the universe doesn’t understand my plan? Or is it the fact that the universe does in fact have a more divine plan that I just need to have some faith in?
I honestly do believe that everything that happens in life happens for a reason. I wouldn’t be where I am and you wouldn’t be where you are if it wasn’t for the events that have lead you to this moment and where you are now. Imagine for a moment if every single one of your plans did work out. Yeah that would be great, but where is the spark that makes you spring out of bed in the morning that makes you want to do better than you did the day before?
If I have learnt anything in the last five years, it is that all good things are worth fighting for. The journey to get somewhere is always unpredictable and is often times a struggle. But there is nothing more satisfying than looking back on your little journey and thinking “I did it” – no one can take that away from you.
I am going to leave you with a 3000-year-old quote that really inspires me and gives me the strength to take life by both hands and embrace the uncertainty –
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”― Patañjali