Some of Life’s Greatest Lessons: Learned as a Child, Forgotten as an Adult
Tips on How to Deal with Stressful Situations
By Shannon Alexander, M.Ed, LPCi
Children learn important life lessons; lessons that enhance their entire life. Young children are innocent, non-judgmental, enthusiastic, and energetic about life and their surroundings: eager to learn, they live openly and freely by their instincts. As children, we may not recognize the significance of life lessons nor how to embrace them, but in hindsight their value is beyond price. As we mature, life begins to take over our thoughts, the experiences of the moment cause us to lose sight of the simple wonder of our being. As adults we forget some of the more important lessons: they quietly fade away.
Recently this became more evident to me, and I’m sharing my epiphany in the hope that you too will remember and reintegrate those important life lessons into your own life.
In starting my own company, I have experienced many ups and downs. Although it’s an incredible opportunity, it forces you daily to face new challenges and unforeseen circumstances. In fact, there are some days when you feel engulfed by uncertainty. There was one particular day when I questioned everything: How? Why? What if? When? My mind drifted from one question to another. While pondering all this, I inattentively began taking off my jewelry. I took off my necklace and my earrings but as I tried to take off my ring, I pulled and pulled to no avail. As my finger began to swell, I became more incoherent. After several attempts to get the ring off my finger, I had no success. As I stood there looking at my finger, I had a flashback to my childhood days and to a similar situation. I remember being at a community carnival where I had a great time. There was cotton candy, face painting, and games galore with prize trinkets at every station. My most coveted prize was a little braided bamboo thing called a finger cuff. It seemed awesome at the time, although I wasn’t sure what to do with it. As you may or may not know, a finger cuff is a gag toy puzzle that is often used to trick the unsuspecting. You put a finger inside each end of the bamboo cylinder and it traps your fingers. Of course your first inclination is to yank your fingers out and try to escape, but this doesn’t work; the trap only tightens, making escape more difficult. The key is to relax, and the underlying life message is that it’s not helpful to associate stress with problem solving. Over-reacting only distracts you from focusing on the task at hand. When you stop, take a deep breath and relax, you find that you can approach the issue with more clarity, and you are always able to come up with more viable solutions.
As I refocused on my immediate situation and snapped back into reality. I did exactly as I remembered. I calmed down and the ring came right off. Although in this situation it was a physical issue, the same metaphor applies to life. When things get tough, as they often do, stress and anxiety will not produce a solution any faster. It is best to allow your worry, frustration or anger to subside. Take a moment to distance yourself from the problem, relax and get into a calmer mindset.
Are you living the life you’ve always imagined? Life is limited. Do the unexpected. Dare to become the person you are intended to be – today!
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Shannon Alexander, www.eCubedcoaching.com; Shannon.Alexander@eCubedcoaching.com