by Melisse Ogilvie, Social Worker
As we prepared for Tropical Storm Gonzalo on the weekend, there were several motivational quotes circulating on social media to encourage us.
These quotes didn’t quite refer to this environmental storm we were about to face, but rather the various difficult situations and seasons we experience in our lives. One quote that caught my attention was, “There are some things you can only learn in a storm.” This purports that difficulties often teach us something. It could be about ourselves, or perhaps the people around us, or we develop certain positive character traits that we never thought we could.
Many of us experience storms of different intensity. They can be financial, emotional, physical or relational. They might be as minor as a disappointment in not getting the promotion, or as significant as the death of a loved one, or the end of a marriage. Whatever it is, many are unavoidable, seem insurmountable and have the potential of devastation.
The impact of the storm, significant or minor, varies according to our coping skills, and the support we have in the process. There isn’t a particular formula for going through the storm, but as difficult as it may be, we can look for the positive lessons. It can be done.
Here are some possible lessons coming out of a storm:
It is so easy for us to focus on our weaknesses, but in a storm, our positive character traits can be unearthed. During difficult seasons, people often discover that they are resilient, resourceful, tenacious, courageous, forgiving, ambitious, loyal, authentic etc.
Some people have the uncanny ability to be optimistic regardless of the situation. They see the good in every circumstance and person. And that might be you.
If the storm is a delinquent child, it might teach you that there are areas in your parenting that may need development. This situation could also reveal that your child has experienced something traumatic, and as a result, it is affecting the behaviour and may need professional help.
A storm may reveal that you have been significantly impacted by previous difficult situations, maybe dating back to your childhood. It is possibly affecting your ability to cope in this current situation. And if you are having difficulty coping, it’s not an indictment on you; it just means that you require more support than expected. And that’s ok.
We acknowledge that while you are in the midst of the storm, you may be unable to see beyond the present circumstance. I want to encourage you to think about the life you would like to live beyond the present and then decide on the steps you need to take towards that envisaged life. Live each day intentionally, such as focusing your thoughts, developing new habits and applying the lessons each season brings.
While experiencing a storm is difficult, one thing is certain: we all have the capacity to recover, albeit with some residual effects. When the storm comes and threatens to ravage your mind, body, relationships, and finances, just hold on.
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