Day Twenty-Eight: Finding Flexibility
Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. —Michael McGriffy M.D.
When hardship hits it can be second nature to armor against it. Our back is up against the wall. The fight or flight response is in high gear and if we aren’t mentally fleeing we’re getting ready to fight. We fear loss, and most of all we fear loss of control. We double down on all of our habits, goals, desires, patterns of behavior, assumptions.
But hardship is designed to challenge all of that, because hardship is life bringing inevitable change into our realities. We are being thrown out of our comfort zone. And now it’s time to discern which aspects of status quo we may retain, and which we’ll have to let go of. And we won’t be able to predict (i.e. control) those outcomes in advance. It’s time to open our minds, and to become (or stay) flexible. And it’s critical to look for the best possible options as we do so.
Let’s say you’re in danger of losing your house. You’ve lost a good job in midlife and you’ve had to take a lower paying position just to make ends meet. Ends aren’t meeting and now the rubber is about to meet the road.
Flexibility here means keeping an open mind as you explore options. You may be able to find a solution that enables you to keep your home. But you may not. You must let go while maintaining your course until you know it won’t work. And while you walk that path, you must also imagine possible positive alternatives to the way you have lived up to now.
Flexibility means being able to countenance “no” while you’re still valiantly trying to find the “yes” that will keep you where you are.
Granted, this is not an easy mindset to attain. It takes practice. But hardship is a master teacher. And getting flexible is an excellent way to make sure that we learn its lessons without becoming roadkill in the process.
What absolutes are you holding onto that you could let go of so that you can be open to new solutions? What could you say “yes” to that you’d normally not even consider? What assumptions and requirements could you soften? What habits could you modify?