Muscling through challenging, tough mental or physical circumstances is what builds resilience, grit and the all hailed perseverance ( https://www.ted.com/talks/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet ). A couple of weeks ago this fairy was being coached through a series of exercises to build strength and flexibility. Given my body is very stiff and tight, the awkwardness and discomfort triggered an immediate groan and desire to stop. My coach grinned and said, “Embrace the awkwardness!” I responded with a wince and soldiered on, realizing that the more I relaxed with an open mind and slow breathing I began to embraced the awkwardness. Slowly I could feel my body release the tension while the awkwardness and pain subsided.
I thought back to my childhood when my father would take my brother and I out on hikes or on other activities that didn’t excite us. Our dad would begin by saying, “Come on let’s go we won’t be gone for long. It will be fun.” Inevitably he would give us a time frame which would be an underestimate of the time it was going to take to complete the activity. Usually about half or three quarters the way through we would be complaining that our legs were sore, it was too hot, we were thirsty or hungry or we were bored. He would cajole us to seeing the bright side of the situation and encourage us with repeated messages that the end was just around the corner. Unfortunately, the end was not always around the corner, to our great frustration. But eventually we did see the light of the end of the tunnel with great relief. I must also say more often than not PRIDE that we muscled through the discomfort.
So what did this teach us? To distrust our father and his deceptive messages? Well, to a degree he did gain a reputation with us as not always being forth coming on the scope of the activity, as such we would challenge him prior to embarking on the event, usually with jokes, teasing but ultimately with a willingness to try because we trusted him that no matter what experiences he introduced to us in the past, they didn’t hurt us, (he was mindful of safety) , they typically were fun, the challenge brought pride of accomplishment, hence, renewed and increased confidence. We learned we were capable of new skills and strategies; ultimately increased competence. We learned to ‘not eat the marshmallow” defer our gratification and maintain our optimism when things weren’t always that pleasant.
Embracing the awkward and surrendering to releasing pain and negative attitudes builds GRR…..Grit, Resilience, Return ( confidence and competence)