Considering my complicated relationship with books, I finished this first chapter rather quickly. Almost too quickly.
I almost missed the three P's that can stunt recovery when dealing with setbacks:
- Personalization - the belief that we are at fault
- Pervasiveness - the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life
- Permanence - the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever
"It's my fault this is awful. My whole life is awful. And it's always going to be awful."
This mindset is all too common. I see it in myself. I see it in my friends. And I see it in my students. They score poorly on a math test. They get pinned right away during a wrestling match. They don't land the lead role in the musical.
And they think it's all their fault. And their whole lives are ruined. And it's never going to stop.
Naming these three misconceptions is the first step and I'm looking forward to explicitly teaching these three ideas to my class this year. How much more resilient will they be once they know that it's not always their fault, that it won't always impact their entire life, and it almost always won't last forever.
"Not everything that happens to us happens because of us."
I wish someone would have reminded me of this idea when I was younger. When my best friend moved away from Hawaii to Arizona during the summer before we started high school. When I got kicked out of my house when I was sixteen years old and went to live with another family member. When one of my closest friends in college shut me out and cut me out of his life.
There are some events that are never the victim's fault. And there are some events that are. But distinguishing the difference could have helped me move on much quicker.
Going back to work helps with pervasiveness.
Maybe it's not work. Maybe it's exercising. Or playing music. Or drawing. But starting that hobby back up that got put on hold when the world turned upside down. Going back to work helps realize that not everything is ruined. I'm still good at my job. I still can run. I can sing. And draw. I might need to take a break to relax or cry, but I can still do all of those things.
Share the best and worst moments of the day.
I have always asked my students what was the best part of your day. It made sense to me. I wanted them to focus on the positives and train themselves to seek it out. I never asked them about the worst parts of their day. I did not want them to fixate on it. I wanted them to move past it. By not sharing it, I thought I was helping that process along. But there is something to be said about the gratitude that springs up when we realize that things could be worse.
- As I blamed myself less, I started to notice that not everything was terrible
- We tend to overestimate how long negative events will affect us
- When life pulls you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.