3 Steps For Finding A Silver Lining (In Any Situation)

3 STEPS FOR FINDING THE IN ANY


Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

Buddha

What’s an attitude of gratitude? It’s living your life from the perspective of appreciating what you have instead of focusing on what you do not. You may hear this phrase when people talk about an ‘abundance’ mindset vs. one of ‘scarcity’.

We all struggle with finding positive value in the shitty things that happen in our lives. Believe me, this is something I have struggled with my entire life. In fact, I remember when I was 29 years old I had a terribly toxic boss and suffered with so much anxiety. One day I was helping the HR director – telling her about how tough my prior year had been after losing my job, health insurance, and a personal financial crisis and that things, “couldn’t get much worse.” Naturally, her reply was, “Love, if there is anything I know in this life it is that things surely get better but they can definitely get worse.”

She was right, less than two years later my father was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and passed away. Things can definitely get worse.

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Believe it or not, as much as I miss my father – I learned so much about life helping to care for him during his illness and in losing him. Of course, I would trade anything to have him back, but I also don’t know if I would be the person I am right now – typing this blog – if I didn’t go through one of the worst things a person can endure, the loss of a parent.

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." – Buddha Click To Tweet

A major lesson I have learned in all of my professional training is how find a way to utilise all of my losses and failures as a way to make the path for the hope of better things to come.

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We’ve all had times in our lives where something we’ve put a lot of ourselves into didn’t work out.  There are not enough words to describe the negative emotions we feel when this type of rejection or loss occurs, not to mention what it does to our motivation and self-esteem.

The truth is, we can learn to internalise and these negative experiences and transform the energy associated with them into positive choices and new directions.

3 Steps For Finding A Silver Lining In Any Situation

  1. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this situation?”  Maybe you’ve lost your job, ended a significant relationship, or found out some crappy news in general.  Regardless of which end of the spectrum an event is perceived to be on, there’s always something to be learned — whether it’s about yourself, another person, or situation.  Maybe the lesson you learned is that you have to be more or less trusting.  Maybe the lesson you learned is that you didn’t feel happy in the job you lost (I’ve so been there on this one)!  Maybe the lesson you learned is that you need to take better care of yourself or start making your well-being a priority. Or even that you need to tell the people you care about how special they are more often. Choosing to take a bad situation and turn it into a lesson learned will enable you to grow emotionally and spiritually.
  2. Ask yourself, “What am I able to do now that I wasn’t able to do before?”  In any situation, your opportunities will change.  Try to focus on how this opportunity will give you the ability to do something (or many things) you weren’t able to do before.  What skills did you gain from your last job?  If you’re out of a relationship or toxic friendship what time — more importantly energy — do you have to now devote to something that will make you happier, stronger, and more fulfilled?  Maybe now you’re more able to speak up for yourself and communicate what you do and don’t want out a relationship/friendship.  There is no way that you have not gained the ability to do something bigger and better today that you couldn’t have done yesterday.  Discover this, rebuild and go forward.
  3. Ask yourself, “Do I have perspective?”   Not to belittle yourself or your struggles, but if you can step back from any situation and answer yes to any, some, or all of the following, you’ve got a lot to be thankful for:
    Do I have my health?
    Do I have a place to live?
    Do I have clothes on my back?
    Do I have food to eat?
    Do I have a support system and people whom I love, and that love me?

While some of these things may seem basic and not like much to celebrate, take some time to appreciate each and every item you answered yes to. Being able to truly appreciate all that you do have – right now – is the biggest silver lining of all. Well that and giving back to others who are struggling with something that you may take for granted is one of the most powerful exercises in gratitude out there.

Practicing an attitude of gratitude is all about appreciating everything for what it is right now, and sometimes that means choosing to be content with all the silver (grey) events.

Do you look for the silver lining in bad situations?  How do you practice an attitude of gratitude?

5 Tips for Handling Constructive Criticism

FIVE TIPS FOR HANDLING CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM _ erin's life bites

I can tell you — for a fact — that there is probably nobody who struggles with criticism more than I do.  In fact, if you were to ask any of my former employers, they would all probably say that “being defensive” was the one quality about me they struggled with the most.

Nobody likes criticism.

I used to have a severe problem with acting like a victim.

I always felt like I was being “attacked” for something.  From the biggest to the smallest of things, I did not like to take ownership for my part — or worse — be told how I should have handled things.

I used to become incredibly defensive and angry at anybody who would give me the slightest bit of constructive feedback because I always felt it was unnecessary.

I’ve grown to learn that criticism is a necessity.

Even though we each will receive a fair bit of less than desirable feedback in our lives, there is no need to feel threatened, defensive, or ashamed of it. It’s all part of breaking away from our comfort zone.

You may have your own criticism triggers. I know that I still struggle with mine; the question, “Why do you do it that way?”

To which my usual response is something like:

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5 Tips for Handling Constructive Criticism

  1. Avoid being defensive whenever possible.  I’ve learned to choose not to be defensive when I receive criticism works best for me.  I used to get super defensive whenever I felt criticised.  And the only thing I ever accomplished by becoming defensive was to prove I was incapable of respecting other people’s observations.  We cannot grow from staying inside a bubble.  So, if somebody bursts yours, try and keep calm and hear them out.
  2. Avoid being quick to react.  My father used to tell me all the time that I’m a “highly reactive” individual.  As soon as I heard something I didn’t agree with, I would react and typically regret doing so.  Being reactive is similar to being defensive, but the difference is that when we respond quickly, we don’t give ourselves time to process the situation correctly.  Now, I try to step back from the situation and breathe and think about how I’m going to handle it.  I may choose to confront or concede, but I will have given myself the opportunity to have a choice.
  3. Assume the responsibility when it’s your fault.  When I’m the root of the problem, I owe it to myself, and everybody involved to accept responsibility for it.  Nobody likes the blame game (especially when you’re the one to blame), but it’s a necessary evil sometimes.  Assuming the responsibility for your mistake shows that you are big enough to accept and learn from a situation.
  4. Take it as an opportunity to gain some insight.  In every occasion, there is something positive to come out of it and to be at the forefront of criticism is a chance to gain some valuable insight.  For example, after you receive criticism is a perfect time to ask questions about how you can better handle the situation in the future.
  5. Stop taking criticisms as a personal attack.  When objections occur, we often internalise them as an attack on who we are not what we’ve done. You will likely never be able to please everyone.   Just because someone questions your work doesn’t mean they are criticising who you are.  We all can produce work that disappoints, but that doesn’t mean that we are disappointing.

Learning how to handle criticism constructively is something we all should master.

We can choose to see critiques as an opportunity to learn something new about ourselves.

Do you struggle with receiving feedback? Check out my post: 5 tips for handling constructive criticism. #personaldevelopment #criticism #growthmindset Click To Tweet

As with any behaviour, it’s a choice.

What do you guys think – do you twitch when you hear criticism headed your way?

3 Ways Being An Expat Is Like Being 15 Again

three ways being an expat is like being fifteen again _ erin's life bites

It’s been almost four years since I moved over to Glasgow from America, which is cah-ray-zee. 

Living in a new country is exciting and terrifying at the same time.  Being an expat has its ups and downs as well.  I moved to Scotland for love, and there’s plenty of that in my life, but I still have many days when I wonder if I’ll ever really feel at home over here.

It’s the little things that make being an expat so tough.  Like, you know, everyday things that you learn to take for granted as part of your life that are missed once you are without them.  The other day I got to thinking after having to add 90 minutes to my travels  — because I had missed the train I needed by one fucking minute — that being an expat is pretty much like being 15 years old again.

I don’t know how being 15 worked out for you, but I’d have to say, without ANY hesitation, that my version of 15 sucked pretty hard.

Am I dramatic?  Of course, I am.  That’s what I sometimes do, though.  It’s how I cope.  So, you might be wondering specifically in what ways being an expat is like being 15 years old again.  

Three Ways Being an Expat is Like Being 15 Again

You have to learn how to drive, take lessons, and pass a test and shit.  I have to learn how to drive on the opposite side of the car and the opposite side of the road.  Every time I’m even a passenger in a car over here, I find myself in a panic about how ass-backwards the whole Scottish driving experience is.  This country is full of rotaries (roundabouts) and chaos.

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 Also, and this could be a category of its own, I am at the mercy of train schedules and other people who own cars.  Either that or I walk everywhere; which is fine, but, not always the most convenient option when it comes to the weather.

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You have no credit history.  Trying to get anything that requires any credit reference without having a viable credit history doesn’t happen.  The computer will say no.  Always.

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You have to make new friends, and it’s super tough as an adult.  Remember your first day of school?  How much easier it was to make friends amongst your peers?  Being in your thirties and moving to a new country makes it super challenging to meet people.

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Call me a crybaby, but feeling like I’m 15 again can mess with my head.  At least I don’t have to worry about dating.

 If I had to worry about dating in a new country, I would be a whole other level of mess.  Dating sucks enough on your home turf, am I right?

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Don’t get me wrong, being an expat is super fun in many ways, but it’s not exactly all rainbows and unicorns (despite the national animal of Scotland being a unicorn, yes, not joking.)

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Somedays you feel like a lost 15-year-old, and sometimes you even need the  Clearasil to go with it.  Also, remember when Mark Ruffalo was the face of acne-free skin? 

Now I am showing my age.  

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Ever wondered what moving to a new country really feels like? Read my post on the three ways being an expat is like being 15 again. Click To Tweet

Would you move to another country for love, work, or just for the hell of it?  

Am I the only adult who finds it difficult making friends later in life?