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React, Recover, Renew

React, Recover, Renew

by Dr. Nicole B. Dhanraj
October 19, 2016

I wrote a beautiful poem of life when I was about 13 years old. I lost that poem but all I remembered was I was enamored with life, amazed at its beauty, and just simply happy. However, in all of such beauty and joy, life can be vicious, unpredictable, and painful. Within our lifespan, there are so many seasons to experience, some of them bring happiness, others joy and wild adventures. You never know when the season changes or which season comes next.

In a blink of an eye, life can bring us tremendous heart ache and pain that brings us to our knees regardless of how resilient we claim we are. Since life does not come with a manual, how do you prepare yourself to deal with the kaleidoscope of emotions you experience as you transition through these seasons? Time, place, and your level of emotional intelligence determine your reaction. Therefore, even if prepared, in the moments when life throws you a curveball, you may not be able to react in the most optimal manner and recovery may be thwarted.

Fortunately, I have not made many drastic mistakes in my life, but when I did, I learned two very important lessons that are golden nuggets to share. One lesson is that when life punches you in the gut, don't worry that you forgot to cinch your muscles to brace the punch. It is the manner in which you recover that helps to stabilize you, maintain your sanity and give you the oomph to move past the event. In a bad situation, whether you or life forces created it, there is no use in crying over spilled milk. Doing so will not change anything other than to fulfill its biochemical purpose. You have to make the conscious effort to learn from the experience and move ahead. Recovery is about movement, it’s about taking the lessons learned to strengthen and renew your inner compass for the next earth shattering moment that may come your way.

The second lesson is that, it is beneficial to have a support system. A support system does not have to be grandiose. Such a system can help you sort your way through simple situations as well as the most complex ones. It can be as simple as having two main people in your lives. The majority of living things require some sort of symbiotic relationship to thrive. We may be higher level thinkers and rulers of the world, but we are not omnipotent and at no time should we feel that we have to be the pillar of strength and stand alone. The oak tree, a pillar of strength and endurance needs the sun's glorious rays, the gush of rainwater, and nutrients from the soil beneath. This tree couldn't manifest as the great one by itself. It undoubtedly needed a support system.

If you already have a support system in place, kudos to you. If not, let me encourage you to have one. A good place to start is with a triumvirate. This includes you, someone to let your wild side free, and someone to ground you. The one that supports your wild side, I call that this person the encourager. This person supports your lofty dreams, prods you to take risks and also stands by quietly and let you be carefree. The other person is the groundskeeper, this is the one that is sensitive to your needs but keeps you in check, and grounded. You need someone to reel you in when you hover too much in the mesosphere. Without this person, you may make rash decisions, or simply find yourself in a sticky and icky situation for being a numb nut.

Life is too complicated to try to be the rock climber and the rock at the same time. You NEED a support system. It is a basic human need. Especially in tough or emotional situations, logic unconsciously gets tossed to the wayside as our being is consumed with emotional thoughts. Regardless of how emotionally intelligent you are, there are some situations that will render you dumbfounded. This is why it’s important to have someone to share our thoughts and feelings, or even a moment of silence as we sort ourselves. It is also beneficial to have someone who can kick us in the rear to put us back on track.

No man is an island. The President has his team, the race car driver his, even the fashionista has one! The more people you have the better, but for now, don't try to be a one man/woman show. There is ample evidence that proves a social support system, whether large or small has significant benefits from improving coping skills to leading longer healthier and happier lives. Don't be bashful; get started with at least a triad. Pick people in your life that make you feel supported, that understands you. You may be lucky and find free support in friends, but you may also need to solicit paid services, like a therapist. You can even join local support groups, online or face to face. The more people you seek the better, but a good start is a threesome. It will be emotionally and mentally rewarding, and definitely help shield or lessen the impact of those devastating uppercuts or snapping jabs that life throws at us. /p>