Who we are in hard times

During my days as a project manager, I would periodically get a new person to this field wondering why I was getting paid so much when everything seemed so straight-forward. The answer was that I wasn’t getting paid a lot for the straight-forward part; I was getting paid for those times when everything became chaotic. Project managers are known for their stoic stance in the face of insanity – it’s often the thing that makes the difference between a successful project and an abject failure.

Now I’m a therapist and coach. People see me for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the reason is that they are experiencing their first hard time and don’t know what to do. They have no skills for such times, and feel their world falling out from under them.

There’s a saying that goes something like: it’s easy to be moral when life is good. The real test happens when life isn’t so good. That’s when the ability of taking the long view, having a steady heart and a cool head is so important. Even more importantly, this is when self-honesty and clear boundaries and values count, because without these, you may be able to look like you’re calm, but inside you will be anything but calm.

We’re defined for who we are when times are hard. It’s the testing ground of life, and our opportunity to grow. As many wise men and women of the past have reminded us, it isn’t what we get handed in life, but how we deal with what we get that matters.

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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co 

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