I would wager that almost all of us at some point in our lives have made the statement, either to ourselves or others, that ” It isn’t as bad as it seems”. We say this to try and regain perspective or deescalate a situation. It is a fantastic example of how our words affects us. Often it even works or at least helps a little in the short term. If we can convince ourselves that what we are saying is true. Otherwise, truth is, that as far as our ability to process and react is concerned, it often is exactly as bad as it seems.
All pain, challenge, and strife are relative to our perception. Regardless of how we are able to adapt, change and affect how we perceive things, in the moment, it is what it is. Our bodies and minds react based on how bad we “think” it is. The “reality” of a situation doesn’t matter nearly as much as what we are saying in our heads at the time. I mentioned in my previous post that stress impacts our ability to function on a cognitive level. It is important to note that at our best, we are only capable of reasoning to the degree that we are able process the information we have. Basically, regardless of the information available, if you can’t see it or process it, it doesn’t help much. When it comes to mindset and belief, perception is everything. I mention all this because there is often a component that we tend to miss when dealing with high stress situations, Empathy.
We have a tendency to move so quickly to try and escape a negative situation or downplay it that we forget to recognize what is actually going on inside. We forget to give ourselves the “grace” to accept how we are feeling and instead implying to ourselves or others that we/they shouldn’t be feeling that way.
The first issue with that reaction is that it is dismissive, which can lower the confidence we have in ourselves to assess and handle situations when they arise. If we are saying it to another, it can be perceived as devaluing their emotions and state of mind, which then in turn lowers the likelihood of them accepting help. Secondly, taking stock of the situation is extremely important to the outcome. In psychology they call this “tracking”. It is the process of looking at yourself as an internal observer and involves paying attention to what your physical body is doing (is it tense, is it hungry, is if fatigued, etc…) as well as what words are actually being said in your mind. All of those things require acknowledgement, and appreciation in high stress situations because they are ALL contributing factors to how you ultimately react.
So I ask you, next time you are about to tell yourself, “it isn’t as bad as it seems”, make sure that you have given yourself the grace, empathy, and appreciation that you deserve. You may gain some invaluable insight into how you, as the unique individual you are, functions.
You are exceptional!