When things go BUMP in a big way, it’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of judgment. For example, last summer, while I was joyfully down the writing rabbit hole, I got a phone call at 5 o’clock on a Friday afternoon. The man on the other end of the line introduced himself as a fire investigator for the town where a rental condo of mine was located. I immediately felt a stone form in the pit of my stomach. He explained that the rental had burned, that there was extensive damage throughout. No one had been harmed, but the extent of the damage would not be completely known until the next week. He went on to say that there was absolutely nothing I could do and that even coming down to view the destruction was not advised. I hung up the phone in shock. I didn’t have any answers. There were so many questions! So I paused, and I decided that continuing to feed the fear inside my brain would not help. This was my chance to practice looking for soft advantages. I would see how I could put more energy into myself rather than take energy away.
First, I decided that this was my chance to model problem-solving for my daughters. I wanted them to grow up to be resilient, responsible adults and to have the coping strategies to deal with big BUMPS. I would show them that, while I really did not like what was happening and felt uncertainty in every direction, I would take action to be prepared the best I knew how. I got busy phoning experts in the field. I lined up a real estate lawyer should I need one. I lined up a contractor to do the repairs. I researched the types of permits that might be needed to get started on re-construction. I contacted the tenants to tie up loose ends. I noticed that just taking action instead of swirling into fear was a major soft advantage. Pretty soon, I felt at ease knowing that I had done what I could until more information was available. The stone in my stomach was dissolving.
It all ended up okay. This event initiated a year-long repair that transformed a previously run-down property into a brilliant brand new one. My greatest gift, however, was in the practice of my response, knowing that I was building the inner muscles to address outer bumps in the road of life.
I encourage you, especially in the midst of challenging situations, to get on a mission to look for the soft advantages. What could put energy back into your system? What is beneficial for you? What steps could you take in the moment to feel better? The more you look for them, the more they seem to appear.