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Do you ever wish that you could be like Clark Gable in the movie Gone with the Wind and respond “Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn”–and actually mean it?! Sure it’s easy to say, but truly meaning it is completely different.
I was recently asked how someone could become more emotionally resilient and less sensitive. How do you currently handle disappointment and rejection? Do you shrug your shoulders and keep it moving or do you loathe in self-pity while not showering for a week? As a Stress Management Coach, I have seen countless people add unnecessary stress to their lives because of how they handle disappointments and rejection.
Learning the four agreements
One of my favorite books, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, shares some of the hands-down best advice to help you become more emotionally resilient. The four agreements are:
Be impeccable with your word
When you are impeccable with your word, people have a high level of respect for you. They know that you mean what you say and do what you say you’ll do. Not only will this improve your relationship with others, but also with yourself. How many times have you told yourself that you’re going to wake up with the sun and hit the streets to run like a gazelle, only to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep?
In one way or another, we’ve all done this. We tend to be pretty lenient on ourselves, reasoning why we couldn’t complete a task or keep our word to ourselves. When you hold yourself accountable and take yourself seriously, others will do the same. Be impeccable with your word and you will begin to eliminate disappointment and rejection from yourself and others around you. Don’t say words you don’t mean or respond out of emotion. If you say it–mean it.
Don’t take anything personally
I’m not going to lie, this next one takes work and time, BUT when you are able to live your life without taking anything personally you will remove a huge weight from your shoulders. How many times have you unintentionally snapped at someone because of something that had nothing to do with that person in particular? They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Everyone has done it. We’ve taken our life frustrations out on people who are conveniently around us.
Now flip the script–what if you happen to be the person standing in the path of “Tornado Tom” coming down the hall? By not taking anything personally, you can rationalize with yourself that his angry words have nothing to do with you. He is dealing with an outside problem and you happened to be in the path of the storm. When someone treats or speaks to you in a way you find offensive, remind yourself that their actions have nothing to do with you. They are projecting their pain or frustration.
Don’t make assumptions
Most sensitive people get caught up when they interpret people’s actions, behaviors, and words to be an attack or rejection of themselves. Strive to live a life where you don’t make any assumptions. Let’s say that you’ve been dating someone and things are going great, but then out of nowhere they cancel a date and don’t give you a reason. This doesn’t mean that they’re no longer into you. It could have been an emergency or they don’t realize how you’d perceive the situation negatively.
When you learn not to make assumptions, you erase a lot of perceived stress about a situation that may not even be true. If you want to know the truth, go straight to the root. Ask a direct question and don’t beat around the bush. If you want to become more emotionally resilient, learn not to make assumptions from others’ words, behaviors or feelings.
Always do your best
No matter what happens in life, always do your freakin’ best. This will make you more emotionally resilient by giving you peace that you did everything in your power in a given situation. Even if you’re disappointed something didn’t turn out how you wanted, you did all you could and now you can work on improving yourself for the next glowing opportunity on the horizon.
You are remarkable and I can say that without even knowing you personally. As long as you do your absolute best, you will be just fine.
I truly believe that if you want to become less sensitive, more emotionally resilient, and truly not give a damn these four topics cover just about everything.
“Awareness is always the first step because if you are not aware, there is nothing you can change.” –Don Miguel Ruiz
An exercise I use with my clients who are struggling in the arena of handling disappointments and rejection is to have them tell me of a time they didn’t get what they wanted. I have them relive a story about something they thought they really wanted and didn’t get, and majority of the time it was a blessing in disguise that they didn’t get what they wanted. Of course, they were disappointed in the moment, but they learned that had they received what they wanted in that moment they wouldn’t have reached the level of success, found the love of their life or been able to accomplish their dreams.
Learning to let go
Do yourself a favor and try to eliminate as much perceived stress as possible. When you are clear about a given situation then you are prepared to handle it better and not stress yourself out about the possibilities. For your health, for your sanity, this is why you shouldn’t give a damn.
In the words of the great Steve Jobs…
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
Erica Ferguson is a Stress Management Coach where she empowers others to manage stress, avoid burnout, and navigate through life transitions. She is a fitness fanatic that loves to explore, witty remarks, helping others live their greatest lives and anything with almond butter on it!