This week I received some disappointing news. I had interviewed for a program I hoped to be a part of, and was not offered a place in that program. In the moment, I was sad and disappointed. And then, as I often do, I took it personally and moved to embarrassment, shame and questioning my worth. It’s as if my mind moved from this not being a good fit for me, to me not being worthy.
Fortunately, I have been working on strategies to bring myself back to reality when my mind begins spinning and I start catastrophizing situations. Grounding in the present helps me to see what is actually happening. Grounding keeps me from letting my mind judge my value. Grounding allows me to see the situation as it actually is, and quiet the stories in my head about what the disappointment “means” about me as a person.
So how do I find my feet and ground into the present moment?
One way is Gratitude.
When I am able to stop, take a breath and recognize the things I am grateful for, I slow the spinning and I am able to notice what is happening right now.
So, what can I be grateful for? Surely as we enter a second lockdown, wondering when this pandemic will ever end, it can be difficult to consider gratitude. But this is precisely when we need it. We can’t go out and entertain ourselves with movies and drinks at bars, concerts or museums. But we can be grateful for the technology which allows us to connect with family and friends when we can’t be together, for time learning new card games and opportunities to organize our homes or clean out our closets. I can be grateful for my job and my home and my family being safe and healthy. I can find gratitude for the breath I take, for the food I enjoy cooking and the snow I can shovel to get exercise and fresh air.
These practices help me remember that there are things in my control and things not in my control. I may not be able to control the world around me. I may not be able to control the stay at home order. I may not be able to control the outcome of the interview. But I can control the environment in my home. I can control how I use the time during the stay at home order. And I can step back and see the interview result as an opportunity to learn and grow as a leader, to find more time to focus on my current job, which brings me joy and feels meaningful. I can view it as not being a good fit for me and for the program. But it doesn’t mean I am any less worthy.
So, I will take a deep breath. I will root my feet into the ground. I will close my eyes and I will take a moment to feel the gratitude. It may not change what is going on around me. But it certainly will change what is happening within me.
What can you be grateful for today?