If you've done it before, you can do it again
One of the benefits of rebounding from a major illness is the self-knowledge that you can do it. That's a critical piece of your story when overcoming adversity in the present moment. Acknowledging you've done it before.
In early 2016, when I became ill with the flu I was quite distraught. I had just begun working with a community of co-creators to write my first book, A Misfit Entrepreneur's Guide to Building a Business Your Way. And the flu wiped me out for weeks.
My plans were completely disrupted. My timeline was questionable. And I was so exhausted a part of me wondered if it was a sign that I wasn't supposed to write the book. I was close to giving up.
What helped me to persevere was the awareness that I'd overcome setbacks before. Even though I missed a third of school my senior year of high school due to illness, I still graduated on time. If I could do it then, I could do it now.
Of course, things were different back then. I didn't have the responsibilities I did in early 2016. I wasn't a mother. I didn't have to make mortgage payments or fulfill other adult responsibilities. In high school, I had the privilege of making graduating my #1 priority. In 2016, I had to juggle many other priorities.
Bringing my awareness to both these facts - that I had overcome adversity before AND that there were differences between those circumstances was important. I felt confident in my abilities to rebound. I was also very aware and intentional about addressing my current needs differently.
These are the second and third steps to REBOUNDing better than before.
BOunced back before
There are a number of ways you might reflect on adversity you have overcome before. You may review old journals, which often illuminate the in-the-moment pain you experienced during an adversity but upon recollection forget. For me, such awareness is helpful because when I'm suffering I tend to dramatize my story in the moment.
You may also consider talking with friends or family. Asking them to mirror back to you a time they witnessed you struggling and overcoming adversity in the past. Sometimes, when we are in the thick of it, we might not even acknowledge we are suffering. But those closest to us can see the struggle and the triumph more clearly. My mom has illuminated such occasions for me a number of times, which always builds my confidence.
Writing down your reflections about the times you've BOunced back before really crystalizes the experience and fuels your resolve to persevere in the present moment. Here are some reflection questions to consider:
When have you BOunced back from adversity before?
What did you need to BOunce back before?
What have you learned from those past experiences that you could apply today?
Understand what's different
You may be thinking, "but this situation is completely different."
And you're right!
While overcoming past adversity shows you're capable of doing it now. It's also important to acknowledge how your circumstances have changed. To understand what's different now so you may adapt your approach to rebounding sets you up to manage better. It also creates space to show yourself compassion rather than judgment.
What about your current circumstances are different then past adversities?
How are your needs different this time?
How are your priorities different from other experiences?
Rebounding is a process that can take time. While these are the second and third steps in the process of REBOUNDing better than before, they aren't meant to be done linearly. It's more of a circular practice, where step one is a daily occurrence. Like anything, it's important to experiment with your approach, reflect on how it's working and address lessons learned.
Are you ready to take back control of your life? Would you like to make caring for your wellbeing a priority? What if you could experience a profound shift with just 20 minutes of journaling? Save the date, June 8th, for the next Journal Jam - more information and registration is available online.