Keep Your Composure Through Adversity

Fear can move the body in mysterious ways. Some people will tense up and freeze, feeling immobile emotionally and physically to do anything. Others will run away, believing that they can make the feeling go away by maintaining the appropriate distance. I find that keeping your composure through any setbacks or adversity will improve your feelings about yourself and boost your confidence to tackle anything that comes to you with vigor and energy.

There are nights when I’m bowling where I don’t feel like I have the best “stuff” so to speak. The hand to eye coordination may be a little off, I’m a little fast with my body in comparison to my arm swing- or I just can’t seem to throw two balls the same way over the same target. When I was younger, I would blame everything outside of myself for these circumstances, and as a result throw 3 poor games because I didn’t choose to keep my composure, quietly look at what is going on and see if I could make modifications to achieve a different, more desirable outcome.

My first seven frames tonight felt like the younger self. After leaving a washout that I picked up in that final frustrating frame- I took the time to notice that one of my other teammates also seemed to be having trouble getting the ball to hook at the normal spot on the lane. Deciding to move up on the approach and throw the ball a little slower, my game improved and I was able to take a so-so night on to a better than average evening. I didn’t let the lanes defeat me. I didn’t blame anyone else but myself for not performing to my capabilities.

My oldest daughter felt like she couldn’t face school today. When she came home we talked about her day, and she admitted that in-house suspension is not something she plans on repeating anytime soon. 6 hours without talking to her represents torture of the worst kind. I promised her that the heads of the school, the special education department, her teachers and us as parents are all working together to make her sophomore year more of an enjoyable experience and alleviate some of her PTSD fears. We just have to let the powers that be get together later on in the week- and she can use her DBT skills to keep her composure day by day.

Even when it comes to the spontaneous events of life- we have to keep our cool if we want the best outcomes possible. What good is it to chase down a vehicle that cuts you off on the highway? How would you feel if that person were rushing to a hospital for an emergency situation? What if you meet anger with anger, or violence with violence- does that solve matters or make people feel worse in the end?

If you feel yourself getting out of your element, raising your voice, wanting to throw a sharp object at someone, etc.- take a minute to re-compose yourself by clearing your head space. For some people that may be a walk outside for fresh air, for others it may be closing your eyes, doing some deep breathing and counting to 10- whatever it takes to get the heart rate and brain to a calmer. In the case of my girls, one daughter needs to feel free without constraints of the apartment to get back into conversational mode, while the other daughter has to know precisely a time and place before she will even consider hearing you out when she’s ready to explode.

For me? I’ll read, I’ll clean dishes, I’ll play a computer game, I’ll walk to the library- I’ve learned to use a multitude of ways as it usually depends on my level of frustration. The bottom line is- you do yourself and the people around you little good to have a civil conversation or work out challenges when you are in a heightened state of fear, anger or confusion. Trust your gut and instincts. You’ve worked out some challenges before- see what worked before and see if you can apply those same techniques today.


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