HOW TO: LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
NOTES ON RESILIENCE, MOTIVATION & COPING WITH CHANGE
As part of our New Success Collection, we are launching our Yellow Success Bracelet, which represents Shine. At BYOS we know that everyone needs help sometimes to remind ourselves that we are strong and that there is light at the end of every tunnel. That’s why we have partnered with Jigsaw to support young people in their mental struggles. We believe it is vital for young people to develop practical emotional skills like self confidence, motivation and resilience. We are happy to be collaborating with the National Centre for Youth Mental Health to empower young people by sharing their resources, along with our digital guide to mental well-being.
In honour of Mental Health Week, here are 4 positive approaches to failure and making positive changes to improve our lives.
Amelie wears Shine represented by the colour Yellow. “My mum is a warrior, she used to always tell me that ‘nothing can dim the light that shines inside of me’. That’s my inspiration”
STRUGGLE + SELF CARE = HEALING
The experience of emotional struggle on its own is not enough to build resilience.
Self care is key to building emotional strength and resilience. Self care is a useful response to failure and change.
We can choose to be fair to ourselves and others. By approaching failure and change as a fresh page— a chance to create a new opportunity, to go a different, more suitable direction with our lives— we’re building ourselves up rather than letting failure break us down.
Whatever the tough situation is; whether we lose our job, fail a class, drop out of college, go through a romantic or platonic break-up:
We can fully acknowledge the painful nature of the situations.
Label it a mild or major personal disaster.
Grieve the loss of the sense of security that we once held (crying is allowed here and encouraged).
Evaluate the event/write a journal report if it helps get deeper insight into the incident.
Take responsibility for our part (big or small) in the disaster.
Forgive ourselves for the screw up.
Then make plans, and begin to work towards a new path with a better understanding of how to handle setbacks.
Lets try to keep an open mind and put one foot forward in the journey to finding our shine!
Always remember the formula: struggle + self-care= healing.
MOTIVATE—DON’T CONDEMN— YOURSELF & OTHERS
Now that we know what it *actually* means when we say ‘hardship builds character’ and ‘tough times thicken the skin’; let’s make the distinction between motivation and condemnation.
CONDEMNATION: you lost your job because you’re lazy and you can’t do anything right.
MOTIVATION: I’m sorry you lost your job; you work really hard you must have burnt yourself out, you need to rest and look for a role that’s right for you.
Condemnation often inhabits the space of ‘tough love’ in our culture. But if we go to the root of condemnation it often comes from the perspective of a person who has been broken down by the struggles they went through in life. Life has left them feeling resentful, angry and embittered. Responding to obstacles in life with negativity often changes people, turns them into mean-spirited, manipulative, hateful individuals that only know how to break others down, because they want to see their own experience of despair and disappointment reflected back to them.
By approaching our experiences of failure and struggle with blame, harsh self criticism and condemnation, we can not grow past it. We become stuck in the darkness of our painful past.
When we condemn instead of motivate, we dim our inner light and negate the potential of our loved ones, employees and friends who seek encouragement from us.
On the opposite side, we can choose not to allow hardship to damage our character and harden our hearts towards the suffering of our fellow human beings.
When we learn how to motivate ourselves and others, we are ultimately showing that we believe there is a lesson to be learned from the mistake made, that all is not lost because we have faith in our (and others’) ability to grow, improve and shine.
INNER PEACE COMES WITH SELF-BELIEF
No one ever stumbles upon peace. Usually we have to go in search of it. We know the narratives of Jesus, the prophet Muhammad and the Nietzschean fictional prophet cum philosopher Zarathustra going up a mountain to seek divine knowledge, intervention and inner peace. Inner peace seems to require belief, effort and action.
To arrive at a state of inner peace– which can be defined as freedom from emotional disturbance–we first have to believe that peace is possible. Only then can we begin to work towards building our emotional tool-kit. Inner peace becomes evident when we have a sense of calm at our disposal to get through everyday nuisances, annoyances and inconveniences. We can also invest in emotional skills and strategies (like an emergency fund) to be able to cope with and overcome major life crises and emotional struggles.
FLOURISHING REQUIRES A CHANGE IN PATTERN
We have to commit to making positive changes. By improving our mindset and adjusting our behaviour accordingly through will power and commitment, we can flourish in new environments. Taking action can be the hardest part of our journey towards a better, healthier life. So take simple but effective steps by addressing the existing habits and attitudes that leave us unable to thrive in our environments. (It is important to note that we are not always in total control of our environments, so only focus on the aspects of our routines, relationships and lives that we can improve.)
American writer & philosopher Will Durant once said “We are what we repeatedly do.” When we’re trying to heal from the past, and enter a new era or new environment, we have to recognise and replace faulty coping mechanisms with healthy alternatives.
Drinking and recreational substance use is a common way young people deal with emotional struggle and social discomfort. Yet most people know (from research & personal experience) alcohol makes existing psychological issues worse. Instead of going out drinking with friends, arrange an alternative social gathering. From lunch/dinner date to going for long walks in nature; shopping trips or going to a gig; not drinking doesn’t mean not having fun or spending time with our loved ones. Just make sure it’s quality time. Social gatherings are worthwhile when they provide us with healthy spaces to voice our anxieties to a trustworthy companion while also exposing ourselves to positive external stimuli to take our minds off our problems to a little while.
Life’s a journey, full of winding paths and changing scenery, lets learn to acknowledge when we’re struggling, recognise the behaviours that are reinforcing our emotional difficulties, and be brave enough to remove the roadblocks from the path to our inner light. Be strong, make changes, let your light shine!