This weekend I was really mugged off by technology.
I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of why I ended up with a new iphone that I neither wanted or needed; but it happened, so I had to deal with it and will be doing so for the foreseeable future.
I don’t want to, but I will, because I know that doing so will be a taking a step towards getting over one of my fears: that I will fuck it up, and then, it will fuck me up.
Feeling the fear and doing something anyway, is a way of building resilience- the ability to bounce back from situations that can be difficult, painful, annoying, anxiety making and downright stressful.
We don’t normally apply the term ‘resilience’ to petty first world problems like setting up an iphone, but I believe that in doing little fiddly irritating tasks, gaining understanding and maybe even a bit of competence is a prime example of how we build up our resilience to help us deal with the big blows in life.
I read an article about this a while back. The writer’s premise was that if we do the things that really scare us, once we have accomplished the ‘deed’, we gain a certain amount of pride in our achievement which will allow us to tackle the next bigger, scarier task. His theory was that we should keep on putting ourselves into situations that frankly, scare the bejaysus out of us. The payback being that those situations once accomplished will no longer hold any mystery, and it is mystery that causes worry. He added that by challenging ourselves in this way, we will at times achieve success, and at others encounter failure, but, and this is the clincher, by doing these scary things we learn a lot about our inner strengths, and begin to understand that the failures in our everyday lives are not disastrous, on the contrary, they spur us on to do better.
This is an apparently well known technique in hypnotherapy circles: if someone is scared of spiders, you first introduce them to a miniscule one at a distance then, gradually support them towards handling a tarantula. There is a posh name for this, but I can’t remember it.
It strikes me that this is what we are all doing when we decide to give up the self limiting behaviours make us uncomfortable with our lives. We become familiar with an idea that scares us, then gradually, day by day, bit by bit, we get to a place where not doing (drinking, drugging, over-eating, over-thinking etc.) holds no terrors, and once feared experience may eventually become normal and even maybe enjoyable.
Yes, there may be holes to fall down along the way, but the resilient pick themselves up, claw their way out ( often at considerable emotional cost to themselves and others) and carry on marching until they get to a place where they are happy and comfortable with the new self that has emerged.
So today, I will not throw a very expensive piece of tech out of the window. I will sit, and retrieve my lost music and apps, restore my photographs and learn a bit more about how the Apple Corporation can enhance my life with what I consider to be an overpriced and unnecessary piece of kit.
Today, I will build resilience.