Sometimes challenges in life can seem insurmountable. Whether they are physical or psychological, or in many cases, they can be both. The challenge that seems trivial one day can appear overwhelming the next day. What is it that creates this discrepancy? Perception is the key. How we view an event makes all the difference. There are situations where challenges seem to be arduous; the difficulty to overcome problems is extreme. No matter how you try to find resolution, there does not seem to be an answer. The way in which you approach overcoming obstacles is going to be different for each person. You are not always going to have the resources to draw on to be able to have a positive or optimistic perspective when dealing with problems. Here are some suggestions that I use myself and with clients, and may assist you in challenging situations: be attentive of how you deal with stress, reach out for help, be aware of your limitations, and try to achieve acceptance.
Being tuned into how you deal with stress, what your stress triggers are, and your limitations can also help to overcome difficult situations. If you are feeling that you are in a type of stalemate with an issue, it could be because you are under stress without realizing it. When we are stressed, our ability to think logically and rationally can be compromised. Take a moment to stop and examine how you are feeling. What emotions and physiological sensations you are experiencing in a situation? This pause could help you identify if you are stressed. Once you are aware that you are stressed, you can take steps to deal with the stress; you will no longer be in reaction-mode, and you can proactively approach the issue with more options.
Reach out for help – one approach to overcome your challenge may be to try to obtain an objective opinion. If you are too close to a situation, your own prejudice including any emotional bias may be obscuring your ability to see the problem for what it really is. Having a second opinion and/or empathetic listening from someone who is non-judgmental can help you to reach a sense of clarity about the issue. Sometimes you may think that you have all the information that you need to solve a problem, but you may find later that some significant aspect was missing. Looking to someone else to help you through your challenge may be the answer*.
An awareness of your limitations, particularly in times of chronic stress, can allow you to give yourself a break. We live in this fast-paced, demanding world, where instant gratification seems to be assumed, and perfect, organized, stress-free lives are splashed across the media. Don’t buy into that. Real people have real challenges every day, and the challenges and stress will be at different levels according to your personal perception. Give yourself permission to be less than perfect and to make mistakes and be aware that you cannot know, and do everything. Letting go of expectations that we take on from others can be a relief in itself. Try not to judge your limitations, but do try to be cognizant of what they are. You can then take steps to overcome or mitigate your limitations, such as asking for support when you need it, or striving to accept your limitations.
Try to achieve acceptance – sometimes it may be that it is not possible to find resolution; striving to gain awareness that you need to accept the situation as it is may be your best solution. This would include accepting your limitations. Experiencing the situation in a non-judgmental manner as fully as possible may be your optimal approach. Accepting something as it is can help you feel less frustrated and stuck. The experience may be unpleasant, uncomfortably confronting, or completely distressing, but in allowing yourself to be as present as possible in that experience, you may find that you grow and learn through difficulties and suffering in your life and career.
*If you find that you are unable to work through your challenge or stress using your own resources, I would strongly urge you to seek professional assistance. Please let me know if I may be of assistance and/or can refer you to support resources. You can also refer to my Resources Page on my website for help.