A wise person once shared this personal truth: “I am my bones.”
So for some reason this statement resonated deeply with me. In my bones. And I continue to ponder it. It occurs to me that bones are the one part of us that last the longest. Long enough to tell the story of our life, our heritage, our evolution and our journey on earth. When all is stripped away, it is what’s left.
The saying, “it’s got good bones” further illuminates why the idea of bones is so compelling. It is quite literally the infrastructure that establishes the integrity of the whole. The shape, movement, and endurance of the system.
When bones are showing, (think starvation, suffering, illness), surely there is Despair: Hopelessness about life and Sadness combined.
Despair: the painful belief that tomorrow will be just like today.
Which is probably why Bones make me think about death – grief and loss.
And this makes me think about hopelessness.
Which is oddly the opposite of the forever nature of bones.
Antidote to Hopelessness
Thankfully, there is an Antidote to Hopelessness: Setting and achieving realistic goals.
Reaching goal posts is required for building hope. In fact, setting and achieving realistic goals is an antidote for almost any dark and lonely state of mind including depression.
This, along with optimism and happiness, is the one thing that set apart those of us who experience success and those who do not.
Martin Seligman’s 3 P’s
If Optimism is the primary critical and powerful ingredient to happiness and success then it is definitely worth our attention and cultivation. Let’s talk about one of the platforms to stand on to steady us in the face of grief and despair.
One of the secrets to cultivating optimism and happiness is Martin Seligman’s 3 P’s: Personalization, Pervasiveness, and Permanence. These are the elements that determine the level of hope or despair in the face of any situation.
When we Personalize: We take things personally, (“this is about me and reflects me”).
Believe things are Pervasive: We think the situation is global vs local (happens all the time, everywhere).
Permanence: Things are never going to change… When we wear this lens in our lives, we feel greater and more intense despair. On the other hand, when we de-personalize, (this isn’t about me/this does not define me). When we believe that “this too shall pass” and is an isolated incident (not the rest of our lives).
When we hold the faith that everything changes and is impermanent – The more Hope and Optimism we possess. And the greater Happiness and Success we can achieve.
Reflect on what lens you are using to view the landscape of your life.
Achieving Happiness and Success
Are you cultivating optimism and happiness?
What kind of bones do you have?
Is there a correlation between the level of goal setting (high standards, dreaming, setting realistic milestones and reaching them) and your sense of the quality of your bones?
Do you need to strengthen your infrastructure to build resilience against hopelessness? To be strong in the face of the inevitable grief we all will face?
Kathlyn McHugh RCC, RSW Counselling Practice takes place at the Vitality Clinic in the West Shore Area, close to Victoria BC.
Visit the website at: Home – The Vitality Clinic