About a year ago, I recorded a series on PBS called This Emotional Life. I know many who watched the 3 part series and raved about it.*
This is how strong my resistance was: I've only begun watching it in the past few weeks.
I heart my DVR.
The second episode in the series, the one I'm watching now, relates to happiness. (The first episode covered fear and discussed all manner of things from depression to PTSD.)
One of the things I've learned so far is that we're pretty damn resilient. Case and point: Watch this short video of an 8 year Vietnam War prisoner of war who was tortured and kept in solitary confinement for 3 years. He came home happy and with his spirit still intact - in fact STRONGER than before.
This blog is my tap code and ya'll are my support system. Did you know that even Pilates was invented while the creator was locked away in a concentration camp? Amazing things come out of extraordinary experiences.
There were other stories of people who overcame things in their lives, struggles and difficulties. The common theme was that they had no choice in the matter of their situations. They HAD to adapt.
The episode stated that resilience isn't outstanding; it is absolutely normal. We all have happiness set-points that we aspire to. In other words, once we've reached a peak level of happiness, we always aim for it. In the case of the POW (or quadriplegics or children of divorce or other situations in which a change is deemed impossible), our brains have a natural affinity to accept and adapt to our situations. Thus, we bounce back, reach our happiness set-point and sometimes, despite the situation, even surpass it!
I wonder if this is what happens with Stockholm Syndrome too....and perhaps all sorts of other situations where we think, "Surely they must be suffering" but instead, they come through it all with a smile on their face.
The next part of the episode is about seeking happiness.
Apparently, it is the temporary struggles that tend to bring us down. I haven't watched the rest of the episode yet but I would assume it is those situations that we feel we're stuck in, in which we feel we have to try harder or fight, that we find our happiness feels more illusive.
I think this is part of my struggle with being a single mom, my dissatisfaction with my job, my frustration with my relationship... I haven't even *begun* to accept it yet.
I keep thinking that the situation can change. I keep thinking I did not choose this. I never wanted to be a single parent. I didn't want to be in a long distance relationship. This job was only a temporary fix until I could figure out what I wanted to do career-wise that wouldn't keep me from my kids.
I keep selfishly thinking that I could run away from the things that bring me down. After all, that is why I left Louisiana as a headstrong teenager. That is why I quit my job and went back to college after I got married. This is why I divorced my husband. When I thought things could be better, I went out and MADE THEM BETTER.
I feel helpless. I feel victimized. I feel weak. And I'm sick and tired of it. I'm fucking ready to MAKE THINGS BETTER.
I don't want to talk about it anymore. I don't want to complain about the things that make me sad. I wanna take this bitch on.
I am resilient. I will have to learn to accept what I can and change what I can change.
I'm trying. I've gotta get the momentum started....
*You can watch the episodes online here for less than $5.