Why don’t you turn the table on your troubles? They have been challenging you, threatening you with defeat. Why not try challenging them? Go on in spite of a handicap. Never say, ‘I cannot be [successful] because of this or that’ (Margery Wilson, The Woman You Want to Be, 1942).
On our journey to only focus on excellence and beauty so that we can live a gracious midcentury lifestyle, we have to rethink how we handle difficulties. Instead of diving into the pint (gallon?) of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, we need to laugh at difficulty in the face.
Or so our midcentury mentor, Margery Wilson, tells us. Although there is no mention of the ice cream in her book, The Woman You Want to Be. Maybe drowning one’s sorrows with best friends Ben and Jerry wasn’t a thing back then.
But I digress.
Writing during the height of World War II, Mrs. Wilson tells us that in order to become the person we want to be, we need to face our difficulties straight on.
So, when we encounter obstacles that threaten to defeat us, there are some strategies we can employ to help us defy our difficulties.
Defy Your Difficulties With These Strategies
- Remembering that our present circumstances don’t define who we are as a person. This idea is probably one of the most difficult strategies to remember. All too often we let the external determine our identities. Think about it, we go to parties and when we meet someone the question is “What do you do?” instead of “Who are you?” When something goes wrong with the external identity, we end up floundering about. When I was laid off from my administrative job at Prestigious University ten years ago, I struggled to figure out who I was since my identity was so wrapped up in my role and the sense of power that went with it. It took a while but I finally realized that what was most important was what was within me, not whether I had a job at Prestigious University.
- Letting go of the need for approval…especially from The Mean Girls. Let’s be honest, sometimes we create our own difficulties because we seem to have this insatiable need for approval. Especially from The Mean Girls who are never going to give us the approval we crave from them. The refusal to give approval is part of their mean judgy-ness. But we can’t let that need for approval from people who aren’t going to give it to us sabotage our confidence in our ability to achieve our goals. I’ll admit that I have spent more than my fair share trying to get The Mean Girls to like me. That changed a few months ago. My friend was telling me that a Mean Girl didn’t like something I was doing. In exasperation over the Mean Girl’s judgy-ness, I told my friend that I didn’t really care anymore. Mean Girl is always going to find something she doesn’t like about me. There were some more choice words that aren’t for public consumption but I felt liberated. And I am still liberated. Mean Girl still gives me The Pursed Lips Stare. But, when she does, I remember that her meanness says more about her than it does me.
- Getting over ourselves. Sometimes our difficulties are so ridiculous that we should be laughing about them. If we take ourselves too seriously, we get stuck in the negative perfectionist mindset. Besides, laughter is good for both the soul and the brain. A solution often emerges to show us the way forward when we loosen our grip on the difficulty and laugh.
...deep within you is the strength to bear anything, the nobility to be willing to do so, and the intelligence to create magnificently and beautifully, come what may.Click To Tweet
When Life Seems to Challenge Us
Our midcentury foremothers encountered a great deal of difficulties. The Great Depression turned their worlds upside down. On the heels of the depression was a world war. Sacrifices had to be made by everyone.
Mrs. Wilson’s encouragement to defy your difficulties lasts only three paragraphs in her book about becoming the woman we want to be. But in those few paragraphs she reminds us that we are stronger than we think we are. We have to “stop wailing” and listen to the quiet voice within us. Our inner voices are telling us
…deep within you is the strength to bear anything, the nobility to be willing to do so, and the intelligence to create magnificently and beautifully, come what may.
When you encounter something that tries to stop you in your tracks, just remember Mrs. Wilson’s words and defy your difficulties!
What strategies do you employ to defy your difficulties? Share your ideas in the comments.
To your fabulous Technicolor life,
Image citation: Image courtesy of Isabel Santos Pilot on Flickr.com