Facing a frustrating situation? How to turn it into wisdom.

Part of my work with my life coaching clients is helping them to see their difficult or frustrating situations from a different perspective.

Now, to be clear, I don’t tell them how to see the situation differently. I use the power of questions to help them to discover within themselves other ways to see the situation.

How does seeing a difficult situation different help us?

When we can see a difficult situation from a bigger perspective or from a different perspective, it can help us to lessen the negative emotions that we might be feeling about the situation.

And when we can see a situation without negative emotions attached to the situation, we can see more opportunities to either solve the situation or to see other opportunities that the situation might open up. And in doing so, we gain wisdom and/or make better choices.

I’ll share a few examples from my life when I did this.

When my kids were little, we had just had a great time on an outing. They had fun. When we were in the car, driving home, they started complaining. I was irritated that they weren’t grateful for the good time that we just had. Instead of reacting negatively to their complaining, I realized that this was an opportunity to explain to them how to express their gratitude for the good time.

Another time, before I had kids, I had applied for a particular job at a place that I really wanted to work at. But I didn’t get that job. I took a deep breath and said to myself: “Maybe something even better is in store for me.” And lo and behold — an even better job opened up and I got the job. I wouldn’t have been truly happy with the first job but I was over the moon happy with the job that I did get. It perfectly matched my desires, strengths, and skill sets.

And, even before that, a similar thing happened. When I started student teaching at the end of my Bachelor’s degree program, I realized that I actually hated being in front of people and talking all day. I could have panicked but I ended up going to my academic advisor and explaining that I wanted to drop out of student teaching. Together we came up with a plan so that I could replace my student teaching requirement with a “perfect for me” independent study. That independent study helped me to get my first professional job.

What about you? When have you tried this technique of shifting your perspective on a frustrating situation?

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