Adapting in Unadaptable Situations

The traumas and experiences of childhood, adolescence and even adulthood shapes the inner most part who we are or who we choose to be. There is a difference sometimes in who we really are versus who we allow the world to see. But of course our authentic self is that part of us that is hidden from all or the majority of the world.  


The true self is that which is developed by the age of seven. Our personalities are form and our perspective of the world is shaped. Although established it is not rigid as we continue to experience new things our perspective is fluid if we allow it. However, the ability to adapt and change with the tides of life is based on the deeply rooted qualities developed primarily in childhood. We all have survival instincts. Now, the way we choose to survive can either be adaptive of maladaptive. 


When faced with adversity, do you stand and fight till the last man standing wins? Or do you crawl under a shell like a turtle and wait for the storm to pass? Either way, your survival instinct kicks in and whether you are fighting till the end or waiting and sheilding yourself from collateral damage, you are choosing to survive the effects of that unwarranted situation. I believe the choice on how to survive is made by the core, innermost part, or authentic part of who we are.  We are who we are but we can also chose to be who we want to be.


What do I mean by this? Although your personality traits are formed at an early age, you can practice changing your behavior to develop healthy habits to produce positive thoughts and emotions which will inturn cause you to behave or act in a positive manner. This may seem questionable from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapeutic perspective but think about it. If you are able to manipulate your desired outcome by relinquishing maladaptive patterns and displaying more adaptive bebaviors, what will happen with your thought process? It seems clear, that they will be more positive yielding positive emotions which spirals into positive actions. Making that choice to change your behavior places you in a position that only you are able to stand in. Taking that stand allows you to chose who you want to be.  


Authentic vs self shown to the world


How to Survive 

  1. Make a decision to be a victor not a victim of your situation.
  2. Embrace the vision of who you want to be versus who you are
  3. Change negative thought patterns through positive thought replacement
  4. Change your behavior to positively affect your perspective/thought process
  5. Continue self care to maintain positive emotions
  6. Understand that you have the ability to choose who you want to be
  7. Surround yourself with people who will help heal your wound(s) i.e. develop a healthy support network


-Tanya Ellis-Asbury, LPC, NCC-

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