Remind Yourself of What You've Got Going for You

If your instant response to the above suggestion is "Nothing", you are in the grip of black-and-white thinking. So take some deep relaxing breaths and think again.

We all have an enormous number of resources available to us, and by that we mean the skills, experiences and attributes we have developed and accumulated to date, which we can call on at any time to help us navigate our way through life. We may take some of them for granted or forget them or even deny them, however, if we are in a state of negative thinking.

Perhaps you are out of a job and you don't have a relationship at the moment. It is important, then, to remind yourself of the jobs you have successfully held in the past, the qualifications you may have gained, the skills you have learned which enable you to do those jobs, and so forth. Count it as a resource that you have had boyfriends or girlfriends in the past and are therefore capable of making a relationship work; or that you were married for many years before your marriage broke down, and that during most of that time you were a loving, caring partner, capable of sharing and having fun and being fun to be around.

If you have ever carried out responsibilities in your life, whether in a job or at home or even when doing a paper round in your youth (getting up early and going out on dark, cold, wet mornings is no mean achievement), count it as an important resource. It means you have what it takes to hold down or discharge responsibilities effectively again.

If you have loved anyone in your life - your parents or your siblings, if not a life partner - or have cared for people in a professional capacity, you can count on having loving feelings and being able to love and care for others.

If you have just one exam pass to your name, that still shows you had the ability to follow through and complete a course of work in that subject, to tum up for the exam and to keep your nerve for long enough to take and pass it.

Perhaps you are great at drawing cartoons or animals for your nephews and nieces to colour in. Or you knit scarves to give to charity shops. Or you read your children stories at night and give all the characters voices.

Count as a resource even adversities you have weathered.Perhaps you have had years of illness that you have had to cope with or you have survived an acrimonious divorce or you have managed not to go under, despite financial losses. These are huge resources. Don't forget aspects of your character either. Perhaps people feel you are a sympathetic listener. Or you are kind to stray dogs. Or you have a great sense of humour.

Exercise

Write a list of everything you've got going for you. Be thorough. No skill is too small. Reminding yourself of your resources will help you to access them more easily, build your confidence and think more positively and productively about the future.

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