How Determination Gets Me Through Stressful Times

I see life and our overall wellbeing as a complex jigsaw puzzle and ‘stressed pieces’ don’t fit together. The key to ‘life’s puzzle’ is to find and fix our Emotional, Physical and Environmental stresses so our pieces can connect again. That’s why I say life is a journey filled with happiness when all our jigsaw pieces work together – The ‘Big 3’ Stress Solutions Puzzle...
— CHARACTER 32
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Hello and welcome I’m Character 32!

Words and action have can have a profound impact on us and determine the way we handle situations. Here’s a little story to help you gain some insight and perspective on how I get through my stressful times...

 

‘Flashback’ Years ago, before MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp etc etc we used the power of email to communicate with friends. Funny as that sounds it’s true!

I still remember the day I was sitting in my office when I received the email that changed my outlook on life. It was a game about you and your friends getting to know each other. You answer five questions about your friend who sent the email and in return they do the same for you. Even though I thought it was little silly I did it anyway. What’s the harm, right?

In hindsight, it was one of the best things I ever did! Why is that you ask?

At the time, I didn’t realise the importance and impact that one of the questions would have on me, and how one word would change my life forever. What was the question you ask?

If you could describe me in one word what would that be? My friend’s response ‘Determined’.

Initially, I was upset and couldn’t understand what she meant? I thought it was a horrible word to describe me. I wanted to see the word, Happy, Friendly, maybe Stylish? I didn’t like her answer at all.

Furious with mixed emotions I called my husband at his office and said ‘Can you believe she said I was determined? What kind of a response is that? I’m not determined! I am a nice person, I am a funny person!’. My husband laughed before he responded ‘You are very determined and that’s exactly how I would describe you too’. So, shocked by his response and mad, I hung up on him! Is that how he views me too?

Still unable to comprehend I looked for further insight so I contacted our mutual friend (who ironically was the one introduced us). Again, it was confirmed she too thought I was a very determined person.

That night when we both got home from work I insisted my husband elaborate on his answer. I couldn’t understand why that word? He explained to me in great detail with examples, that when I put my mind to something wild horses couldn’t stop me. He said ‘Nothing gets in your way when you’re focused on the outcome you make it happen and don’t stop until you do!’.  

In hindsight to his credit, he was right. Now I look back on that day and laugh. Ironically my actions spoke for themselves. I was ‘determined’ to find out why they thought I was determined? Ha ha ha

My husband and friends both saw in me what I couldn’t at the time….I was determined in every aspect of my life.

I have managed to successfully create the life I chose and I don’t let other people’s actions dictate my future. I don’t let all my problems, family, friends or my past get in my way. When I set out to achieve my goals I devise a plan and act. Nothing and no one can stop me because I don’t let stress beat me.

You see as a child growing up in Adelaide I knew I wanted more. More excitement, more adventure as the suburban life wasn’t working for me. By age 16 I had attended 9 different primary schools and 1 high school and I was done with mainstream education. I left school to study what I wanted to learn, not what the curriculum of the school insisted I know.

Even after studying multiple things, whilst working 2 part time jobs to support myself I was still hungry for more. So, at 21 I made some more drastic changes because things with family were not good, and I’d just gone through a major breakup. Within 7 days I decided to pack up my car, leave Adelaide, move to Queensland and never look back.

I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted so I let fate guide me. There were times I had to use sheer determination and will power not to give up. I was adamant I didn’t want to return to Adelaide or back to my old life again.  I experienced loneliness, sadness and some days my anxiety was so bad I couldn’t leave my studio apartment. But I stuck it out, made changes and kept looking for a brighter future. That’s the kind of woman I am!

 

So what does the ‘Big 3’ Stress Solutions Puzzle look like when it comes to How Determination Gets Me Through Stressful Times?

 

I didn’t realise it at the time but being told I determined was one of the best pieces of information they could have given me. It made me stop and think. They were right and it wasn’t such a bad way to describe me at all. In fact, it was a compliment, a very nice compliment. It’s funny how we can overreact to something as simple as one word!

Obstacles and hurdles are there to remind us to keep going, not give up and learn from things past. We have all experienced multiple traumas in our lives, some on a very significant scale. We are all here to live, learn and evolve. It’s up to us to define what type of experience and outcome we have when presented with a situation.

Determination can reduce stress when you act instead of react. By taking control of your situation you are not letting it control you.  How you choose to act in hard times is your choice. You have the power to control your mind.

I’ve found at times it can be helpful getting some visual help by watching a movie or a TV show with a woman who overcomes obstacles and adversity. Or look to a person you admire who has overcome hard times. Find ideas and draw on strength wherever you can!

Remember you define who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. Give your power where your power is due to a more positively happier and healthier you.

Remember my motto for positive change is ‘Little Puzzle Pieces Create a Big Picture’… Maybe ask your friends to describe you in one word and see what insight that gives you?

Oh, and if you want to know just how determined I can be, look at the photo of me in our old warehouse apartment. I spent 8 weeks everyday stripping that wall back to the original brick! I wasn’t going to let some toxic lead paint, render, lime and cement stop me! You can accomplish anything when you put your mind to it. Plus, I also started ‘The exposed brick feature wall’ trend in the building as others renovated their apartments! Ha ha ha

Until next time be thoughtful, be mindful, be present. This is Character 32 doing her best to help you!

 

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