Hmmm… That sounds like an utterly awful recipe.
In truth, it is the object lesson from a class I just attended. My work offers short one-hour classes on various topics, many of them related to mental health. This particular class talked about hardiness.
Most of what we talked about was a repeat (good though) from the class I just finished in Psychology, but there were some very good points. And the object lesson, coming up, was particularly effective for me. To be brief….
Hardiness is made up of three specific elements known as the Three Cs:
- Control–This can be defined as understanding what is within our circle of influence and then choosing to exercise the control we can. It also recognizes that there are things that we cannot control.
We are more hardy as we focus our energies on those things within our power to control.
- Commitment–Think of your value systems. People who have a commitment to value systems don’t struggle as much when faced with certain challenges or stressors.
It’s not a perfect comparison, but I see this being related to the idea of making choices prior to facing conflict. If we’ve already chosen that we aren’t going to do drugs, when drugs are offered to us, we don’t go through that process. We are committed to who we are, and that commitment helps define us as individuals.
I believe this also has a measure of influencing our perceptions of self-worth.
- Challenge–The Third C is the ability to accept challenges and the perception of stressors as challenges instead of threats. Life, and its problems, is something we can overcome as opposed to something we consistently must defeat, and that attitude makes us hardier individuals.
That’s the basics. Now to the Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee.
The instructor brought with her three tubs. In each tub was an object that had been boiled, and she compared the boiling process to the stressors we might face in life: work, schooling, family, economy, etc. The first she showed us was the tub of carrots. The carrots were squishy, mushy, and quite soft. The second was the egg, which had gone from fragile and runny to hard. The third was the coffee, which had originally been a bean and was now a liquid.
The point is that boiling (stressors) change us. They change each of us in unique ways to our time, our personalities, and our lives. Sometimes challenges make us soft. Sometimes challenges make us hard. And sometimes challenges change us completely from one thing to another. The point is that becoming soft is not a sign of weakness just as becoming hard is not a sign of strength. Each change is really a result of our attitudes, perception of the event, and hardiness.
The class was interesting and a good reminder that we are all different, we all handle things in our own way, and, especially, we are all affected in our own way.