Reacting to bad experiences is normal, but so is recovering from them.

I suspect we all know someone who appears to skate through life seemingly untouched by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. If things do ever go wrong (and they’ll almost certainly claim that this hardly ever happens to them) they appear to brush them off as meaningless, puffing that they’re unaffected.

Superficially we may envy them. How useful, we might think, to have a hide that’s thick enough to be able to ignore life’s misfortunes. How nice to never fret about problems and setbacks.


I wonder, though. Maybe a person who’s apparently so immune to day-to-day disasters will also be somewhat insensitive to life’s brighter moments? Perhaps, too, they’re relatively self-centred, and have only a low regard for those around them?

To be honest, it seems perfectly normal to react to bad times and unhappy events. After all, isn’t that part of what makes us human?

True resilience, I think, starts with an acknowledgement that you’re going through a rough patch. It’s not about pretending that everything is fine.

But then it continues with the awareness that, given sufficient time, things often improve. It’s also helpful to look back at difficult times in the past, with a view to learning what worked for you then.

Perhaps you found it useful to talk things through with someone? Maybe you wrote a letter which enabled you to gather your thoughts? Alternatively a long walk in the country might have been part of the answer for you?

I think we each have our individual strategies for tackling adversity. There’s a lot of sense in asking yourself what yours is, then having it ready for some day when it may again be useful.

One thought on “Reacting to bad experiences is normal, but so is recovering from them.

  1. Thank you for this Jon. As an old driving instructor once said, I ‘keep my emotions close to the surface’ so I’m more likely to burst into tears or get angry about things. But I’m also very quick to laugh and very sensitive to other people’s emotions. Lately a friend has been telling me she thinks my reactions are often out of proportion and that I should see a psychiatrist. I find it tough sometimes to distinguish between being a sensitive person and being someone who needs treatment, but this blog has helped me decide that I’m probably the former. I’m not as even-tempered as some, and that can be a problem, but I’m not constantly low or anxious either. It’s an important distinction. Thanks for the moodnudge, as ever 🙂

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