5 Strategies for Personal Empowerment in Difficult Situations
My guess is that most of us would rather not spend much time in a hospital, unless you’re a doctor or nurse and love what you do. I’ve spent a day and a half in St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT, with my disabled brother Mark who is waiting for surgery to remove an infected knee implant. So, I’ve had the chance to remember why I really like to avoid hospitals.
No matter how much effort goes into the decor, the cleaning, and the landscaping, it’s really hard to offset the effects of the negative energies that exist because hospitals are places with a problem focus. Illness is negative energy. Patients are scared–more negative energy. Family members are concerned–more negative energy. Doctors and nurses are typically overworked, at times doing work that involves risks to human life and dealing with some overwhelming and unpleasant situations. Whew! Lots of negative energy!
I’ve found myself shifting into survival mode with my own energy so I endure this hospital experience. Here are some things I have been doing:
I look for the good in every employee I encounter, even the nurse’s aide who won’t make eye contact.
I ask for what I need or what Mark needs as our needs arise.
I don’t take personally employee behaviors that aren’t as pleasant, helpful or supportive as I would like.
I stay calm even when I feel scared or annoyed so I can be a grounding presence and bright light for Mark.
I take lunch outside so I can shake off some of the negative energy I have absorbed.
I remember my life outside of the hospital and remind myself that this experience is only temporary.
I focus on how much I love Mark and remain detached even when he’s grumpy and reactive.
I appreciate the overall cleanliness of the building.
I note and feel grateful for every friendly person I encounter, from the person who made my salad at Subway to the receptionist who validated my parking ticket.
I congratulate myself for my patience with Mark and the waiting despite my own fears about Mark’s situation.
I figure if I have to be here, if this is where I’ve been led to make a difference, I am going to do whatever I can to counter the negative energies that I have no control over with positive energies I do have control over. I can control my thoughts and my attitudes, and manage my emotions and behaviors.
When you find yourself in situations where you are exposed to negative energies over which you have no control, remember that you can control your own sources of positive energy if you so choose. Here are some ideas.
Look for the good that does exist. Feel grateful for it. When you deliberately look for good, you will find it. When you focus on negatives, you’ll find it. Wouldn’t you rather have a steady diet of good energies? They will help you more effectively cope with the challenges.
Avoid reacting to others and taking their behaviors personally. Pia Mellody, author of Facing Codependence, once said that people’s reactions have more to do with them and their history than they do with you, unless you’ve been offensive. So, observe others and wonder about their behaviors, but know that what you’re getting from them could have absolutely nothing to do with you.
Stay in your own power by remaining calm even when others are not. “Shut your mouth and breathe,” is another of my favorite reminders from Pia Mellody. Doing that will help you stay grounded and avoid saying or doing anything you might regret later.
Ask for what you need from people who are capable of giving it to you. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Only you know what you need. And, it is empowering to respectfully make your needs known.
Don’t make requests of people who are incapable of responding appropriately to your requests. That’s a setup for disappointment and will only fuel your anger.