What Are Your Responsibilities?
If you know anything about ACT Therapy you know the most important thing that it teaches is “psychological flexibility”.
It’s defined as “the ability to stay in contact with the present moment regardless of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, while choosing one’s behaviors based on the situation and personal values.”
(Click the link for a great article about it.)
In regular language, it means the ability to step back from an unpleasant feeling, evaluate it without judgement, and then react in a way that is consistent with your real values and how they relate to the situation.
In even simpler terms, it means “Being OK With Not Being OK”.
Needless to say, life at the best of times can be challenging, so where we are right now is allowing for a whole lot of psychological flexibility practice. I don’t want this to be a whole post on the value of psychological flexibility, but suffice to say that it’s very important if you want to live a full and vital life. Let me know if you have any questions about why.
What I’m trying to get across is a long-winded way of asking
“What Responsibilities Do We Have To
Ourselves During This Time?”
I know just asking that may open up Pandora’s Box.
You may be thinking that I have the answers for you. Some kind of perfect exercise and nutrition program.
Sorry, I don’t.
This is a question that only you can answer. What I can do is give you a little guidance, though.
I’m not as wise as Gandalf but I’ll do my best.
1 – Take care of yourself
There’s a reason that flight attendants tell you to put your mask on before you tend to your kids. You can’t help someone else until you help yourself.
This stands for right now, too.
If you’re stressed and irritable do you really think you’re being the best parent, spouse, employee or friend you can be? You have to take care of yourself at least to some extent if you’re going to be any help to anyone else right now.
Here’s the tricky part, though. Take some time and figure out what form that takes for you.
Notice how I said “for you.” Don’t try to figure it out by going on Instagram and seeing what your favorite fitness celebrity is doing.
Maybe a workout is what you need. Maybe a walk. Maybe reading a book. Maybe sewing a brand new infinity scarf!
Who made that?
Maybe none of these things.
The point is to do something that fills you up. This is important! Do not just blow it off!
2 – Work On Your Psychologically Flexibility
Understand that whatever you do won’t be perfect. Not because you aren’t capable, but because
There Is No Such Thing As Perfect!
Use that psychological flexibility to understand that we are looking to make progress in whatever form that takes.
Think of it like this:
We want to head in a certain direction here. Towards progress. Let’s call that direction “west”. We will never arrive at “west”, but we can move in that direction. We are always trying to think in terms of “progress not perfection”.
All that may sound good, but how do we work on psychologically flexibility?
It’s a big process and being that I’m not a therapist I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I can get you started.
I want you to think of one thing you want to accomplish over the next few weeks. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, and as a matter of fact it may be best to start off with something small, but it does have to mean something to you. That is a crucial piece of this. It may be as simple as journaling a few times per week or learning how to cook lasagna.
Next, I want you to come up with a step-by-step plan on how you are going to do it.
This plan should be very manageable and scheduled out.
Next, I want you to follow the plan no matter what. Even if you don’t feel like doing it.
Especially if you don’t feel like doing it!
Remember the definition: “the ability to stay in contact with the present moment regardless of unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, while choosing one’s behaviors based on the situation and personal values.”
Especially the last part: “choosing one’s behaviors based on the situation and personal values.”
That means doing something because you know that it’s important to you even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.
The trick to starting on this process is making those steps manageable and also making sure you really want what you think and say you want, and know why you really want it. By the way, if all you can think of right now is losing weight, I guarantee you need to go much deeper into that last part.
I’m sure you’ve heard some version of this, but I’ll say it again. We can’t control this situation. All we can do is control our reaction to it. I know that’s not easy but it’s all we ever have.
I hope this helps a little. Please let me know if you want to talk through some of this stuff. It can very hard to do when you’re in the middle of it but it’s important to realize that you do have responsibilities in all of this. They just may not be what you’re thinking.