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PAIN IS A POSITIVE THING: 8 Techniques to Bounce Back From the Inevitable “Low-Points” in Life

20 July 2011 No Comment

doctor looking down and sad

Take a good look at the Yin & Yang symbol and you’ll notice that even in the side that’s completely dark, there’s a small little speck of light, and in the side that’s completely light, there’s a small little speck of dark…

You can look at your personal growth and success in a similar way: When you’re on top and everything is going smooth, all it takes is one little error in thinking – one small factor you overlooked – to bring you back down.

And when you’re feeling low like there’s no hope for tomorrow, all it might take is one small insight – one simple change beneath the radar – to get you back on your feet.

Eastern Philosophy Meets Western Self-Help

yin and yang tatoo on backI’ve been trying to connect the insights of Eastern Philosophy with the concepts of Self-Development like this for awhile now (see this radio show I did on the Chakras or this older post I put together honoring Lao-Tzu for examples), and this is one of the biggest ideas I’ve come across.

In any sport for instance, you need both a good offense (yang) AND a good defense (yin) in order to succeed, and that serves as a metaphor we can apply anywhere.

If you want to succeed financially and build wealth, you need to make money (offense) and keep a portion of what you earn over time (defense).

If you want to succeed romantically and build relationships, you have to attract a high-quality person (offense) and deepen a connection that sustains itself over time (defense).

To succeed at any personal goal, you need the specific skill-set that the goal requires (offensive yang) and the self-esteem and perseverance to handle failure when it comes (defensive yin).

In all fields of life, offensive “yang” is what initiates the game and defensive “yin” is what sustains the success.

See what I mean? All of that wisdom can be drawn from the simple image (or “glyph”) of Yin & Yang, but the thing is, since we’re in the western world, we’re in the habit of thinking primarily through words, not symbols…

So let’s get into some specific techniques on how to build the “Yin” aspect of that science…

8 Techniques to Build Your Defensive Game

african americans practicing karate1.) Be Patient: Stop EXPECTING life to not have road bumps, obstacles, serious problems and stress. The sooner you can accept that things rarely ever go as they’re planned the sooner you can orient your thinking in a problem-solving way.

2.) Be Prepared: Don’t cut off friends or social contacts when you’re in a relationship, don’t squander your money when you’re in a good spot and don’t eat WHATEVER when you’re feeling healthy and good. Don’t let a positive present make you less vigilant towards the future…

3.) Always Study: Always be growing…always strive to take your habits, skills and worldview to the next level. Marcus Garvey says, “Never forget that intelligence rules the world and ignorance carries the burden. Therefore, remove yourself as far as possible from ignorance and seek as far as possible to be intelligent…”

4.) Always Reflect: Journal, meditate, join a 12-Step program…do something that allows you to take inventory of your own thinking process and bad habits, as well as give you a chance to come up with the ideas and action plans you need to turn things back around.

5.) Stop Taking it So Seriously: Don’t get melo-dramatic or have panic and anxiety over your situation. Bob Marley says, “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing’s gonna be all right.” And if you look back over the last 8-10 years of your life, you’ll find that to be true.

Keep in mind that one day you’re going to look back on everything and either laugh, be amazed you got through it or be surprised you even thought it a problem to begin with.

6.) Rise to the Occasion: Take responsibility for what’s going on and use it as a platform to strengthen yourself. Never cower from an opposing force, whether that be a person or a situation you’re unfamiliar with. Be like someone from the Earth Kingdom in the cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, and STAND YOUR GROUND.

toph from earth kingdom in a martial arts stance

7.) Raise Your Self-Esteem in general: I talk about this often because your self-esteem is the fundamental lens through which you see the world. Click here for more advice.

8.) Stop caring what other people think: One of the main reasons we have anxiety isn’t so much because of our problems in and of themselves, but because of how we THINK we’ll appear in someone else’s eyes.

“True courage is shown most in bearing
reproach when not deserved…we ought to be afraid of nothing
but our own wrongdoing.”
~ from McGuffey’s 3rd Eclectic Reader

Remember what I said about the yin-yang principle above, and for more on dissolving panic and anxiety (which is AT THE HEART of any type of recovery process), click here.


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