Women are straddled with making some really tough choices in life. And as we all have experienced ‘each choice has a consequence – some good and some bad’. How is it that we cope up with the unexpected (read ‘bad’) consequences of our choices? Well, I have learnt in life that there essentially are two ways – we either create ‘coping mechanisms’ or we build ‘resilience’.
I remember years back when I had come back to work 6 months after delivering my first baby, I faced the terrible monster called ‘guilt’ at not being around when my kid was unwell or when he uttered new words etc. At this time, I started reading up about how children of working women end up being more confident/successful etc. These studies gave me an immense sense of ‘Aha, I always knew it!’. And I would share these articles, like them, comment on them ad nauseum. Till I realised that reading such studies was doing nothing to help me live with my choice. It was just my way of coping with my guilt. This was my ‘coping mechanism’. Period.
In contrast, when I delivered my second child, I made a different choice. I took my time getting back to work. I watched as my peers rose up the corporate ladder and grabbed plush roles. This time, however, I did not read articles about how children of working women end up more neglected, under confident etc etc. I did not build coping mechanisms. I built resilience. I built the ability to face my choice, look it in the eyes and smile. I empathised with my position without pitying myself, I created support groups which I trusted, I looked out for mentors, I built new skills. In essence I built the ability to bounce back without being stressed. And guess what, I was much happier.
What are you doing with yourself in the face of tough consequences of choices you willingly made? Your happiness quotient depends not on what choices you made but how you have decided to live with them.