In the face of challenges and difficulties, it is important for us to ground ourselves
One of my clients had gone through a rollercoaster ride of her emotions in recent promotional opportunity at work. At the beginning, she held very high expectation on her application for the promotion. She even spent long hours for writing a proposal for presenting in the job interview. She told me that there are signs given by her bosses that they might want to promote her. One day before the announcement of the promotion, she thought her chance was high as no one informing her about negative result of her application after the job interview. Her mood was elated and expected a positive result on the day of the annoucement. However, she was not chosen for the promotion finally and she felt extremely disappointed. She even thought about resigning her job due to her anger. She blamed her bosses for asking her to apply for the job and did not tell her that she was not successful in the application before the announcement. She felt not being respected and left out. Did my client really know what was behind the arrangement of promotion of her bossess? How could she manage her emotions in the face of this failure?
When we faced disappointment or frustration, it is important for us to step away from our self-centered perspective to a broader holistic perspective of the situation. In order to be more opened to a braoder view, we need to learn to establish groundedness in ourselves. To establish groundedness, we cultivate stillness and calmness inside us. We can be fully present and open up our experience of the reality. For instance, the client above can develop groundedness when she felt very angry and disappointed by enhacning her awareness of the solidity of the body and its contact with the material world. To start, she may bring her awareness to her body contacting the sofa she was sitting or the ground she was standing. When she was grounded, she was less likely to get caught in heightened emotions, such as anger. This could prevent her from doing something impulsively, including resigning her job without detailed planning. She could be calmer to step back from her immediate reaction and reflect more on the situation.
When we are trying to ground ourselves, we can also increase our awareness of our body gradually. Enhancing awareness of our body helps us to be more aware of our change of emotions. As a result, we are more tuned in to ourselves and have greater self awareness of our internal state. This faciliated us to have a better understanding of our current condition and choose actions most appropriate to protect ourselves. When we are more aware of our urge to react to a situation, we can learn to recognise when our old patterns of reactions are triggered. For example, if my client was grounded during and after the announcement, she may recognise that she had an impulse to resign and this could be her repeated pattern of quitting in the face of failure.
Apart from choosing appropriate actions, grounding ourselves in the face of challenges or difficulties can also help us to learn to handle interactions more skillfully. If my client were grounded during and after the announcement, she could stay calm and composed when her colleagues came to her and chatted with her about the promotion results. This could prevent her from saying something she regretted due to her anger or disappointment.
There are many ways to ground ourselves. We may increase our awareness of physical contact of the material world or we may being our awareness to our breath. With groundedness, we can open up our perspective to our external world and others. We can be less self-centered and more objective in our appraisal of the situations we are facing. In fact, after grounding herself, my client reflected that the upper management of her company was undergoing a chaotic change, there might be many underlying issues behind the failure of her application for promotion. It might not solely due to her inadequacy or incompetence. As a result, she continued to work in the company and was promoted in the next round.