Are you choosing to see life’s challenges as opportunities to cultivate happiness instead of obstacles diminishing happiness?
In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.
– Albert Einstein
(New to this series? Start here.)
I was psyched up to kick off my day today by writing this blog post before first light–which isn’t terribly early here in Southern Ontario, Canada in January (8:00ish). However, upon awakening in a house with no electricity, my good intentions got lost somewhere in the dark. Presumably the power outage had something to do with the heavy, wet snowfall and blustery wind we were getting.
I could have used my laptop until its little bit of juice ran out. Or even picked up a pen, strapped a headlamp to my forehead, and wrote the good old-fashioned way. But instead, I chose to attend to other things. I put batteries in my flashlights, made a note to buy emergency drinking water to keep on hand (since my well pump doesn’t work without electricity), turned on the propane fireplace and snuggled under a blanket in the glow of the fire, awaiting the power restoration or daylight, whichever came first.
Lying there on the rug, with the fire warm on my face, I contemplated this serendipitous circumstance. I find it utterly amazing how the universe conspires to help us along when we’re not even consciously asking for help. The night before, readying for bed, I was searching my mind for the spark for this post. I wanted to discuss yet another invaluable benefit of becoming unfcukwithable, building on my previous instalment that talked about the liberating perk of regaining our authenticity.
I knew I wanted to say that when we become unfcukwithable, we’re not bothered by anything someone else—or life—throws at us. But I wasn’t sure what real-life example I could base my blog around. And voila! Doesn’t Mother Nature come through!
Although a Canadian winter power outage it isn’t usually a major life crisis (although it can be), this current situation is illustrative nonetheless. I had considered referencing more substantive events, like the death of my dad, ending my 26-year marriage, selling my home to avoid bankruptcy, being overlooked for promotion…
But, ultimately, unfcukwithability stands you in good stead whether you’re facing common, day-to-day life punches, or (hopefully infrequent) knockout punches. It’s all about gaining the ability to reframe a draining, stress-inducing situation—no matter how minor or major—into an energizing, “bring-it-on” challenge.
I very recently learned about a study by Elizabeth Blackburn, an Australian-American Nobel laureate, that substantiates the healthful effects at the cellular level of such a paradigm shift. Perceived stress has a deleterious effect on our cells. Conversely, being able to see challenges as opportunities to grow on contributes to our “health span”: the healthy, enjoyable years of our life.
When I woke up in the dark this morning, I was unable to enjoy my usual privileges of turning on the lights, flushing the toilet (that relies on the electrically-run pump to get water from the well), making toast or tea, or following my intended writing plan. The once-upon-a-time me would have felt annoyed, perhaps even angry. She probably would have sulked, asking “Why me? Why, now?” and generally perceived the situation as negative.
However, as I’ve been exercising my reframing-mental-muscle over recent years, I had somewhat more internal (if not external) power this morning to draw on. I chose to look at the situation as an excellent opportunity to prepare myself for a future outage that could be much more impactful than this relatively minor and brief inconvenience. Besides noting to stock up on drinking water and batteries, I mentally noted to keep my cell phone and laptop fully charged at all times. I put the electricity provider’s emergency contact number on the fridge and in my phone (to avoid future searches through my filing draw in the dark with my headlamp on to find the number on a bill statement). I thoroughly enjoyed lazing calmly and peacefully in front of the fireplace in the predawn, listening to the wind and feeling truly grateful for nature’s help with this week’s blog post.
The gift of reframing is empowering. I’ve heard it said that a truly powerful person is one who can turn enemies into friends. Sometimes those enemies are people. Sometimes they’re circumstances—whether it’s a major health crisis, a challenge at work or a power outage during a winter in Canada. That’s the power of unfcukwithability.
What current or former obstacle, failure, disappointment, stressful situation are you going to reframe into an opportunity to grow on? How is that reframing going to benefit you?
The ability to turn harmful stress into healing power is yet another benefit of loving the hell out of myself and becoming unfcukwithable. Want to hear about what I’ve come to believe to be the greatest benefit of all? Read on.
 Unfcukwithable: (adj.) when you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself, and nothing anyone says or does bothers you, and no negativity or drama can touch you. (Urban Dictionary)