What comes to mind when you think of resources? There are natural resources—forests, fresh water, and minerals. There are financial resources—money in the bank and those toonies in your pocket. Companies refer to human resources—employees with skills and knowledge who make the company work.
If you live in a rural area, it’s likely that you, or someone you know, has a stack of scrap wood in the shed. In the house, there’s probably a collection of fabric suttles and spare buttons.
One definition of a resource is “a source of supply in reserve.” You might not think of those scraps as resources, but that’s what they are! And when you need a shim, it’s nice to be able to go to the “resource pile” and get one.
If only the scrap wood pile could serve as an all-purpose resource! However, different situations call for different resources. Personal problems, relationship problems, emotional problems—they call for emotional resources.
And if you have ever felt at the end of your emotional tether, then you know why it would be helpful to have a stack of emotional resources in reserve.
So, what are some emotional resources? Here’s a start: Optimism, gratitude, satisfaction, faith, joy, pride, cheerfulness, courage, confidence, hope, resilience, trust….
Some people seem to effortlessly fill their lives with those resources. Others can hardly imagine a life where those feelings would play a significant role in their lives.
If you are in the second group, do you want to make a change?
According to choice theory, emotion is led by action. So if you want to change your feelings, the route to change is through what you are doing.
Try focusing on one positive resource you’d like to build and work on actions that can cause it. For example, say you want to build a stronger sense of gratitude. Develop a practice of taking actions—even small actions—that invoke the feeling of appreciation and gratitude in you.
Because choice theory also suggests that satisfaction comes through relationships, try finding opportunities to appreciate people to build that sense of gratitude. For example, build a snow critter with your children and appreciate their creativity. Take a walk with your neighbour and appreciate the natural beauty around you. Cook a meal with your partner and appreciate the taste and texture of every bit of the food. Read a poem to your friend and appreciate the sound and flow of the words. Smile at a stranger and appreciate their response.
If that’s a little too touch-feely for you, then deliberately look for something to appreciate in a difficult situation. For example, I’ve recently developed a pretty strong sense of appreciation for the snowblower.
Which emotional resource do you most want to build? Can you come up with actions to take so as to increase that emotion in your life?