Years ago, I read the definition of the term “toughminded” and it resonated with me. Since then, I can’t seem to find it. I find other definitions and they fit, but they don’t. The way I remember it and prefer to see it is….as we continue to learn and grow and face obstacles, we keep showing up to learn and grown more.
We have built-in defense mechanisms. They are automatic and not something we consciously choose. Heck, we even have defenses against our defenses. We have internal messages, based in neurobiology, to avoid….to hide….to collapse. Sometimes we want to run. Sometimes we want to fight. I know when I have clients enter therapy with me, they have already run into these defenses simply getting to the first appointment. Therapy is very often hard stuff…. our body and mind know this when we call the therapist to set up the appointment.
Then, as we continue getting to our therapy appointments, we dig in deeper and our defenses show up more and more. I see my clients as toughminded rockstars. They tell me, with tears in their eyes, I don’t want to do this…..or I keep making excuses….or I want to talk but I can’t get the words out. And they keep coming back. Of course, there are plenty of defenses that are beyond tricky and out of our awareness. Once again, these are automatic and not something we consciously choose. Still, I think plenty of my clients continue to show up. They show up scared. They show up.
I think being toughminded is one of my favorite character traits. I think we can cultivate this quality in our own lives. Look for ways to learn and grow ourselves and remain aware of the defenses. Be ready to keep going forward. Be gentle with yourself in the process….always.
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