Take your own inventory. Ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers. Seeing things in black and white is different from simply thinking about them or even talking about them. This exercise is for you. No one will see what you’ve written unless you wish to share it with them. Letting a friend or a family member read and discuss with you what you’ve written may be helpful. You decide.
- What events have I experienced in my life that have been extremely stressful for me? A natural disaster like a tornado or hurricane, a personal disaster like the death of a spouse or child, a house fire, divorce, bankruptcy, job loss, illness, disability?
- How have I managed these events? How did I deal with my feelings? Did I avoid talking about what was happening? Did I allow myself to discharge the feelings about the event? Did I think about significant others in my life and how they had dealt with similar crises?
- Did I ask others for help or did I go it alone? How did going it alone work for you? If you asked for help, who helped you through these hard times?
- Who have been the role models in my life for dealing with adversity? What did I learn from them?
- Have I helped others through bad times? Did helping them help me? How? How was I, personally, impacted by 9/11? After 9/11, did my attitude toward others who were different from me by religion or race change? If so, how?
- Have I thrown myself into work or other activities as a way of coping with hard times? Was this helpful? What was the upside and what was the downside?
- What have I learned about myself and about others from managing difficult situations? How has the global financial crisis affected me?
- During hard times, was I able to use my head? Able to think clearly and problem-solve in a crisis? Did my ability to think help me to manage my feelings, specifically the fear and the anger that may come up in a time of crisis?
- How did adverse events in my life change my way of thinking about myself and about the world I live in? Am I a stronger person for having gone through a life crisis? How?
(From Duct Tape Isn’t Enough: Survival Skills in the 21st Century. Module II, pages 6 and 7)