A few days ago I read an article entitled “7 Habits of People With Remarkable Mental Toughness” and though I’m not the most well-read individual, the list itself reminded me a lot of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People— a book which I only read the mini version of– and none of which I could accurately list for you offhand, but still feel like the same list in my “let’s boil everything down to it’s lowest common denominator” mind. Plus, the author basically states that that’s what it is.
But there is one thing about that article that keeps popping back into my brain…. the authors use of the word “grit.” Defined as “The ability to work hard and respond resiliently to failure and adversity; the inner quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals.”
So, when I first heard the word “Muchness” I knew that that was the word for that thing I’d been missing…. and that word “grit”- that almost felt like the same thing – I feel like I’ve lost my grit. I grew up in Brooklyn. People in Brooklyn have grit. In spades. It’s basically a pre-requisite. Scratch that- it was a pre-requsite in the 70’s and 80’s. Now, it seems like hipster faux-grit might be the pre-requisite, but alas, I now live in Jersey so nobody cares what I think about Brooklyn grit.
Anyhooo, this idea of grit stuck with me.
I’m trying to be nice to myself, to follow my own lessons and not beat myself up about having to relearn things that I already know. But the fact is, over the last 5 years I’ve been completely disassembled and I’m reassembling as I go. And I imagine I will continue to do so for, well, ever.
When I first learned that we were not going to be bringing our twins home safe and sound, I approached it with grit. I looked at it with the mindset of someone with resiliency. In that way, I was intent to stick to my plan and get pregnant again and have the baby that I’d wanted. I was going to “bounce back”…. because that’s what people like me did. It’s who I saw myself as….a person with “grit.”
And then I learned it wasn’t gonna work that way. I learned that even though I did get pregnant quickly, that didn;t fix anything. I learned I needed to break, I couldn’t just plow through.
And I eventually learned to be OK with that. And I still am. It taught me powerful lessons. It was a giant gift.
But simultaneously, it also gave me permission to drop my grit. My former boss saw it. I was no longer badass. I got soft. And I knew it. And I liked it. And I needed it. Because the things I was badass about were no longer important. Not in scheme of life. A life viewed from the perspective of a woman who’d just said goodbye to her babies.
But here I am- I want my grit back. I’ve been aching for it for a while, without a good word for it. History has shown I do well when I have a word for that ‘thing’ that is often indescribable. And I’m trying to learn what grit can look like redesigned, reintroduced with all the lessons of grief staying close to my heart.
Before grit looked like not necessarily letting emotions seep in. Now, emotions always seep in. And they should.
Before, grit looked like putting myself first. Now, I find that harder to do with empathy so woven into my consciousness.
Before, grit also ironically meant putting myself last. When you just push push push you forget you need some TLC. Now, I handle myself with kid gloves, and I’m a little sick of it.
Before, grit looked like judging others as a means to help define myself. Now, I know judging others only serves to minimize me and my own ability to shine.
I’m starting to feel confident it’ll find it’s way back, in the right way, with the right balance.
Perhaps I should give myself a 30 Days of Grit Challenge? I wonder what that would even look like…. 30 days with no complaining? 30 days of cursing like a NY truckdriver? (that always makes me feel badass.) 30 days of working hard and sticking to my long term passions and goals?
30 Days of Grit.
Maybe I will.