|This is a wall in my Art Therapy Studio that I use to work with clients to explore feelings.|
We all meet failure at some time in our lives; accepting failure is often very difficult. More challenging is trying to rebound from failure. How do we learn from the experience and get the courage and strength to try again? First, we have to come to terms with the fact that we failed, process the emotions, and resolve the loss. While we are busy healing the loss, we need to somehow keep the passion alive for the project or idea. A part of us needs to stay engaged and confident that the first try did not work, but that does not mean that the book will not be published or the idea will not be accepted. We need to hold both; the ability to process and be with the part of us that is suffering due to the loss or rejection and then also be with and believe in the part of us that does not want to let go of the project or idea and knows that it can be realized. We have to become rebounders. Rebounders can hold onto themselves while making changes.
This can happen by:
1. Maintaining a clear sense of who you are when you interact with others. Knowing what you value and believe, and not defending a false or inaccurate self-picture.
2. Maintaining a sense of perspective about your anxieties and limitations so that they neither drive nor immobilize you.
3. Practicing the willingness to engage in self-dialogue that is necessary for your growth. This includes being with your fears and anxieties.
4. Acknowledging the parts of you that engage in projections and distortions.
5. Tolerating the pain involved in growing; mobilizing yourself toward the growth you value and aspire to; soothing your own hurts when necessary, supporting rather than berating yourself.
Rebounders stay close to their dream, even when their dream meets with rejection.
Rebounders also can regroup quickly. They can rethink, reframe, and revise their project to be accepted. They know that there are many ways to get to the end goal and they learn to tolerate chaos, discomfort and not knowing. By being fluid, flexible and open they learn how to navigate.
Rebounders also have a flexible timetable of when and how their project will be accepted. They know that waiting patiently is part of the game. This builds resilience and confidence and helps draw them towards the success that they are seeking.
Art Therapy Exercise for Rebounding
First, take some time to gather your favourite art supplies. Then get comfortable, feeling grounded in your chair and noticing your feet and legs. Take a minute to notice your feet. Take some time to relax your feet and let them make contact with the floor. Press your heels into the floor, then the toes. Gently press both sides of your feet into the floor. Now rock back and forth on your toes to your heels. Notice if you sense any colour in your feet. Now shift your attention to the chair under your legs and buttocks and adjust yourself to get even more comfortable in your chair. Take a deep breath into your stomach. How is your stomach? Do you sense any emotion there? Bring awareness to your back. What are you noticing there? Is your back tense or feeling relaxed? Now move to your chest. Can you breath freely? Is your chest open or closed? Notice if your chest is constricted, expanded, or in some other state. Now move your awareness to your hands and arms. Notice if there is any tension and gently release it. Take time to sense into your hands, stretching the fingers. If your hands could be anywhere in nature, where would they want to be? What would they be touching? Now, bring awareness to your neck, your head. Release any tension in your jaw and neck area. Now gently turn inward, sensing into your inner throat, your chest, and then resting in the belly area. As you stay present and aware of yourself sitting in the chair, give yourself a gentle invitation to notice where you sense the part of you that is experiencing strong emotions about the loss. Is there a part of you that responds? As you stay with this part, note what is of concern there. Then gently shift to spend some time listening to the part of you that is still engaged or excited about the project or idea. Take some time to hear from its point of view how it is feeling. If possible, make room to be with both parts of you, the grieving part and the passionate part. When you are ready, gently bring this self focusing session to an end. Now, on the paper show how both parts were revealed to you. You may represent them symbolically, through colour or image. Note the weight, shape and texture of these parts. Note where in your body you are sensing them as you represent them on paper. Are they still communicating to you? To end this exercise ask yourself what one thing you could do today to move forward?