Book: Reflections

Reflections - bringing attention to your daily life by Désirée Steinmann

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Reflections of the Week

Snowed under, or what happens when something changes.

2012-10-20 12:04 (comments: 0)

Last weekend we were in our mountain cottage some 1850 m above the sea level. We were having a great time when all of a sudden it started to snow, so we decided to go home one day earlier. This meant that we all had to pack, clean up and prepare the cottage for the winter as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, by the time we were finished with our packing and we got into the car, the road conditions had deteriorated so badly that we decided we couldn’t risk driving with summer tires. We had no choice but to go back to the cottage where we had to unpack and face the reality.

And this is where things get very interesting.

When it comes to dealing with changing situations there are three general types of personalities.

First, there are people who can’t deal well with new situations and their coping mechanism is to try to find somebody who is responsible and whom they can blame (hardly ever themselves!). Then there are people who will do anything to follow through with their plan (here: “we are leaving”) once the decision has been made. These people get easily frustrated because the reality is differed from their expectations.  They will repeat again and again that they aren’t supposed to be here at all and that they should be actually already on their way back home. This attitude isn’t particularly helpful or constructive. All it can achieve is to further aggravate other people involved in the situation, since they are bound to be stressed themselves as well.

And finally, there are people who try to look for solutions and to make the “Plan B”. These people don’t fight the situation but they rather try to make the best of it. What these people need to understand though, is that they have to clearly communicate with the other two types of people in order to be able to get them on board (or in our case, back into the cottage).
By communicating clearly I mean saying very clearly what is possible and what is not. In our case it meant to say: “We will not be able to leave today or tomorrow”. This can help the people with high expectations to adjust them to the new situation. All they need is an honest, clear message which will leave no room for unrealistic expectations.

The best strategy to deal with changing situations is to present the facts, inform everybody involved what can be realistically done and what cannot, and to keep everyone informed about the developments.

In our case, we had enough food, a warm cottage to stay in and a couple of wonderful, sunny winter days thrown into the bargain. We are safely back home now and we have a great story to tell!

Perhaps you can use this story to analyze how you usually handle such unexpectedly changing situations. You might also be able to see how other people usually deal with them and you might be able to help them develop better coping strategies. 

Have fun, and be flexible!



Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.


William James


Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.


King Whitney Jr.



Acceptance is not a state of passivity or inaction. I am not saying you can't change the world, right wrongs, or replace evil with good. Acceptance is, in fact, the first step to successful action. If you don't fully accept a situation precisely the way it is, you will have difficulty changing it. Moreover, if you don't fully accept the situation, you will never really know if the situation should be changed.


Peter McWilliams



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