Sarah Brokaw is a licensed therapist specializing in relational dynamics. She’s an accomplished photographer, author, and philanthropist skilled at helping people individually and communally. www.myfortytude.com
It means a lot to me to practice what I’ve been teaching women in their 30s and 40s – five essential values that bring fortitude when we incorporate them into our everyday lives: grace, connectedness, accomplishment without the monetary factor, adventure, and spirituality.
Each of us will have our own definition of these values. For example, when I listen to my own voice, grace is about remaining composed, but also about capitalizing on whatever strengths I have and at the same time admiring other people’s strengths.
For me, connectedness has a lot to do with the difference between paying partial attention because we’re so distracted by tweeting, texting, and emailing, and having a conversation with the person right next to us.
Many men define themselves and their accomplishments through how much money they make, forgetting they can be accomplished in other ways. For women, accomplishment often has to do with milestones: getting married by a certain time, having kids by a certain time, getting 72 hours into a 24-hour day. But accomplishment can be about other things, like gaining insight or sitting for 20 minutes without being distracted. Take a look at yourself. What accomplishments have you had since one year ago?
People equate adventure with being reckless or doing things that require a lot of money. Let’s redefine the word adventure. Let’s remove the monetary factor here, too. Adventure isn’t necessarily about being reckless, but stepping outside your comfort zone. It could be as simple as trying a new sexual position or going for lunch on the east side if you live on the west side.
Spirituality is about turning down the volume of other people’s voices and paying attention to what your own voice is saying. There was a time when I didn’t know if I had spirituality in me – then, two years ago, I started to surf. In the moment I went into the ocean and got up on the board, I had a sense of spirituality. I was so enamored with nature, with the uncertainty about each wave. All I could do was have faith.
One of the tools I use to help me incorporate these values into my life – particularly in situations when I’m vulnerable to not incorporating them – is to give myself a mantra that helps me endure the moment. We get angry. We get anxious. We can respond with stress or anxiety. Or we can choose to sit back and say, “This is another moment. This too shall pass.”
– Sarah Brokaw
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