Avoiding the Second Arrow - May 19, 2021

In life there are many arrows that could - at any time – strike us and cause some pain – these situations represent the first arrow. Regardless of what happens we have the power to choose our response and to decide whether we accept the second arrow.

Posted
May 23, 2021
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Avoiding the Second Arrow - May 19, 2021

In life there are many arrows that could - at any time – strike us and cause some pain – these situations represent the first arrow. Regardless of what happens we have the power to choose our response and to decide whether we accept the second arrow.

Posted
May 23, 2021

People start to heal the moment they feel heard.-- Cheryl Richardson

JFS Friends – 

If you are anything like me, the recent weather has made me a little anxious. Having been through previous storms - when the weather turns ugly I find myself worrying about, “What if?”

As I was thinking about this I was reminded of a story of The Buddha who once asked a student:

“If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful?”
The student replied , “It is.”
The Buddha then asked, “If the person is struck by a second arrow, is that even more painful?”
The student replied again, “It is.”
The Buddha then explained, “In life, we cannot always control the first arrow.
However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. And with this second arrow comes the possibility of choice.”

I love this quote for its message and its simplicity – in life there are many arrows that could  - at any time – strike us and cause some pain – these situations represent the first arrow. However, regardless of what happens we have the power to choose our response and to decide whether we accept the second arrow and to allow the temporary discomfort of the first arrow to settle in and cause us suffering.

The second arrow often presents itself as negative self-talk – that voice inside our head that says things like “Here we go again – I can’t believe this is happening again.” If we take a few moments each day to replace those negative messages with more positive, hopeful and reassuring messages we can minimize our suffering.

When you see that second arrow heading your direction, remind yourself:

“I have survived crises before and if I face another crisis in the future I will be able to survive this as well”
“I have friends, relatives and colleagues who are there to support me when I need it – I am not facing this alone.”
“This situation will not last forever – we may be moving slowly but we are moving and this too will come to an end.”
“I may not be able to control everything but I can control many things and I will focus my time, attention and energy on the things I can make better.”

Remember, as we watch the weather reports and think about the coming few days, “Don’t shoot the second arrow!” – it is prudent to be prepared but it is also wise to try not to let our feelings from past events overwhelm us in the present.

I hope that as you resume the work week, that you are able to do it with strength and confidence and that you will be reassured that you are a part of a caring and committed team who are here to help.

Take care of each other,

Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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