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  • Gig Harbor Living Local

What Oysters Can Teach Us About Life

Updated: May 11, 2023

No grit, no pearl! By Jennifer ‘Taz’ Vazquez

Recently, I was enjoying some scrumptious oysters in a curry broth. Unexpectedly, I encountered a granule of sand … and everything came to a screeching halt!

Instead of refocusing on savoring the flavors, I hyper-focused on the sand and negatively labeled my entire experience! Have you had a similar “all-or-nothing” reaction to a situation? I laughed at myself; yet, it also got me thinking about oysters, and what we can learn from their resilience.

Did you know an oyster coats an irritant (the sand) with thousands of layers of nacre (mother of pearl), and slowly over time, a strong, resilient and iridescent pearl begins to form? What if we treated life’s situations like an oyster does; just an irritant to calmly face and work through?

Follow these three steps to discover your pearl:

1. Find Your Grit. Grit means strength of character or perseverance forged through facing “irritants.” Start by taking a moment to visualize a situation, curiously and neutrally, as your own pearl being made. It can take the charge out of the fear or anxiety you have toward a situation. It also helps you realize you can handle it.

2. Respond vs. React. An event happens and you can choose how to respond. You choose to “coat” (acknowledge) it and mindfully observe your thoughts/feelings that come up. Instead of reacting by throwing a tantrum, disrespecting someone, or with worry (based on assumptions, unvoiced expectations, or past patterns), you respond by neutrally and curiously acknowledging the situation. This influences your perception of the outcome and future actions.

3. Face It. Build your “iridescent” resilience by neutrally facing the situation, followed by curiously asking what you can do to address/resolve it. Then take it a step further and see if you can lean into, and face, a situation with curious excitement and a “Let’s do this!” attitude.

The reality is there will always be “irritants” in our lives. Think about amazing or key events in your life. In order to experience them, you likely had some challenges to face. Doing so made the outcome more enjoyable and memorable.

These steps empower us to handle a situation or obstacle like an oyster (just a tiny “irritant”), an opportunity to learn and grow, keep a more balanced perspective, and make it easier to move forward in a productive and creative way.

What obstacles/challenges are you facing? Ready to create your pearl?

No grit, no pearl, y’all!

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