TV Chef Hulya Erdal on “growing my resilience”
If a complete stranger asked any one of my friends or family what my key characteristic was, they’d probably all answer, resilience. It’s safe to say, I’ve had my fair share of sour lemon moments and quite a few knocks to probably last me a lifetime. If you’ve ever wondered how it is that some people just have this innate knack of constantly getting up, dusting themselves down and carrying on after some major life upheavals here are some tips that I learned along the way that I hope will help you channel your inner bitch and support you on your journey through adulthood.
Ups and Downs
In the last 18 years I’ve been married and divorced twice, had 3 kids, bought a house, sold a house and bought another house, reinvented myself, done 2 college courses, been on TV, featured in magazines, had not a penny to my name, was homeless, employed and unemployed (not necessarily in this order) and if that didn’t all sound exhausting, I also ran my own business, This is certainly not a trumpet blowing exercise but more a lesson in how to stay focused, keep calm and ultimately keep carrying on.
At almost touching point to 50 now, I’ve done a lot of self-analysis, self development, reading, yoga, meditation and arse kicking to pack out Wembley Stadium. So my first bit of advice will always be, learn from your experiences. They are what shape you, define how you choose to live your life and open your eyes to new horizons.
These experiences, no matter how big or small, are your experiences. They belong to you and they are the things that will always shape whether you choose to stay put or move on. Going through something significant in your life is an opportunity to reflect on the next chapter in your story and being able to close the chapter on what just happened. Take this knowledge, let go of the past for it has no future, live in the present and the future will always take care of itself.
Sometimes I wonder, when I’ve had something happen to me, if I’m a bit slow when the signs are glaringly obvious to everyone else but me, or whether I only thrive under the pressures of adversity? Or is it that I’m just too nice, as some friends say? Actually, it’s all of that and some.
There are many reasons why we end up in the predicaments we sometimes find ourselves, but something I learned is to make sure you always take responsibility for your role in it. I know it sounds harsh and you’re probably thinking, “but it wasn’t my fault”. Let me say this, as well as being totally against blame culture, I have to make sure that I reflect on life’s little slaps as I refer to them, and accept that I was part of that scenario. I had a role in that particular performance. Maybe I could have handled things differently, maybe it’s just something I need to accept and say thanks to, and maybe it’s just not worth getting stressed over.
I’ve never been a dweller, nor someone who mulls over things for days or months, even years on end. My advice, what’s done is done, don’t let it pollute your mind, vibe, aura or whatever you call it, accept it happened, you can’t change it and
turn the page.
Staying focused doesn’t mean you have to be blinded by what’s happening around you. Nor does it mean, sacrificing other people’s feelings in the name of your own goals.” Sometimes we can spend so much time utterly focused on attaining that career goal, that we forget to actually enjoy the here and now. I spent years busy thinking ahead, constantly planning and either working or being annoyed about not working, day dreaming even and then not really getting anywhere. All this gave me was a miserable bag of anxiety to carry around like heavy chains.
I learned a hard lesson after years wasted trying to jump too far ahead without actually focusing in measures that were realistic. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” By all means, we must all be focused and sure of what we want. However, this can change as we grow, so be open to change, enjoy time away from the future, the career and other draining activities. Get out, go for a walk, do something you enjoy that sets your mind free, spend time with the family or your friends and let go. As a mindfulness book I read once taught me, when you wash the dishes, wash the dishes.
Growing my resilience
“I wish I could be like her, him, that, them……” I’ve heard this from so many people and out of my own mouth! It’s a road to nowheresville. When you get caught in a trap analysing other peoples lives, or envying what they have, or simply wishing you could be more like blah blah because clearly that’s the way to success you will always fall flat on your face and be so caught up in that trap that you’ll never get anywhere. It’s great to have role models and people you admire so let’s not confuse the two. However, don’t live the life of someone else. Someone else’s goals are theirs, not yours. Do what’s right for you.
I’m sure I could think of a few more ways to say it, but you get the picture. Go at your pace, make your goals for you. Dream big in whatever shape that forms for you. Make it fit around your life, whether that’s caring for kids, elderly parents, or allowing time for your own special activity. And if you do want more, accept that you may have to change up your routine a little to get that. Maybe you need to wake earlier in the day to fit in time for yourself and your goal before the kids wake up. Make it happen for you and yourself, not because you think you have to be like so and so.
It’s not all sweet
Sometimes we have to chew on a few sour lemons because life isn’t perfect. Remember, if it was, it would be boring for starters. We wouldn’t have great stories to share with our friends and family.
Love the life you have, and live it to the fullest you possibly can. Try not to let things get you down. If they do, say thank you to it for teaching you something. Give it a little nod, take a deep breath, pull your shoulders back and SMILE.
You can see an interview on healthy eating after redundancy with Hulya here.
Hulya lives by the sea, in Folkestone, Kent, with her children and two cats. She is a chef, and food writer. She teaches cookery classes, runs small private events, supper clubs and lectures part-time. Hulya also coaches using food as a way to deal with stress and transform your life.