“La Sprezzatura” to Overcome Loss

Book of the Courtier

In  his book of The Courtier of 1528, Baldassare Castiglione gave us the concept of “sprezzatura” in describing how the Renaissance gentleman should conduct himself. The word connotes a devaluing (de-pricing) showing an effort when carrying out a skill. In otherwords,  it is gentlemanly to make the difficult look easy or make productivity look like an artful masterpiece.  All part of the classic Italian “bella figura” the importance of putting your best foot forward.  Cognitive psychology takes a slightly different perspective on the same general principle. “Automaticity” means doing a task so well that you can attend to something else at the same time. While playing a piano piece, for instance, you can hold a conversation at the same time.

When you’ve been hit by adversity or loss, think about la sprezzatura, in terms of  making positive affirmations become automatic. Our natural instinct is to panic and filter anything positive with the fears and doubts of what is to become of us now that this bad thing has happened. “What if I don’t make it”? “I will never be happy again”, etc.

What if you turn your negative automatic thinking into postive automatic thinking? YOU are the one who needs to be reassuring yourself and reminding your self of your strengths when facing crisis. Here is how:

1. Write down 3-4 affirmations that give you self confidence in hard times. “I will get through this.”  “This will pass”, “I will build a new life and it will be even better and happier”, etc.

2. Repeat  your affirmations 10 times in a row; 3 times per day, everyday of the week.

This will ensure that POSITIVE not negative thinking will become your automatic masterpiece of thought, mind, and emotion.

Remember, that adversity always opens a door to your personal evolution. By making a habit of positive affirmations, you will also build your self-confidence, at the time you need it the most.

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