The baby didn’t make it. He “stepped out” of the marriage again. Bankruptcy beckons. She didn’t stop at the light, and now your car is wrapped around a tree. He dumped you. The business failed. Insomnia insists itself and depression persists. Your only option meds aren’t working. Sometimes life simply sucks. And it does especially when it’s your life.
Over the long holiday weekend, I have counseled people who have encountered the above events. Nobody wants to suffer. But with the flow of life comes the ups and downs and here are five ways to build up back the breaking waves have brought you down. Way down.
1. Kick, scream, yell, break the dishes… and then ACCEPT THE CHANGE. No one in his right mind ever said change was easy. Especially if someone is changing you out for another. You may need a release so give yourself one. This may come in the physical form of running ten miles, dancing with strangers, shaking your fist at the sky or screaming into your pillow. That’s okay if you need to do it. Just do it. Then, when your adrenaline levels have dropped back down to somewhat normal levels, take a few breaths and remember you’re still here. And this new event or feeling will be a very important catalyst in your life. Just hang on for a moment.
2. BE VULNERABLE and BE MINDFUL By not running away from emotional discomfort such as feeling helpless or out of control, you are giving yourself permission to respond to whatever events or emotions you didn’t want. By acknowledging them, it will be easier to move past them down the road than by trying to stuff them.
3. REMEMBER, YOU ARE NOT ALONE Sometimes when we are at our lowest, we just want to crawl up in a hole and die. Why? Because it feels so cozier and safer than by showing off our “bad selves” to others. As humans, we were designed to be social and to evolve by growing to help the tribe. Are you missing your tribe? Then send out a signal, a text, a phone call, or a letter. Let someone know how you are feeling and if they want to help you, let them. Also if you don’t feel comfortable speaking with friends, then reach out to a counselor, a doctor or anyone to assist you. Do it. Your life is depending on you.
4. YOU CAN ADAPT AND TRANSFORM With most of life’s events you can adapt and with enough patience and hindsight, you can transform into the next level of you based on what lessons you have acquired in this process. You may walk away from this life event with more appreciation, gratitude, and patience. And if you can’t right now, it’s okay. Hold on.
5. HARNESS HOPE You may think it is overly simplistic and sappy. But the truth is that hope can be very potent, and it can go a long way. As you are transforming your new landscape of reality, entertain the concept that as the tide came down, it will go back up again. It is the flow of life. Things will get better, but you have to do the work and lean into that direction. When your breaking bad comes in, remember to be kind to yourself and to take it step by step, minute by minute, and in time with mindfulness and hope you will be able to build yourself back up to a new and transformed being. What do you need to do to build yourself up today? Now, do it. Ring-Ring. Your life is calling you. Namaste.