You know the feeling. You get knocked down. You cry. You feel the pain. You wallow. You get angry. You plot your revenge. You cry some more. You feel a bit better. You brush yourself down and off you go again. Until the next time.
That might sound like a rather simplistic, albeit, ideal way to get through a crisis, but the truth is, that while we may visit each stage of this description, there is no knowing just how long we will stay in each one. That’s the tricky bit.
And yet the real challenge is that when we emerge from it, we can’t even be sure what it has left us with.
- Are we richer or poorer for it having happened?
- Have we learned anything about others or more importantly have we learned anything about ourselves?
- If we are being honest with ourselves, are we more likely to say it happened to us than believing it happened for us?
Let’s not get carried away though, picking ourselves up from off the floor rarely has anything to do with the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in. It has a lot more to do with accepting the reality of just what’s happening in our lives and seeing ourselves, not just as passive victims, but as functional active agents that have choices on what we do next. We alone possess the power to take responsibility for turning it all around again, when we feel ready and able.
We all know that life has the potential to unexpectedly pull the rug from underneath us. Life can be hard for so many. That’s a fact. We also know that no matter how bad we’re feeling, that someone out there is feeling worse and it’s that sense of perspective that we don’t ever want to lose, no matter how bad things get for us.
Life can be special, joyful and beautiful, but it can also be cruel, punishing and unfair.
We can never know which one is heading towards us and, honestly, it’s better that we don’t. In my own life, I’ve experienced a lot of loss. I’ve lost some of the most important and significant people in my life.
But, know this, because I do, I am not unique.
The only thing that makes my story a little unusual is that it all happened during a short period of time. Every single person reading these words, will at some stage, in their long life, know loss. That’s guaranteed, it is up there with death and taxes. Bad things happen to good people. But they will happen and each of us will experience loss, disappointment, adversity and hurt. It’s part of life and it most definitely is a part of living.
So, that being said, what is it that makes the difference between someone who barely survives these challenges in life, and someone who meets these challenges head-on and proceeds to thrive and bloom? And what could you do to help you navigate your way through your next crisis?
Consider that this may have happened for you
You need to stop taking it so damned personally when awful things occur. Instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me?” could you ask if it’s possible that you might have contributed to this difficulty. Investigate what you have learned from this experience and decide what you can do to avoid a recurrence. Live and learn. That’s how you grow and become empowered.
Stop blaming other people
Let’s be truthful, how many times have you heard yourself say, or think this, “Who did this to me?”
Why do you ask this question of yourself – well, because it makes it a lot more palatable if you believe that someone else is responsible for your suffering. Yet, whatever your circumstances, the more responsibility you can take for your own challenges, the more likely it is that you can get your head around them and then proceed to determine what needs to be put in place so that you can avoid it happening again.
Accept and let go
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but in life, there will be things you want that you won’t get, and things you don’t want that will happen anyway. You need to let go of how you imagine things would be, and learn to better accept the way they are now. And please note, that this isn’t about lowering your expectations but managing the ones you have!
Do your best
What appears to be a simple phrase but one that brings with it a lifetime of torment. In reality, you can only ever do your best; in much the same way as everyone you meet in your life can only do theirs. You’ve become so used to asking, and expecting, to have your desires met that you can quickly overlook the idea that very often people really are just doing their best. When you start to accept this, you begin to really step into your own personal space of power in how you live your life and what you expect from others.
Ask for help
Tell me this, who told you that you are expected to go through life solving all your problems on your own? None of us were ever meant to do this business of life alone. The ultimate way to show the world just how strong you are is feeling able to reach out and ask for help. That’s you courageously acknowledging that you need something outside of yourself, to help you identify what you can add to it from the inside.
Introducing a daily practice, such as journaling, will really help you to reconnect with yourself. I’m a big fan of the benefits journaling provides. It allows you to organise your thoughts, reduces your overwhelm and connects with that part of you that feels and emotes. Meditation, breathwork, music, nature and visualisation all have similar advantages and are worthy of further exploration.
Finally, I know, that following any kind of personal crisis, the question we are all left with is this “Am I still me?” Sadly, the answer most likely is that you’re not. But that doesn’t mean that what’s left behind has to be a lesser version of what was there before.
You are just different. You are changed.
What has happened has changed you. But that’s what growing and evolving look like. In fact, that’s exactly what living the life you deserve looks like too!
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach and Author. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear but always what you need. If you want to explore Journaling, Niamh has created this FREE pdf to get you started www.niamhennis.com/journaling. Niamh has just launched THE CHANGE ACCELERATOR her Self-Study Online Programme for those looking to make Changes. Find her on Instagram @1niamhennis