We all want to know how to deal with the things we hope will never happen to us – like losing a job, facing a serious healthy crisis, or dealing with the end of a relationship. Or perhaps it’s depression that never seems to go away or anxiety that comes out of the blue. We wish they would just go away, but of course, life has different plans. We have two options: we can let our circumstances crush us, or we can transcend them. If you opt for the second choice, here are three things you need to know.
You’re not as alone as you think. When you’re knocked down and feel you can’t get up, look around and see the love that surrounds you. You have people who care about you and want to be there for you. Now is the time to let them in and draw on their strength, love, and courage. You might feel like toughing it out – don’t. Instead, take a deep breath and be strong enough to embrace the help that is there. Never let a day go by that you don’t express your gratitude for those important to you – one day, you may really need them.
What’s happening isn’t as bad as you think. I’m not saying it’s not challenging, I’m saying that we have a tendency to make what is difficult doubly-difficult. Albert Ellis, the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, often said that in the middle of difficulties, we engage in what he called “Catastrophizing” or “Awfulizing” a bad situation or event. At the risk of sounding insensitive, sometimes we need to be reminded that we’re not the first person to go through what we’re experiencing. Acknowleding that doesn’t take our problems away – but it does give us the perspective we need to transcend them. We can look at those who have risen above the situation and say, “This is bad, but if they got through this, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought.”
You’re stronger than you think. In my former work as a psychotherapist, I have worked with clients going through the worst of life – things I won’t mention here. What I discovered is that we are more powerful and capable than we imagine – and often, we don’t know that until we have to. One of my favorite quotes is from the French Nobel Prize winner, journalist, and philosopher, Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter, I finally realized there was in me an invincible summer.” I have found that to be true in my own life, and I bet you can relate. We are more than we think, stronger than we realize, and we’re more powerful than we can imagine. Not some of us, but all of us.
–Alan Allard, Career Coach