Today I want to address the times when Life really wallops you a good one. Perhaps it isn’t one big roundhouse but rather a whole bunch of sucker punches that add up to knocking you down and out for the count.
Using an example from my own life, since mid-summer, I’ve had one blow after another in the form of friends, loved ones of friends, and friend-acquaintances passing on. It isn’t just one or two people but it numbers in the double-digits–quite frankly, I lost count. On top of that, I’ve had several personal and family emergencies to handle as well as those of very dear friends. This week I was feeling the effects of all the emotional shock and turmoil that has resulted from all of this.
At first, the strategies I talked about yesterday were valuable in helping me get back on my feet. I did things like sitting out on my deck at night and gazing at the stars, reading a mystery book, watching old TV shows on YouTube, etc.. But lately I’ve found that these activities are less and less effective. In fact, this week has been particularly difficult and these things really haven’t helped at all.
It occurred to me that I needed to allow myself the time to feel my emotions. I realized that so many traumatic events had happened one after the other that I didn’t have the chance to properly process them. I had to give myself a big chunk of time to acknowledge my emotions.
For me, this took the form of reflection and contemplation, trying to make sense of everything. I thought about how all of these changes would affect my life and what I wanted to do about it (ideally) and what was practical to do about it. Working through this involved talking to trusted family members and very close friends so I could gain perspective. This helped me see that in the midst of all the sadness and loss, there were still pockets of happiness and goodness.
Also, I allow time (several days, as a matter of fact) of feeling sad–and giving myself permission to feel the sadness. I also told myself it was okay to have days of weepiness, where even the most innocuous, random things would make me tear up!
Although it was uncomfortable allowing myself to take the time to be emotional, I knew I was safe in doing so. I trusted that, like all things, “…this, too, shall pass” as my parents would always tell us kids. I also knew that allowing myself to go through this grieving process would be cleansing and healing.
I am pleased to say that following this strategy is working. Gradually, I’m regaining my equilibrium.
If you find that your usual self-help tools are not working, it’s time to stop and allow yourself to acknowledge and feel your emotions. It’s also time to reach out to others. Talking to a trusted friend or loved one, meeting with your minister or other spiritual leader, as well as discussing your concerns with a qualified counselor are all excellent steps to take. You may want to consult with the appropriate health care professional as well.
Reaching out for help is the right thing to do.
Do you use other techniques to help yourself when Life really wallops you a good one? If so, please share them in the comments below so we can all learn something new. Thanks!
Your Friend and Pep Pal,