What do you do when the things in your life that were once certain become uncertain- whether it be your health, your job, your finances, your relationships or your passions? How do you make it through?
So many times, we tell people to be patient. There are a multitude of sayings like, “this too shall pass…” and “good things come to those who wait” or “everything happens for a reason,” or “this will be a blessing in disguise” and “time heals all wounds.” Are those adages helpful or hurtful?
I can’t really answer these questions. Time definitely plays a factor in this. When you first are confronted with an unexpected change, it can be overwhelming. It can make you want to run and hide. It can make you want to fight and approach the problem head on. It can also make you shut down and freeze, in hopes that avoidance will make the issues go away. It may lead to a combination of all of those. It can cause you to question your ability to trust others, as well as trust yourself and the decisions that have led to this point. It can turn you into a mess.
What can help?
⁃ A strong support system – family, friends, teachers, therapists, etc. Find your people who will listen to you, who will let you break down & cry, and who will problem solve with you when you are ready. Find those who will distract you and make you laugh.
⁃ Self care- don’t forget to eat, drink, and sleep. Continue to do things you love to take your mind off of whatever is bogging you down.
⁃ Think of the times that you have made it through other obstacles – if you did it once, you can certainly do it again. Empower yourself through remembering your past triumphs!
⁃ Don’t dwell or obsess- carve out time to work on the issue, but don’t let it consume you.
⁃ Set a goal- try to make it “SMART” – specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time oriented. Most likely you won’t be able to fix the problem in a day, but you can chip away at it over time.
⁃ Perspective- ask yourself if this is the end of your world? Will this matter next week? Next month? Next year? In ten years? Will this be mentioned at your funeral?
⁃ Patience- We have circled back to this word again. Challenges look different when there is time, distance, and space from it. Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting up unrealistic expectations. Remember, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”