I went back and forth and back and forth again about just what to name this post and talk about. A series of unfortunate events took place in my life recently. Initially of course I reacted and handled them in the worst possible way. When I started transitioning into a more positive reaction I wanted to share how to act/cope with life when you don’t get what you want. But I decided to go deeper than that, because I figured if you don’t get what you want once or twice you can move on eventually. What makes it difficult to push through is when things just keep knocking you down and getting in your way. So instead I decided to focus on how to cope or what I wanted to share about coping in regards to “everything” going wrong.
1. Remember that “everything” is not going wrong: We use the terms “always”, “forever”, “everything”, “everyday” so loosely that it starts to mentally wear on us without us realizing that we are exaggerating. Focus on what is going right. Though many things may be out of our control and impacting us in a negative way, there is always a silver lining and positive aspect to life that others would be dying to have. And I don’t mean just “being alive” which is a blessing of course, but to be healthy, have a job, have a place to lay your head, food to eat,…etc these are things we often take for granted because we see them as the bare minimum or the necessities. I have a student who has battled cancer four times, and every time I see him working on an essay instead of sitting at home pitying himself… I always remind myself to be thankful for what I have even when I’m having a bad day.
2. This is a temporary discomfort: Again because of our uses of the previously mentioned terms when we are having a string of bad days or bad luck we condemn ourselves to the issue/problem forever and that just isn’t the case. Yes the pain that you are feeling is terrible, and it deserve to be acknowledged wholeheartedly but always remember to remind yourself that “this too shall pass” as cliche as that sounds it is absolutely true. There is no time limit on difficult times I know that, but in my short 26 years of life there’s nothing I haven’t survived, and my track record proves that I usually come out victoriously triumphant through adversity and so will you.
3. It will be handled: To piggy back more on the previous coping method… when you are dealing with things that are just going wrong, left and right, remember that as long as you’ve got fight left in you then you won’t give up. Long before the term became an Olivia Pope phrase “handling” your business was always a priority (I know it’s always been a priority for me). Just because you’ve got a little more to handle doesn’t mean it can’t get done. Remember you will figure out what needs to be done to get your life back on track.
4. There is always a choice: The outcomes of our lives are affected by choice. This is a topic of discussion I frequently have with my students. They argue over and over again whether it is really your fate, your chance or your choice and we always come to the conclusion that there is always a choice to be made. You don’t have to give up control or your choices because things “seem” to be out of your control. There is always something you can control in every situation even if it isn’t everything. What does that mean? Your reactions, your thoughts…etc you can control those and it is best if you always try to do so especially when the rest of the world seems to be spiraling out of control.
5. You will laugh about it in the future: Even the worst things that have happened to me have caused a chuckle here and there when I’ve thought back about the situation and how I handled it. It doesn’t mean the situation wasn’t serious, or still doesn’t affect me to this day it just means that I laugh or smile because I’ve overcome. And when I go through difficult situations in my current life I remind myself that in a few days, months, or maybe even years I will smile when I think about this difficulty because I did not let it destroy me.
6. Acceptance: Coping with negative aspects of life is very similar to coping with death. You go through stages and when you’ve reached the acceptance stage you feel better about the situation. However going through all those stages is necessary and tiring at the same time! Accepting what is happening to you doesn’t mean you’ve accepted defeat it means you are ready to grab it by the horns and tackle it. Once you’ve entered the acceptance stage you open your mind up to more choices and different means of handling the situation. It is when we remain in longer bouts of denial that we suffer the most through our negative situations.
7. Ask For Help: Probably the easiest means of coping with negative situations that we often ignore or refuse to do. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, and that is something that has taken me quite some time to learn on my own. You can’t do everything yourself and that includes dealing with hard times. Asking others for help can help relieve the stress and issues you are going through and also provide an outlet for you to share what is going wrong. Getting a second opinion or perspective on a situation can help open up the lanes to a solution or acceptance of what is going on.
8. Put Yourself First: I find that often times when everything seems to be going wrong a common factor is that I am putting everyones thoughts, needs, desires, emotions ahead of mine. That is a noble thing to do from time to time but when all the chips are stacked against you, you need to take time and make sure that you are okay. By clearing your mind and taking some time out just to do things for yourself you’ll find it easier to deal with the negative situations you are battling.
9. Express yourself: In putting yourself first finding different ways to express yourself in times of trouble can help you cope tremendously when the negatives start piling up. Having an immediate go to when ever you are stressed or having a bad day can save you alot of the trouble of going through the “stages” of anger. Whether it is drawing, writing, singing, making music…etc find something that you can physically do that helps to express what it is you’re feeling or helps calm/alleviate any negativity you may be feeling.
10. Find A Release: The last but certainly not least closely relates to step 8/9. Finding a release can sometimes be as simple as having a conversation, writing a letter/poem, screaming from the top of your lungs into an empty bag…etc. Releasing the emotions physically will help you cope mentally and emotionally overall. I enjoy running my anger away even though I am not running away from the problem theres something about my fit hitting the pavement when I’m angry that always seems to make me feel better.
I hope these 10 steps/methods help with whatever negativity you may be going through today or in the future!
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