Life has a way of kicking butt when you least expect it. Not that you can predict these things, but when it comes at you hard and fast it can leave you feeling helpless and insecure and maybe even angry. But it also teaches life lessons you can’t get any other way.
I’m feeling a bit introspective these days because the past few months have been hard for me. Lots of crap went down that had to be dealt with, and I gotta tell you it was a rough patch. It’s not over yet, there are still some remaining life tests hanging out there, but it occurred to me when I went for a run yesterday that those tough months could have been tougher if it weren’t for a few important things that got me through it.
Here are the lessons I learned when life was kicking my butt:
- Seek out the one friend you know will listen to you. And I mean just listen without giving advice. There’s something soothing to the soul when you can let it all out, cry or yell, or just sit in silence without getting feedback in return. Sometimes just having a sympathetic ear can help lighten the load. And knowing that special friend is always there for you, any time of day, can be uber-grounding.
- Meditate. I know I’ve said this before but meditation really does make a difference. There were times when I meditated and my mind raced all over the place anyway, but coming back to my center — even just knowing my center was there even if I couldn’t completely calm it — helped soothe my rattled nerves and give me a little more focus.
- Read. Or write. Or run. Or do yoga. Or go to the gym. Or…something. I discovered if I did something that used my brain and/or my body, I was able to focus on something other than my troubles. For me, running and yoga occupied my mind and my heart, just enough to ease my worried brain for a short while. It was also a great way to burn off calories along with the stress.
- Don’t feel the need to ask forgiveness for feeling crappy. Some people really aren’t built for empathy or sympathy, and will take your crappy feelings as something personal against them even though they’re not. We’re all entitled to bad days or, as was the case with me, bad months. This is life. It’s not necessary for you to apologize for your bad times — as long as you’re not being mean to the people around you when you’re going through them.
- Be selfish and give yourself time to heal. Because you will. You just need to allow it to happen, and the only way it will happen is if you adopt a healthy attitude of selfishness — the time and the space you need to regroup, find your center, and heal.
- Understand that you can’t control everything. Life will be life and you can’t control what it throws at you. But you can control how you react. Focus on what you can do for yourself, what you can change in your heart and soul and mind, and try to let everything else go. It won’t make the tough situation disappear, but it sure as heck will help keep things in perspective.
Well, that’s it. My tough times aren’t quite over yet, but I’m going to keep these points handy so I have a reminder of what I’ve learned so far, and what I’ve still yet to learn. Who knows…maybe I’ll have more experience to share with you down the road. 🙂
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