Learning to Roll with the Punches

Have you ever experienced times when you go through just one bad thing after another? When things go wrong no matter what you do? Sure you have because it happens to everyone.  You are not alone, and that’s why I am writing about this because I just went through it.

I experienced a few small setbacks recently which I want to share with you today on the Celtic Fire Festival called Imbolc while having a Full Moon in Leo, my birth sign. Imbolc is a celebration of the passing of Winter where we make way for Spring, so let me contribute to this transition with some attitude tweaks that can help you cope next time stuff hits the fan in your life.

There are many possible negative things that can happen to us in a day—from the little things like coffee spilling, losing our keys, having people criticize you, to the bigger mishaps like getting into a car accident, losing our valuables, breaking up from relationships, or losing our jobs. Here is my story; since my last blog post I lost my wallet with quite some cash in it, my phone decided to suddenly end my communication possibilities, my computer crashed while I was working on a new assignment and I have had two different flu viruses attacking me, I couldn’t believe what was happening. At first interestingly, while I felt bummed, I wasn’t hung up about losing money or not having a phone. It was only after realizing that I wasn’t able to work properly and losing quite a lot of artwork, I started to feel frustrated. But there were thoughts of “Aw shucks, I should have backed it up” and “How did this even happen?”. While a good chunk of work was gone, I was focused on how I could get back on track, since lamenting what happened wouldn’t accomplish anything. But when I got physically ill, I felt ‘’it’’ was hitting me pretty hard.

Most of us don’t go around inviting unwanted trials into our lives. Still, from time to time we do need to cope with them. When we find ourselves in that kind of situation, our attitude will definitely influence how we view the experience. Having the right attitude increases our ability to cope and our emotional resourcefulness. Whenever something bad happens to us, it’s easy for us to slip into one of the following behaviors:

  • Self-victimization. We ask ourselves “Why is this happening to me?.
  • Reacting in anger. We lash back at the situation, or even people around us, for what’s happening.
  • Self-blame. We make self-deprecating comments like “Why am I so stupid to have done that?”.
  • Slipping into depression. For those of us who have faced cases of depression before, we might fall back if we’re not careful at managing our emotions.
  • Giving up, we lose hope, we decide it’s not worth it.

The thing is, as long as you live in this world, you are subjected to the same chaos, the ups and downs, the good and bad, the positives and the negatives of life. You are not the only person facing this. What sets you apart from others though, is how you choose to deal with this situation.

dakota-corbin-211682-unsplash.jpgHere are my personal steps to cope with bad situations and create something good out of them:

Detach yourself emotionally. Most of the emotions that grow out of negative situations are negative. When you refuse to be engaged emotionally, the situation becomes emotionally neutral. That means that you can cope with it rationally instead of reacting to it emotionally. This also changes how the experience is recorded in your memory and nervous system.

Forget about asking why. You can ask why later, for now, focus on asking, “What’s the best way to cope with this challenge?” Your mind loves to solve problems. By asking “what’s the best way to cope” you are telling your mind that there is a workable solution to be found. It will immediately go to work looking for the very best solution. This keeps your focus on creating a positive outcome.

Focus on what you can do. Action creates empowerment. It brings possibilities. It creates results. By taking action, you are no longer a passive recipient. You are a conscious creator.

Know you always have a choice. Realize no matter what happens, you always have a choice in how you react. While you may not be able to control what happens to you, you can most certainly control your behaviors. You can face the worst things in the world, but if you make the choice not to let yourself be affected by them, you won’t be.

Look for the value. There is almost always some value in challenging situations. The more we train ourselves to see the value in every experience, the more resourceful we will be when those experiences are challenging and unexpected. The truth is that we grow from facing challenges more than we would without them. I know, sometimes there are growing pains involved, but that’s just tuition in the school of life.

Life is a journey of learning and growth. Everything happens for a reason. Obstacles are the things trying to stop you from getting your goals, and if you keep overcoming these obstacles, you’ll eventually get what you want.

Ask for help. We can’t always get ourselves out of a mess. Don’t be afraid to ask those who are more knowledgeable for help or direction. Most of the time they are glad to help or at least point you in the right direction.  Don’t bottle them out because you might just implode. Talk to a friend about it. A listening ear does wonders.

Remember, it’s temporary. One way or another, you will get through it. Every situation has a conclusion. Even if it’s not the conclusion you wanted, at least it will be over and you can start from there. If you have to rebuild some aspect of your life, you will probably do it better and faster than you did the last time.

As long as you’re at it, upgrade. If something in your life falls apart, turn it to your advantage. One way to do this is by using your energy to upgrade rather than repair. Granted, this isn’t always feasible, but when it is, it provides you with the opportunity to turn a setback into progress.

Laugh your way through it. Sometimes things get so ridiculous that it’s almost laughable. When that happens, go ahead and laugh. When you laugh at a stressful situation it provides a healthy outlet for your emotions.

Don’t take it personally. At times it can feel like you have been singled out to receive more than your share of hardships. Everybody faces more than enough challenges. The universe has not conspired against you. Taking things personally just leads to excuses and blame and a whole host of other worthless thoughts and emotions. Don’t even go there, just learn to cope with it and move on.

Identify the lesson learned and roll with the punches. There are always things to be learned from every situation. For me, one thing I learned is to rigorously back-up everything I’m doing now.

I wish I could say that at some point in your personal development bad things will never happen again. That would be nice for all of us, but let’s keep it real. How you cope with the challenges you face says a lot about your emotional maturity and true nature. No matter what bad stuff life throws your way, as long as you cope with it constructively, and having a positive perspective in this area will go a long way toward improving the quality of this journey we call life.



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