The other day a friend took me out for dinner and some wine. I was feeling a bit shell-shocked by a situation and he wanted to cheer me up. He asked how I was doing and I said, “Fine.” He smiled and said, “I know you’re not fine. Tell me how you’re really feeling.” I started to cry (I promise I was only on my first glass of wine!). I then told him how frustrated and disappointed I was feeling but I was just trying to ignore it and move on..
On my way home I thought of our discussion. Look, let’s be honest: s*** happens to all of us. We all go through times when we wish we could turn the clock backwards to fix a situation. But we can’t. So, we usually have two choices: lay on the floor like a puddle of water (thought about doing this!) or dealing with the situation in an adult way so we can learn from it.
1. When a bad situation occurs, don’t turn away from it and ignore it. I’m good at ignoring. This is one of my not-so-great qualities! Instead, what I really should do is try to understand what happened (if possible). This does not mean dwell on it or recount it over and over again. That behavior will only leave us with a destructive tape — and I’ve really got my fair share of those!
2. Stay quiet. I tend to deal quite easily with the big things but with little things …. those things I can’t really change, I sometimes (yea, ok — often) worry about them and I don’t find a quiet place to let them go. The truth is, the more calm and quiet we are the more likely we are to see a solution.
3. Talk to people. He reminded me that rather than going in to my cave, I really should talk with those I trust about my feelings. Sometimes others can see more clearly than we can. Shocking, right?!
4. Take a coffee break. While I did this, this time – I’m not always great at stepping away. We should always take time after the incident to think about what happened. Don’t react right away. If you can, take a break for longer than a day before a response. If not, at least go for a cup of java before you respond.
5. Let go. One of my sons is having hard time watching me let go of this situation. He thinks I should fight – why not, I’m a lawyer? I’ve tried to tell him that I’d rather spend my energy moving forward in a positive way and letting go of my anger. Difficult to understand at 14 (and at 51!). Yet, it really is the way to go.
I’ve said this before, good comes from every not-so-good situation. Thanks to my friend for the out-of-network therapy session. I owe you one!
Have a fantastic day!