Sometimes life hits us between the eyes and delivers an unexpected turn of events. The shock and resultant impact can make us question why it's happened. Have we been bad, is it karma, do we deserve this? The answer is often a resounding 'no'. It is what it is, nothing more or less than that. But, nonetheless, we have to deal with it and recover.
When our world comes crashing down others may not appreciate the magnitude of what we're going through or how what's happened has affected us. Consequently comments that are dismissive, superficial, maybe even offensive can come our way whilst we're struggling simply to get out of bed.
Even friends and family may not appreciate the distress we're going through, how those things are so devastating for us. When we miss out on being pregnant for another month and hear a cheery, 'you're young, you've plenty of time, there's always next month!' Or when they're blase about our beloved cat failing to return home and we hear comments like, 'you'll get another, it's only an animal', demonstrating no understanding of how much our beloved pet means, how they're such an important part of the family. Or even comments like, 'there are plenty more fish in the sea' when our latest relationship ends.
We can feel overwhelmed when we've invested so much of ourselves into something that fails to materialise or come to fruition. Grief and loss are often experienced at these difficult times in life. Even when we've had time to prepare ourselves for what's to come it can still be an earth-shattering loss. We may manage to maintain a stoic exterior, appear calm, unfazed and resilient, but inside or when we're on our own it's often a different story. Our world has come crashing down taking our future plans, hopes and dreams with it.
How can we cope when our world has come crashing down and we're experiencing such a sense of loss?
- Keep your own counsel. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Your feelings, challenges and situation is very different to theirs. Accept that others may not be as empathic or supportive as you'd like them to be, possibly through no fault of their own. It can be disappointing, tough to tolerate, but there's little we can do when they simply don't understand.
- Choose who you share your story with. Be cautious at randomly exposing too much of yourself and your feelings at such a vulnerable time. It's easy to absorb much of other people's comments, advice and input, but question, would they really do what they so freely advise you to do if they were in your shoes!
- Listening to others can bring its own stress, prompting us to make inappropriate decisions and choices. When they're being so 'supportive' we may feel it's good manners to listen and follow their advice. We may even regard them as an expert, feel compelled to trust their judgement, defer to their wisdom, be swayed to go along with the most persuasive argument or most popular point of view. Listening to others can provide insights and information, help us move our thoughts along, but at the end of the day it's your life. They're not as invested in the outcome as you are.
- Check your perspective, how are you feeling? Some days are more positive than others, those others we take everything personally. When you're aware of how much you can influence each situation you can be more in control of your responses.
- Consider therapy if you suspect you have long-standing unresolved issues. Getting help is a positive way to learn from what's happened, enabling you to pick yourself up and then move forward. And working with a neutral professional who's skilled at providing the right kind of support can be an important way of helping you turn the situation around.
- Acknowledge that loss and endings bring different stages of grief. You may well go through them all, some more than once. The stages can include denial, anger, depression, bargaining/negotiation until there comes an acceptance of where you're at. All can take time, with no limit on each individual case.
- There are many kinds of outside help if you're not looking for one-to-one therapy. Online forums and discussion groups can connect you with people with similar stories where you're able to share hints, tips or sometimes simply tears and company. Knowing you're not on your own can in itself provide reassurance and comfort.
- Take the focus away from yourself. Volunteer, share the lessons learned, your insights and sensitivity by giving time and being supportive of others. When you help others it often helps you too. You'll find some people will have had tough, fraught experiences, others may need to know there's company and support available. Get involved and recognise your own growth, strength and resilience.
Above all, appreciate that things take their own time but resolution will eventually come to pass.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net