“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown
Do you ever feel that you just can’t catch a break? When it seems that one bad thing after another happens to you? Or just when you think you’re getting your head above water, another wave of bad stuff washes over you and spoils your happiness?
Obviously, if you’ve experienced infidelity in your life you’ve experienced one of the worst things possible, but today we’re talking more about the everyday obstacles in life that seem to wear you down. (Though I hope that what I share can be applied to affair recovery as well.)
Linda and I were having a discussion the other day – after a series of setbacks – and we were lamenting that it seems that sometimes God, Karma or some other unknown force is punishing us. You see, we go through these brief periods where everything is going great, things are positive and all is good in all areas of our life and then shit starts to happen that knocks us back down a few pegs.
In our situation…
For the last month, things have been great in all areas of our lives: our relationship has been awesome, our kids are doing great, my businesses are doing well, we had a great vacation, etc. Then, within the last two weeks we’ve lost our dog, we have two cars that need expensive repairs, my business partner wants to quit, our water heater died, both our daughters need their wisdom teeth out, oh… and we have a leak in our roof.
Granted these aren’t too horrible by any means (except for our dog of course) in comparison to several other occurrences we’ve experienced over the years – financial problems, miscarriages, problem pregnancies, accidents, job loss, etc., but they tend to wear on you and get you down nonetheless.
Interestingly, while I felt bummed, I wasn’t hung up or stressed out about our most recent rash of bad luck. Linda tends to take things a little harder and worries more, but she seemed to let most of these things slide as well.
I think that having experienced some far worse things in our lives has helped us to cope better with all these frustrating obstacles that life seems to throw at us on a regular basis.
Our Negative Coping Behaviors
Whenever something bad happens to us, it’s easy for us to slip into one (or more)of the following behaviors:
- We play the victim. We ask ourselves “Why is this happening to me? Why am I so unlucky? Why doesn’t this happen to anyone else? It’s not fair!”
- We get angry. We lash back at the situation, or even people around us, for what’s happening.
- We blame ourselves for what has happened. We make self-depreciating comments like “Why am I so stupid to have done that?” “Only someone like me can make such a dumb mistake.”
- We slip into depression. For those of you who have faced cases of depression before, you might fall back if you’re not careful at managing your emotions.
- We get dejected and feel like giving up. We lose hope and decide it’s not worth it, that life is out to get us, and we should just stop trying altogether. We simply give up.
The thing is, as long as all of us are alive, we will be subjected to chaos, the ups and downs, the good and bad, the positives and the negatives of life. We are not the only people facing this. In fact, many people face far worse things in life.
What sets us apart from others though, is how we choose to deal with these tough situations.
Coping with Obstacles in Life
Celestine Chua, founder of the Personal Excellence website offers 9 steps to cope with bad situations and obstacles in life and create something good out of them:
1. Release your frustrations. Don’t bottle them out because you might just implode. Talk to a friend about it. A listening ear does wonders. Go exercise and release the tension. Journal it out.
2. Realize you are not alone. No matter what you may think, you’re not alone in this. Somewhere around the world, someone else is thinking the exact same thing as you. Someone out there is feeling down and out too, wondering why she is experiencing this. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.
3. Being frustrated isn’t going to solve anything. The problem will still remain whether you go berserk at it or whether you think about it calmly. The former will create more problems as your agitation prevents you from making good decisions.
4. 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.
5. Objectify it. An incident is an incident; we’re responsible for the feelings attached. Remove the feelings and look at the situation objectify. This will help us cope a lot better.
6. 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.
7. Ask for help if you need to. It’s okay to ask for help if it makes the situation easier. Remember, you are not alone in this.
8. See it as an obstacle to be overcome. Life is a journey of learning and growth, and everything happens for a reason. Obstacles are the things stopping you from getting your goals, and if you keep overcoming these obstacles, you’ll eventually get what you want.
9. Identify the lesson learned. There are always things to be learned from every situation.
Regardless of what life throws our way – the death of a dog, a leaky roof or loss of a job – as long as we cope with it positively and constructively, it will be tough for anything to drag us down.
So how do you cope with negative situations? What has been useful for you? Feel free to share with everyone in the comments section below.