Storms in life are real. Sometimes they have names--like Wilfred, Alpha and Beta. Sometimes they're personal--and hit in the forms of:
Death…of a child, partner, parent, sibling or close friend
A loved one’s suicide
Loss of fidelity
Loss of custody
Gradual loss of a loved one due to Alzheimer’s
Abuse: sexual, physical or emotional
Loss during childhood
Loss of job
Empty nest syndrome
Loss of life as you expected
Your personal storm
Each storm is as individual as you are. Some are predicted, slow to build, then last so long we give up hope that we’ll escape – or leave the house again.
Others can arise with dazzling suddenness, seemingly out of nothing, leaving devastation and destruction in their wake. The worst may have past, or there may be more to come.
In life, there are no shortage of storms. Situations that are “not fair”. Sequences of pain and loss shock us, test us, and leave us wondering how we’ll go on. Survivors have to push forward, focusing on what we can control, to arrive at a place of peace and acceptance. Where to begin?
Believe in yourself. The sun always shines after a storm. You have what it takes to find the sun.
Four steps to believing in yourself:
1. Change your focus to empower you. Think, “When I get through this…,” not “If I get through this.” Where are opportunities for growth, love, fulfillment? Only you have the power to get you where you want to be. At any given moment, you have the authority to say, “This is not how my story is going to end.”
2. Recognize your potential. Although human, full of flaws and failings, each of us has another side of our humanity: an enormous potential within that we rarely acknowledge. In a journal or on a piece of paper, answer these questions:
“What do I like about myself?”
“What am I good at?”
“What have I done that I should feel proud of?”
3. Neutralize Fear. Fear, by definition, is the expectation of pain. Some fears are instinctual, like fear of physical harm or the fear of falling. Other fears are learned: fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of consequences, fear of the future. Fear is also a natural reaction to change. One strategy for managing this fear is to take control of as many of the puzzle pieces of your life as possible. Start by naming the fear. What are you most afraid of? There is no benefit in fearing what you have no control over. If a problem is fixable—if the fear is such that you can do something to solve it, then make a plan. If not, let it go. Live in today, not borrowing fear for what might happen tomorrow.
4. Take Action. Actions reflect beliefs. By taking even the smallest steps, we communicate to our self and the world: I believe in myself and my journey. Staying passive fuels depression, while taking action raises self-esteem and generates feelings of power and hope. Be as consistent as possible. Do at least one thing every day to move through the pain. Show yourself that you believe! You are reading this book. That’s action! Take a shower. Get dressed. Go for a walk.
You will see the sun. You will survive this storm.