Boom it happens. A story rejection. Your boyfriend dumps you. Bad review at work. You lost your sh*t at a coworker. The exact wrong thing falls out of your mouth in front of the wrong person. You had that mother-of the-year moment. You lost the last month of your writing because you didn’t back-up your computer.
Now what? Here are ten strategies that could help.
1. Talk it out
I talk. (writing works as well)
A shit storm splatters all around me. I internalize and then I tell people. I try to make it a funny story and not a complaint. I do this with everything. I’m sure years ago, I was in that TMI-category as I worked through my issues, but the more I talk the less heat the situation gets.
I’m not saying that mid-wallow my friends are not sick of me talking (I do spread the love). But at some point something clicks in place. I successfully work ‘it’ into my mental model of who I am and how the universe works.
As soon as that clicks, it falls into my forget-about-it bucket.
2. Forget-about it
I have jokingly said that I’m very happy mostly because I can’t remember jack. Once the situation has been dealt with, it’s in the past and doesn’t matter. Yes, you learn lessons from your experiences, but that doesn’t mean you give it any more power.
Why wallow in emo over something that happened years ago? Or err… yesterday.
3. Is the problem something you can solve?
I had a very wise person tell me that problems come in two types, those you can fix and those you can’t. You can drive yourself crazy trying to fix something that can’t be fixed.
The sun is going to rise in the east. Instead of trying to stop the sun from rising, how about you get light blocking shades so it doesn’t wake you up too early?
If you can’t fix it, manage it. The whole ‘you can’t control others, but you can control yourself’ mantra kicks in. What can you do to reduce the impact of the problem person/situation?
This isn’t sticking your head in the sand and ignoring it, but based on your values, working the situation to make it the best it can be.
4. Dealing with THAT person – find something to like or respect
You know that person. They drive you bat-sh*t crazy and know how to press your buttons: anger, self loathing, and have you saddling and riding your high-horse out of the barn.
And, of course, this person is in your life in such a way that you can’t just dump them. I find something to like or respect about them. Something, anything that lets me view them as a person and not just a problem. Something that lets me add a positive spin to how I interpret their actions.
If that doesn’t work, do I need to look at something more drastic, like making some life changes so I can dump them from my life? Maybe.
5. Secrets are bad – let them out
Not social niceties, but secrets that you keep inside that make you feel bad about yourself. Every time you think about the secret, it darkens your thoughts and filters. It clouds your perception. Even though it makes no sense, it makes you think people are judging you, laughing at you.
I talk about even that stuff. I may be more selective on who hears ‘a secret’, but it gets talked about.
6. Looking ahead
Since I am a talker… If I’m about to do something and I cannot picture myself telling anyone else about it…
Girl, stop right there and DO NOT do it!
Seriously. Step away from the poodle.
7. If you did something wrong – own it
If in hindsight my choice was a bad one or I wince at the memory?
I own it. I don’t bury it and let it ferment or fester. Don’t turn it into a secret. Learn lessons and, if appropriate, apologize.
8. Keep Perspective
I recognize that no matter where I am on the spectrum of woes, there are plenty of people who have it worse. Even at my lowest low, that thought was strangely comforting.
And there has to be something that does not suck in that moment. Some small shred of something good to focus on.
9. Is there any positive spin?
Even if I can say, man that will make a great story. Or some day I will laugh my a$$ off at this. It is enough to put me in the this ‘too shall pass’ mind-set.
10. Can you laugh?
I’m an inappropriate laugher. Not sure what to do? Well, I laugh.
And not just delicate little giggles. Or a small lady-like laugh.
Oh no, I am a loud, uncontrollable, turn red, cross your legs laugher.
And damn, if it doesn’t feel good.
So what do you do to survive the day?