You can see it clearly. You know exactly what your ideal life looks like–what you’d do, how you’d live, and how you’d feel if you were just able to live exactly how you wanted. But time, life, circumstances, or finances are in the way and you just can’t make it to the life you so desperately crave.
For most of my life I’ve always held back. I’ve always been very measured, even-tempered, mild-mannered, quiet, and lived in my head. I guess that’s why I’m a writer. You know the phrase “still waters run deep”? That sums me up.
Despite my outward, reserved demeanor, my mind is always moving—racing, even–as I think about the life that I want.
As I mentioned before, I have an issue sharing my truth. While I think everyone should keep a bit of their business to themselves, my “truth” (read: most everything about my life) typically stays with me. I don’t talk about it, I don’t share it, I don’t allow people to give me their opinion on it. Nada. Why? I don’t want to hear people’s judgments, pity, and most of the time, their point of view. It sounds harsh, but underneath it all, I like to project an air of calmness, of togetherness, and front like I have it all under control. I like to appear perfect.
But perfection is incredibly oppressive (peace to Anne Lamott), and the more you strive to be perfect the more trapped you’ll be by the illusion you’ve created for yourself. I learned the hard way, but slowly (veeeerrry slowly) I’m letting go.
Last night, I watched Oprah and Bishop T.D. Jakes talk about living with purpose, and one of the things Oprah said that resonated with me was, “Even if you’re in the middle of disaster, you can use that disaster for direction.”
That really struck me because I’ve had my fair share of disasters. Getting fired from my first “real” job; finding out I was pregnant while unemployed and in an unstable relationship; raising my kid alone…all very big disasters. But instead of being crushed by them, I was able to respond to each of them in a way that didn’t break me, but rather made me stronger and more resilient.
What I’ve learned throughout the years is that how we respond to life’s disasters is vital because it sets up our next big thing.
Typically people respond to a crisis in a few ways:
1) Go into paralysis & become completely stuck.
2) Go into problem solving mode & look for a solution.
3) Choose not to deal with it and move onto something else entirely.
4) Distract themselves with vices (drinking, sex, gambling, food, escapism, etc.).
Personally, I’ve done them all (no sex, though…sadly lol). But while I may have wallowed in feeling stuck or decided not even to deal with a crisis, at the end of the day, I have been forced to deal with things head one. While I’m not superwoman and haven’t conquered EVERY challenge (I’m still working on a few), there is something very powerful about finding solutions and knowing you can change things.
How we deal with life’s adversities can either be our undoing or our catalyst to something greater.
Which do you choose?