Friday, November 20, 2009

Getting Through Hard Stuff - A Little Perspective

I have a dear friend who has stuff going on in her life.  This stuff isn't fun, this stuff isn't exciting.  This stuff is hard.  This stuff is miserable and this stuff has no end in sight.  Ick, ick and double ick!

I was talking with her a few days ago and we spent the time having a good laugh.  While the things going on around her are nuts we found numerous reasons to laugh until tears came to our eyes.  We giggled and chortled.  We he-hawed and guff-awed.  We poked fun and mocked.  It was great.

When we took a breath from our jovial expression of craziness she told me something I needed to hear.  She said when she was at her lowest a friend had said to her, "Well, at the end of the day, they can't eat you."  How right she is.  They may try and gnaw at your leg, but they can't eat you.

I think back to the times in my life when someone seemed out to get me.  Nothing I did was good enough, nothing I said was right and no where I went got me ahead.  I think Anne of Green Gables referred to that as "the depths of despair."  It wasn't my favorite place to be.  It still isn't.

So what do we do when we get to that spot in our lives?  No one enjoys it, but my friend is able to laugh.  How come?  I don't remember laughing too much, unless you count that hysterical cackling sound I made after loosing my marbles.

I would suggest a few things now that I have a little hindsight.  

First, know they can't eat you.  Yes, it's true.  You will come out on the other end in the same number of pieces you started.

Second, know it will pass.  Are you still upset with the girl who didn't play with you in second grade, or the boy who didn't share his toy at recess?

Third, don't become part of the problem.  It is tempting, oh so very tempting, to get down in the mud and wrestle.  The desire to give back what you are getting can me overwhelming.  Just don't.

Fourth, find a good support network.  Identify friends, family or coworkers who are safe and able to prop you up.  You won't need them forever, but use them while you can't stand on your own.

Fifth, get on with your life.  Do not wallow or dwell. (I add this to the list because I am particularly bad at it.)

And last, but not least, learn from it.  There is a lesson in every trial.  The lesson may be simple, like don't stand in front of a moving train...or it may be a little deeper.  For me, knowing I am a different and stronger person who learned an important lesson makes surviving the incident all the sweeter.

So buck up, start laughing and make it through, because in the end, they can't eat you!

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