Have you ever faced the situation where a crisis hit you out of the blue? Silly question, right? As I literally don’t know anybody who did not, at some point in their lives.
This could be the loss of a job, your partner telling you that they want to leave, a diagnosis from your doctor which turns your world upside down.
That’s the kind of crises I’m talking about.
Often the first reaction is pain, panic, shame, fear…..or we’re utterly and completely paralysed, our brains literally not functioning anymore. Maybe accompanied by crying, shouting or acting out.
We might feel victimized on top of all those difficult emotions. Why does that happen to me? Why do I have to suffer through this?
Typical (yet rather destructive) questions to ask ourselves – let me come back to that in a minute.
Maybe we’re even looking for someone to blame for the situation.
When the first rage or pain settles – and we seem to get “a handle” on our emotions (often meaning we’re suppressing them or shifting them to the side, rather than dealing with them), the second reaction most of the time is that we’re jumping into DOING.
Searching the internet for possible therapies or talking to friends about it. Getting a second or third opinion.
Reading all relationship advice we can get our hands on or desperately looking into what we can DO to get things right.
Talking to HR and frantically contacting headhunters or looking through job ads.
None of the above is wrong per se.
And it might even lead to the one or the other result.
I’m going to challenge you here though.
Because I used to do the same and I realized that it does not work SUSTAINABLY. As I left the most important step out in the process of dealing with what I considered crisis in my life: losing a job and getting divorced at the same time. The one or other bomb dropped on me in a relationship I had.
Doing, getting into action makes us feel good. And that is fine. After all our objective is to get out of feeling shitty or horrible, right?
I took me a long time – in fact I only discovered that in the last few years – that EVERY situation in our life has the tendency of showing us something about ourselves, basically serving as a mirror.
To make that very clear: I’m not saying that whatever crisis you’re in is your fault. Or that you’re to blame. That would be counterproductive for moving forward and growing.
What I’m saying though is that whatever happens in our life, has the tendency of showing us deeply seated fears or (non-serving) beliefs – often on a completely subconscious level. So, you might say now: How the heck would I know what is going on in my subconscious – it’s called like that for a reason!
And yes, you’re right, you don’t know. Only when being faced with the discomfort, the pain or hurt or shame of a crisis, we have a chance to look behind our own scenes.
In short: it gives us the chance to shift some deep stuff in ourselves, if we are prepared to do so, that is.
Really? Am I now possibly telling you to even be grateful for the shit happening in my life?
Because it’s always a unique possibility to grow. With the chance to never ever having to go through the same stuff again (or definitely not on this level). Some of you might know what I’m referring to – this moving in circles in life, where we have a tendency of facing the same stuff again and again….and life will continue throwing it at us until we’ve understood.
The alternative would be to see it as a total catastrophe, to feel hard done by and to fight.
When I heard that for the first time I was outraged. Grateful? Really? F*** that – so my reaction. Until I dared being it. Grateful. Well, at least a bit. And then things started shifting.
So, if you believe I’ve lost it now, do yourself a favour and bear with me.
Where was I?
Ah, the most important step:
Take a good look at yourself. An honest one. And then give yourself time to feel, ponder, asking yourself what the hell this could tell you now. ABOUT YOURSELF. Not your boss, your partner or the injustice of the world.
Whatever it might be – this is your chance of finding it. And then listen to yourself ….if you’re prepared to hear the answer.
So, rather than jumping into action right away, hit the brakes for a moment and make sure that you build in time for yourself instead of just reacting to the situation.
That you allow yourself to BE and FEEL, as this will give you the best chance of dealing with what you can shift or change with YOURSELF.
Because this is when the magic happens….you shift and the world around you starts shifting too. Maybe not immediately, it can though. I’ve experienced it.
I also know that this can be hard. To stay with yourself instead of focusing on what you could do, the situation, the other person involved. And to a degree this can work in parallel. Just make sure that the weight does not shift too far away from yourself.
This is not selfish. It is the ONLY way of real progress.
We will find another job, our bodies might heal, we might find a solution for the relationship issue. Until the next disaster hits if we have not “tidied” up the underlying cause on our side. Been there, done that. The signs we get thrown in our way will get bigger and bigger until we pay attention.
Some of us do – some don’t.
It is not a waste of time
…that we could spend on resolving the issue as time’s precious.
YES, time IS precious, hence let’s go to the root and get rid of those fears or beliefs we’ve most likely carried around with us for years, sometimes decades. This is the most loving thing you can do for yourself AND the crisis – and you’re worth every minute of doing so. Consider it rather an investment than a waste if that’s a terminology you like. In fact - when you do – all other things will have a chance to fall into its place much quicker.
By the way I’m not advocating for digging into a lot of shit that we might have experienced in our life. This is probably the reason why so many therapies don’t really work (believe me, I had enough clients coming to me telling me exactly that). I mean, who wants to relive all the crap again and again?
It is far more about creating AWARENESS of what is blocking us, without going over old pain or hurt repeatedly (unless you never looked at it before, that is a topic for another blog though).
So that you have a chance to see it, accept it and then change it.
When we keep fighting our fears or even the situation we might find ourselves in – it will persist instead of shifting.
Coming back to the destructive questions from the beginning. Don’t ask: “Why does that happen to me?”, because our brains will obediently come back with all the answers that get or keep us stuck….because I’ve done a lousy job…because I’m not a good husband/wife…or whatever it is, we can beat ourselves up with.
Instead ask: “What does that situation/crisis tell me about myself and what I could shift or change?”. This opens opportunities and you’re far more likely to get an answer that helps you progress.
I know this can be tough when you have the urge to get out of the crisis quickly, as it feels so shitty. And it’s easy to forget about the most important part – which is YOU.
I promise you though – you won’t regret it.
PS: and if you're prepared to take the next step and to deal with the scary stuff that might come up, have a look here