So things haven’t been too easy for me recently. I thought I would share this with you as sometimes we go through stuff and we never know how we will cope.
I’d rate myself pretty strong emotionally these days. I can’t say I’ve always been so but years of therapy and soul searching has brought me to where I am now. Life shapes you, too, and my experiences to date have made me pretty resilient.
But what if you haven’t had years of therapy? What if you are emotionally less strong than other people? How do you cope when life throws you a nasty curve ball?
Firstly, tell your inner mean bitch (the negative voice in your head) to shut the hell up. We all have two voices in our heads. We have the kind one and the mean one. For some reason, we seem to give more credence to the mean one – probably because that voice is always stronger and louder. I’ve given my inner bitch a face and a name. She’s someone who was never kind to me in the past and probably would still be unkind if I saw her now. When I picture those words coming from her mouth I really don’t take them as seriously anymore.
We are our harshest critics. We don’t need anyone else to give us a hard time. We do it pretty well ourselves. But, especially at a time when you are low or feeling vulnerable, this is the worst time to listen to her. She knows all the things to say that will make you feel worse. Visualise her, ignore her and walk away from her.
There have been times over the past couple of weeks when I have felt very alone. My inner bitch voice was telling me I had no friends to talk to and that even if I did turn to them they wouldn’t be interested in my problems. How wrong I was! With just one sentence on a Facebook status I had numerous comments and private messages from concerned friends near and far. I believe you are rarely as alone as you ever think you are. It just takes that bit of courage to reach out and ask for help. Ask for someone to listen to you or a shoulder to cry on. Don’t be afraid.
Also, when you are in the middle of something going wrong in your life, it’s easy to catastrophise and to lose sight of a better future because you can’t see the wood for the trees right now. A client likened my problems to pushing a small rowing boat out into a rough sea. The waves are crashing over me continuously as I try and try to push this tiny boat out but, she said, never lose sight of the calm waters just past the waves. They are there. They are waiting for you. You will get through the rough waters; you just have to focus and believe in yourself and never lose sight of the fact that things will even out and get better.
Lastly, try to remain positive. My husband and I have separated. He left on Queen’s Birthday. I cried all day and all evening. When I went to bed I opened our shared closet door. There was this huge space where all his clothes used to be and I started to cry again. I could have stood there crying for longer but I thought to myself: “Fill up the space.” So, I did what I had never done - I ordered my clothes. I started with jeans and trousers down one end, then tops, dresses, jackets, etc., etc. Handbags were lined up on shelves and shoes were dug out from a pile and placed neatly in rows. It looks bloody fantastic and I can find anything I want without the usual 10 minutes of scrabbling and hunting.
So, yes, pretty big thing your husband of 19 years leaving that void in your life, but every cloud has a silver lining if you just look for it. I talk to my clients about the cycle of positivity and recognising the negative internal chatter. Once you can hear and recognise those thoughts you can try to turn them around. Are these thoughts helpful? Are the statements within them true?
Whether your thought is positive or negative it will make you feel a certain way. Those feelings will then make you behave in a certain way and you interact with others depending on how you feel. People will then interact with you as a result of your actions and the resultant feedback will either be positive or negative and feed back into your positive or negative thoughts. Break the negative chain. Make your reality a good reality with your thoughts.
I could say that my marriage failed and be negative about it. I have chosen, though, to look at it positively. Yes, it ended and it’s really sad but we had some amazing times and great fun together and we raised two wonderful and beautiful daughters. And, although I’m 52 next week, I am thinking ahead to a positive future and believe that life will be good and that, one day, I will find love again.