There are times in our lives where we are faced with more than we think we can handle. Although we can probably find ways to work through most of life’s challenges, the fact is that sooner or later we all end up facing a problem that threatens to overwhelm us. It might be a divorce, illness, job loss, or anything else that shakes us to our cores.
In times like these, it helps to have a game plan. Even with the biggest crisis, if you put three steps into action, you will be well-equipped to handle it the best you can – which is all you can ask of yourself.
Sometimes just talking to someone helps you process what you’re going through. If you’re facing a crisis, take the time to tell someone about it. If it’s something that involves your whole family, sometimes it helps to go to someone who’s not in the thick of it. Maybe you have a co-worker who is a good listener. Or maybe there’s another mom in your kids’ playgroup who might give you a chance to share your story.
Just talking about the challenges you’re facing helps you to feel less alone in your struggle. Share your story, gauge reactions, and see if people might help you see your troubles from another point of view.
Talking about your troubles also helps you process your grief. If a family member is facing a terminal illness or you’ve lost a job or you had to put down a pet, just talking about it helps you process through the parts that are troubling you the most.
Several years back, I had a dog, Journey, who was diagnosed with cancer and given 2-5 weeks to live. I was shocked and so upset. I spoke with a friend of mine immediately after getting the news. She wasn’t even a dog person, but I was so distraught and needed to tell her what was happening.
I remember saying something to the effect that if I had known this was going to happen I would have taken him for more walks or spent more time together or something like that. It was silly, really, since my dog really lacked for nothing in his life, but it was said out of grief. My friend said to me, “Maybe you and Journey just had exactly the life together that you were meant to have.”
I never would have expected such a profound assessment from someone who wasn’t a dog person! But in that one powerful sentence, she helped me put aside all my regrets and focus on the present.
So when you are facing a crisis, talk to someone and let her help you process it. You never know what simple thing she might say that will make a world of difference for you.
Another tool you should use to help build courage in a time of crisis is to seek out help and resources. This can take a variety of forms.
If you are facing job loss, talk to the unemployment office, see what social services are available, and call your city to find out what resources they offer. Go to your library and find a good book on building a strong resume, and see if they have a class on bolstering your interview skills.
Besides services that might be able to help you, also search out ways that you can restore your mental health. For instance, if the crisis you are facing is marital instability and possible divorce, look for new ways to help you feel better.
This might mean finding a new yoga class or doing some reading on stress management or even talking with others who have gone through a divorce and came out of it just fine.
Classes, books, and services are just a few things that you should seek out to help you move through your crisis in the most positive way you can.
The third piece of the puzzle in finding courage in crisis is to surround yourself with your support system.
Often when we go through difficult times, our friends will say, “Let me know what I can do to help,” but you’re so distraught you don’t even know what to ask, and you worry about imposing or whether they really meant it. Take them for their word that they want to help, and allow them to do so.
If, for example, you are facing an illness, take the time to focus on your health by allowing others to cover for you in some areas. Ask your mom to take your kids for a couple of days or see if a friend can organize a dinner delivery for a couple of weeks with the rest of your friends.
You also might be able to find support groups to help you face your crisis. There are bereavement groups to help you after a loss, support groups to build you up if you lose a job or your marriage dissolves, and other groups where you can just vent or listen to others or just escape for a while.
There are a variety of ways to get support for others, and sometimes the way that support helps the most is just because it offers the simple reminder that you are not in this alone – some people have faced the same challenges, and others just want to help you.
Whatever it is in your life that has thrown you for a loop, you can find your courage to face the crisis and get through it by talking about your troubles, finding resources, and leaning on support. The easy thing to do is to hunker down deep under the blankets and stay in bed. But the things that will help you thrive – and not just survive – are the ones where you seek help and let others help you.
Every test successfully met is rewarded by some growth in intuitive knowledge, strengthening of character, or initiation into a higher consciousness. -Paul Brunton