Navigating life’s transitions is just different from how we imagine it: no matter how much we equip ourselves with up-to-date maps, compasses or GPS, something will always happen that disorients us and forces us to leave forever, with our safe little boat, the small quiet lakes we thought were the sea. By this metaphor, I mean that we often think we reach our destinations and live our lives with precise and predetermined routes. Every journey, every discovery and so every life are actually full of mistakes that are part of the journey, of life itself. Of course, anything that is beyond our control puts us in crisis. However, behind a sudden change of direction or after a violent storm, there is always another horizon to explore.
If it is true that traumatic events, layoffs, divorces, illnesses, plunge us into despair, it is also proven that they allow us to recover with new perspectives, provided that we allow ourselves the opportunity to reflect on the unexpected and to integrate its meaning into our lives. Those who manage to go through these two steps certainly do not return to the conditions before the “storm”, on the other hand, they make contact with their personal power, they feel more ready to face events and, often, they dare more in the discovery of their own resources.
However, the unexpected does not necessarily have to be negative in order to possess an evolutionary potential. Even the transitions connected to the life cycle, such as love or becoming parents, represent moments that give a change of direction to our way of living and being. The same goes for situations in which we open ourselves up to new paths because the projects in which we had invested have become saturated. For many, then, the changes of direction are linked to a psychotherapeutic work, solicited by certain facts or chosen as a path of growth. Psychotherapy, in fact, changes the way we relate to ourselves and to others, sometimes even through important decisions.
It is in the “down” moments that we grow up and put ourselves at stake. We can distinguish three levels of awareness to accept our reality and transform it:
– The impact (“What’s happening to me?”). An unexpected event creates disorientation, helplessness, loneliness, vulnerability. Healthy and normal emotions in the face of the negative event, which become a bomb when they are concomitant.
– The decision (“How do I choose to be in all this?”). Once we acknowledge the crisis, we are inevitably faced with a decision, which in critical circumstances is exaggerated: do we want to be spectators of our suffering or live it as protagonists? If the latter option applies, we do not suffer the displeasure, but we go through it and transform it.
– Evolution (“What is life teaching me now?”). Having an active role, we can understand that every fact brings our soul to light, to evolve. To get there, we need to work on ourselves, with personal training and education (individual and group meetings).
There are three very widespread beliefs, which have the power to drag you into loops of thoughts that are not only useless but also greatly complicate your life. The result will be that it will take much more time and energy to get through the difficult time you are going through. The first error of judgment is to think that the cause of the difficult moment you are going through is just you. This thought convinces you that only you are unlucky, while others do not (and therefore cannot understand you). This mental error leads you to shame and lowers your self-esteem. The second error of judgment leads you to focus only on the negative things and the area of life in which you are experiencing the crisis. Surely there are many positive things in your life, but they all seem to disappear and become a confusing background that loses importance in your eyes. This second mental error leads you into a spiral of pessimism and demoralization. Finally, the third error of judgment in thinking that the problem and all the negative emotions you are experiencing will never pass and you cannot imagine a future different from the situation you are in. This takes away your hope and leads you to resign yourself without even fighting or doing your best to change the situation. You go into passive mode and let yourself live, like a drifting boat.
The turning points, positive or negative, are an essential variable in everyone’s life. But then, what are the prerequisites for dealing with them well?
Accept the state of things. It is the first step to overcome a difficult moment. Clearly you are sad, you are sick, you think you don’t deserve what has happened to you. However, you have to accept what happened. Refusing and getting angry about the new situation you are in won’t help. Only after you have accepted the state of things can you begin to move forward and continue with your life.
Do not turn away from your loved ones. Moving away from everyone, stopping to hanging out with friends, members of your family, avoiding leaving home to not interact with people is not good. On the contrary, it makes it worse. Contact with people will make you feel that you are not alone. In this way, you can even open up and express your emotions, say what you think and let off steam. Many people will have the opportunity to give you advice and encourage you, to give you their support so that you can see everything from a different perspective.
Cultivate contact with yourselves. Being able to stop to recognize and legitimize your internal experience and give us permission to dream about the change you want to see or to ask for help can not only save your life but change its course. In this way, you choose your own existence despite the unexpected. Difficult situations put everyone under pressure. They are exhausting and put you to the test because they force you out of the comfort zone and your expectations and make you feel disorientated and out of control. Panic and fear only make things worse and leave you without the energy to deploy. That’s why it’s important to work first of all to regain balance, connection and calm.
Be aware that everything in life passes. There are many ways to overcome a difficult moment and although you may not be optimistic now, it will help to think about adversity in the past. For example, a previous relationship that ended when you lost your job, or a family member died. Of course, you have felt bad, but you have managed to move on. Time has helped you heal your wounds. Don’t isolate yourself, don’t grasp the feeling of sadness that now traps you.
To get through a difficult time, keep in mind the advice given and you will find that you can move forward even if it seems that all hope is now lost. The difficult moments allow us to stop for a moment to reflect on our life journey. They can also make us stronger, improve us and increase our self-esteem and positivity. They are opportunities to get to know each other better and realize that life goes on.
How do you and your language exchange friends overcome difficult times? Have you ever plunged into such sadness that you think you can’t get up? What has helped you and what hasn’t helped you in this situation? Write it down in your comments.
Written by: Martina Sassi, Staff Writer