Learning when life gets tough
It has really been too long since we last caught up. Life has been busy, but I think, more profoundly, I was scared and embarrassed to write about what has been going on with me. The reality of things is that I lost my job. I lost my job not because of me, not because of my wrong doing but because of strategic changes that affected my whole team. And where I know, I had nothing to do with it, when I was told I had nothing to do with it, parts of me still believe I have failed and have lost sense of my identity. I have been very busy with a fantastic, magical trip to Vietnam and a lot of job applications and interviews. But now a month in, I feel lost.
I had built my sense of adulthood around this idea of me being a stellar professional woman. And God knows this blog was built on the idea of sharing my learnings from the business industry. And now, stripped away from this blanket of security and purpose, I feel exposed and vulnerable. I cannot help but feel I am standing out like an outsider.
Facing difficulties is inevitable, learning from them is optional – John Maxwell
Sure I will bounce back. Sure I will work again. But this was not supposed to happen to me. I hope you can relate to the idea of failing ´the plan´. Your plan might be the ideal of a linear career; dreams of motherhood; strong health; out living your loved ones. Whatever the idea of security you have, when it falls flat, you are left facing the reality of life. The reality that not everything can be controlled. And that even with the best planned of lives, things happen outside of your control and when the time come, you are either able to lose your grip on the shore and swim with the current, or you drown.
So the point of this post is one. Yes life is scarier than usual right now, yes the security I had, got shaken. But in the midst of this I am learning. I am learning that I am loved. Not for what I accomplish, but for who I am. I am learning that at my very core I am frecking resilient. And I am gathering learnings for my future self. And this is what I should focus on (I say I should rather choose, as I´ll inevitably need a pep-talk again). One day, I might be ill or my kids might, or I might go through financial or marital difficulties. Through the loss of people I love. These things happen. But as different as my current situation is, I want to be able to go back to these days and remember how it felt and how I battled the fear and eventually got out of it. I shared about the benefits of journaling in this previous article. And this is what I am doing right here. I will be able to go through tougher days more suitably equipped. I will have experienced the power of our love, the attachement to our souls rather than to works, and I will have learnt about my character. I will have learnt that getting into nature in the morning helps. Creating helps. Exercising helps. Laughing helps. And that you always get through the tunnel. Tunnels have different lengths, but they all have an exit. And experiencing troubles earlier than later in life, makes you more confident to take on the journey. You build on layers of experiences and strengths. You have been there, and you know yourself. And when true hardships come, you are (as much as one can ever be) prepared.
So if you are in a difficult situation. If you feel lost, ashamed, de-routed, you are not alone. We all at some point are and will be. Your situation might be financial, personal, emotional- but it will all come with a solution eventually. I can only encourage you in the midst of it, to force yourself to look for the brighter stars life has put in the tunnel with you. Your partner, your family, your friends. And as hard and lonely as the journey may feel, know that they are there and that at the exit you will have made a companion of yourself. A companion that you will know. Truly know, if you choose to. The journey is about you.
A take-away list might seem a little trivial, but on the tougher days, when all I want is crawl-up and cry, I find these tips helpful:
1. keep a diary. Things will pass, and you can go back and see how much they have evolved. It is also a great medium to express your feelings in ways you might not be able to truly verbalise.
2. keep moving. Walk, gym, whatever movement is to you. It isn´t about being tough and disciplined, it is about avoiding the vicious circle of self pity and about head space.
3. don´t turn away from your support system. There are days I just want to be left alone. I don´t want to talk or rejoice or let go of the applications. But allow the comfort and love to come in.
4. make a plan each day. Not a task-list of impossible standards, but one thing - as trivial as you want it to be- to accomplish each day that makes you happier. It could be creating something, reading, calling someone, baking or buying flowers.
If you are in the tunnel, know you are not alone. I would love to hear from you, feel free to connect right here in the comments or on Instagram DM.