Someone asked me this morning why I’ve not sent out this newsletter recently. Truth be told, the last few months have been a time of intense personal questioning for me; if it is a midlife crisis it’s certainly not my first one!
Now I could say that I find these times – when things just don’t seem to work out the way I want to – challenging, or that I view them as great learning and growing opportunities, but I’ve come to see that no matter how I dress up or re-frame my reality, sometimes life just sucks!
So I notice with a mixture of amusement and annoyance the hordes of ‘positive thinking’ sayings, quotes and beliefs that cross my desk via email, Facebook, Twitter etc. I often remind my clients and myself that most if not all successful people have had setbacks, disappointments and challenges along the way, and that they eventually succeeded because they decided (what’s that word please? “Decided” – that’s right!) to stand up again, (re)evaluate and to keep going – either in the same direction or with an altered course.
But what is not often talked about (and I admit I’m making this up as I go along) is that some of these times must have sucked for these people too. Even successful people have times when they feel upset and disappointed, hopeless, helpless or resentful, or are tempted to give up.
So it’s not that life never sucked for these people. It’s just that they kept going despite the fact that it sucked. And then, with the wisdom of hindsight and our human inability to remember pain it is easy to reflect on the learnings afterwards and romanticise these challenging moments – as if they were somehow glorious and wonderful – when in fact, they sucked.
Now having said that, I know from my own personal experience (and maybe you’ve had similar experiences) that the only thing worse than life sucking is my refusal to accept it. Demanding that life stopped sucking this instant usually has the opposite affect!
So if your life sucks, how would it be if you could (as best you can) accept that, just for now, it sucked? What would that do for your levels of self-compassion or patience, if you could acknowledge to yourself that you are in fact going through a tough time? Isn’t it true that you cannot know for sure that better days may be very, very close by?
Your thoughts may tell you that accepting where you are somehow equates to giving in or giving up when in truth it’s often our refusal to accept where we are that prevents us from moving forward.
Before I share a tapping routine for you for when life sucks, here are some things I find valuable:
- spend time with friends; good friends – you know, the type of friends that love you even when you’re Mr or Ms Grumpy
- ask for help; bend the friendly neighbour’s ear, talk to your partner or get professional help; you’re the only one with your answers but sometimes you need help to get there
- be patient with yourself when it comes to major decisions; allow the decision to make you rather than trying to force yourself to make it
- take time out; take time off work, go away for a weekend and leave your laptop and mobile phone at home, take a hot bath or go for a walk in nature
- break habitual patterns and do something extra-ordinary for yourself; have breakfast in the garden, go to bed early or take a different route to work; I’m writing this in the village pub having decided on the spur of the moment to treat myself to a lunch out rather than cooking for myself
- give yourself a break; so what if you don’t have all of life’s answers right now or if you’re finding some things difficult? You’re still doing the best you can, aren’t you? How about a bit of compassion for yourself rather than adding to your pain by telling yourself that you should somehow have been able to deal with it differently?
- so something you think you “shouldn’t”: have a whole chocolate to yourself, sleep until lunch time or fill the bath to the brim – you know, those things you don’t usually allow yourself to do.
For whatever reason, for most of us life comes in waves with joy, love and peace interspersed with challenge.
I agree that it is often in times of serious challenge, when we have to reach ever deeper within ourselves for the resources to keep going, that we learn the most.
And let’s not pretend it is, or should be, fun or easy; sometimes it just sucks.
So let’s have some compassion for ourselves and say ‘Yes this sucks, and I love and accept myself anyway!’
Here’s a short tapping video I knocked up today; enjoy!