Step 1 – Admit It
As humans, we have this idea that all the other humans who exist, have existed and will someday exist are stronger than us.
“I am the only one who cannot hold her alcohol, pay her bills, cook her turkey dinner, resist impulse buys at the gas station or grocery store. I am the world’s only failure.”
Don’t do that. Nearly everyone has already felt or someday will feel like you. Triumph in acknowledging it, basking in it, and watching it ebb out to sea.
step 2 – tell someone
Another human being, please. Not your Facebook newsfeed. You will garner only miniscule and short-lived comfort from those who briefly acknowledge, and dare to ‘like’, your misery.
This calls for a one-on-one moment.
The second you share your pain, it becomes less internalized and you progress from harboring feelings to expressing them. Even if said expression includes a box of tissues and indistinguishable sounds.
Step 3 – ditch the kitchen sink
When we’re down and we’ve been given an opportunity to unleash our heartaches onto the world, they start to multiply. It started because you didn’t get into grad school, but then it’s about how you were always the lowest in your class, you’ll never get a job with just a college degree, not in this economy, and your parents said you couldn’t move back home so you’ll be on the streets by June.
step 4 – take a shower
You might not have the answer when you hang up the phone/leave the restaurant/finish the conversation. You might know why you got upset, what set you off, but the hardest part is recognizing that there is some solution.
And that is in your hands. Doing something mindless, like showering or unloading the dishwasher, does two things: it reminds you that you’re capable of completing tasks and making progress, and lets your brain search for an actionable step.
step 5 – commit this to memory
By now, I should be an expert in dealing with my own life disasters. But I’m not. Just because you’ve gotten upset hundreds of times doesn’t mean you’re somehow immune to future breakdowns.
For some of us, there’s this allure to running from the truth and head for higher ground before the tear ducts open.
You will feel like your world is imploding. You just have to remember, when you feel an impending storm, that you’ve worked through this before.
The only thing worse than admitting your pain is not admitting it — holding it until it builds and builds and overtakes.