How do you deal with life when one after another very bad things keep on happening with you? Tactic Number One is I don’t think about it this way, except on occasional self-pity days. They happen. Let yourself have an hour or whatever, then take a nap, or take a walk, and let it go.
How not to think about it this way?
Stick with reality.
See what’s really happening. It’s very easy, when something goes wrong, to put yourself in an epic, Shakespearean tragedy and think that this is the worst breakup in the history of man, or that having a bad grade on an exam means you’ll never get into university, never have a good job, never retire… stick with reality and the pressure eases immediately.
It’s one person among 7 billion, most of whom you still have a chance to meet. And it’s one bad test. This thing right now is only this thing, right now.
Let each “bad thing” have its own mental space.
Whatever your things are: Bad job is in bad job space; recent breakup is in recent breakup space; terrible neighbors who keep you awake at night is in terrible neighbor space; dog died, the truck got a flat, etc.The fact that they are all happening at the same time or that they happen in a long string is not evidencing that the world is against you or that you have been given A Bad Life. It’s just what it is.
While you are having the “worst day of your life,” someone else is having the “best day” of theirs. And neither of you truly know you’re right on that, either.
This may not work for everyone, but I find the perspective of remembering that this day is just 24 hours, it’s got nothing personal against you, and randomly, all over the place, someone has just lost a child, someone has just committed a crime they regret, someone has just received a marriage proposal, someone has just had a baby… all of these things are happening today…
I find that very comforting. The second part of that is that you never know. The person who’s just been in a bad car accident and thinks this is the worst day ever may be wrong. The person who’s just gotten the best job offer imaginable may be wrong too. There’s no sense in trying to categorize things too tightly because you will never know ’til years later… if ever… whether this was the best or worst day ever. It’s just a day.
When the long string of bad things seems unbroken, look again.
There are almost always small good things happening, that you hadn’t been appreciating. Start appreciating, even celebrating, the small good things. That rose out front, did it bloom three weeks early? Take a picture. Email it to a friend and make two of you smile.
Your kid got a great grade on her history test? Go out someplace cheap, if money’s one of your woes, but let her have that chocolate shake you’d normally say no to. Anything to balance the scales. It might feel artificial at first—but if you’re already elevating bad things to tragedies, you might as well elevate good things to victories. This makes it very hard to wallow.
Walk. Nap. Paint. Write awful poetry. Stand on your head. Talk to yourself. Throw a ball to your dog at the park. Get off the Internet (bye!). Get it out of your system. Disrupt your routine.
If you want to deal with life, as the question asks, live it. Sitting in your easy chair and cataloging your wounds are not living your life. While you sit there, your chances of having something good happen are next to zero.
Remind yourself that you are awesome,
Remind yourself that you are awesome, no matter whether the things happening to you are awesome or not. Twenty times an hour if you have to. All of these are essential to me in my bad times, but in the midst of a very very bad moment, sometimes this and #1 are all I can cling to. It gets me through to more reasoned moments.
Make changes where you can.
Make peace with the bad things you can’t change right now. Maybe you can change them later; maybe they’re just a bad roll of the dice. Take a deep breath. Take each day one day at a time. Life is long but NOW is short. There will, there WILL, be days when you’ll wish now was longer. There will.
Very Important Note:
I want to take a minute to say that situational yuck, a string of bad things happening that you have to find a way to buck up and forge through, is nothing like depression. Shit happens, but depression is not situational. 🙂 🙂