What to do when Life knocks you down

Two weeks ago, I walked (on crutches) down the sidewalk crying over the phone to my mom. Why? Because I felt beat down by life and I couldn’t do anything other than run home (or in my case, *crutch* home) to my mom, crying. If you’ve experienced this low before, you know what I am talking about.

About a month ago, I tore my ACL. And despite knowing how disappointing and difficult it is, not to mention how painful, to have an injury, I still have found myself facing more moments in the past month than in the past year or two where I feel like I just don’t have the energy to pick myself back up again. I’ve been feeling a lot of moments where all I want to do is to cry to my mom or and just have my friends take care of me and not have to think about my situation. I was having trouble adjusting to life not being physically able to do the things I enjoy the most: walking or biking to class, playing volleyball, doing yoga, cooking, even holding the door for somebody else. That on top of the fear of wondering how serious this injury was and how long it would be before I will be “back to normal”.

Without having to say, it seems unreasonable to think that we would go through life without having these moments. In fact, that sort of is what life is: a compilation of highs and lows and the moments in between. So why is it that it is still so hard to pick yourself up when you are feeling down? And why is it that we don’t talk about it more?

First of all, it is OKAY to feel this way! Simply recognizing that it is okay not to be happy 100% of the time is half the struggle. You were born with a spectrum of emotions to feel, so why live life without at least being able to feel all of them. As cliche as it might sound, without the lows, the highs wouldn’t be quite as tall. *So give yourself permission to feel your emotions.*

“What you resist, persists”- C. G. Jung

Sit with your emotions. I found this quote through Marie Forleo, and it is one of my favorites.  By giving into the unpleasant, uncomfortable, or unfamiliar emotion, we allow ourselves to get over it faster.  If we avoided them, we might cause more harm than the original feeling on its own.  When we sit with the emotion, it is like tearing off a band aid.  It hurts a lot for a little bit, but afterward, you can focus on making it better. 

Ask yourself what you can learn from this experience. Ultimately, our emotions are here to help guide us through life.  It is easy to see that we tend to do the things that make us happy more than than those that don’t.  At the same time, we tend to avoid the situations, people, or things that bring us down.  The uncomfortable and unfamiliar emotions are just the same, it just takes a but more guts and perseverance to sit with them and question them.  So what can we learn from this experience? In my case, it made me realize that I have been ignoring my intuition.  And my body finally said “LISTEN TO ME!” too loud and clear for me to look away.  I learned that I need to slow down, and by being a bit more physically disabled for the time, I am forced to make decisions on what and who are absolutely necessary for me to make an effort for.  I realize that by running around being so busy, I have been neglecting people in my life who mean the most.  Almost like forgetting to water the flowers in the living room because all I see are the ones by the door on my way to the next meeting/class/event I have to go to.

When you are ready, ask yourself what will bring you back up. Who and what brings you joy? Who is somebody you can go to who makes you feel safe and excited for life?   I, personally, had to sit there and brainstorm things that bring me joy that don’t take that much movement.   I asked for support from people around me. I learned that I have a community around me who cares for me, but who I may not reach out to as often as I want to.  I remembered how much I like to sing, and how I haven’t been doing much of that lately.  Will you reach out to an old friend? Will you make an effort to do something nice for yourself? Will you accept help from those people who always offer, but you never take them up on it? Whatever it is, when you identify it, you are able to reach out and get a helping hand.

Before you know it, you will look up and realize that you haven’t felt that uncomfortable emotion in a long time, and you didn’t even notice it had left.  Life will knock you down sometimes, and that is okay! The key is to let it guide you so you can get back to feeling the way you want to feel and living the life you want to live.

Buona Notte Bella,
Lucy

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