It has happened to all of us at some point. We are standing there, happily going about our life, all of our plans going smoothly, and then with a huge SWOOP, the rug gets pulled right out from under us.
It might be a broken engagement or devastating divorce, a lost job, the sound of your nest egg falling with a resounding crash from the highest branch, or the reality that a long-hoped-for dream will not be coming true. Suddenly, we find ourselves lying flat on our backs, staring at the ceiling with the wind completely knocked out of us, trying to figure out what the heck just happened.
As crazy as it may sound, many times the rug that is pulled out from under us actually turns out to be a magic carpet, if we can hang on tight and go along for the ride instead of letting it knock us down. Here are some ideas to help turn that mean old nasty rug into a magic carpet.
Times of huge change are also times of great self-discovery. We may not choose our obstacles, but we can choose what we make of them and what they make of us. We can choose to become broken and bitter, or we can choose to become stronger, wiser, and more compassionate.
We have to allow ourselves time to grieve a loss and then move on. We need to cry it all out and process what has happened, and then we need to stand up and look forward, not back. I’m not suggesting denial here. But, we also have to make sure that grieving doesn’t turn into wallowing in self-pity.
We become what we believe. By making a list of what we believe about our future—not what we hope for, but what we truly believe—we begin to see those things become a reality. Reading it every morning and every night (and during the day when we need a reminder), helps keep us moving in the right direction.
Laughing—A LOT—is very healing. Hard times are humbling experiences, and if we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we’ll find that there is more to laugh about during adversity than when it’s all smooth sailing.
We need to remember to count our blessings not our losses. Keeping a daily gratitude journal keeps us focused on all that is good in our lives.
Keep a “Bigger Plan Book.” This is a great place to reflect on all of the times we have struggled and held on to our ideas of what should be, only to find that there was a better plan for us right around the corner. It also reminds us that no matter what, we always survive.
There is nothing more healing than the support of our friends. Everyone has a story of survival to share. When we feel like we are the only ones feeling such great pain, it helps to hear how others have overcome their challenges.
Recently, as a group of us gathered to support a friend who is going through a separation, someone made this very wise observation, “Life would just be boring without the challenges. It’s what makes it all a great adventure.”