Dealing With Life - Coping With the Good and the Bad
I had a good conversation with my mom yesterday, but it focused on a bad reality.
My parents were supposed to fly out to visit me in Montana at the end of this month.
Unfortunately, because of the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, it would be an irresponsible action to take.
So we agreed that they would cancel the trip and wait, most likely, until next year to visit me.
Towards the end of the call, my mom made the comment, "I'm hoping in a year it will be back to normal. Don't you think?"
My response was one that I wouldn't have given years ago--and it leads me into an important mental health lesson about dealing with life.
Dealing With Life - Coping By Responding to What's In Front of You
Of course, I want to see my parents.
I miss them. I live in Montana, and they live in New York. It's very hard to travel between the two places, as it requires multiple flights or multiple days of driving.
But this is the choice that I made. Montana is my spiritual home. It's where I feel most at peace.
So when my mom asked a leading question about whether I thought it would get back to normal within a year and we could see each other again, I thought about what I would have said years ago.
And then I did the opposite.
"Actually, no. I've given up on setting any kind of expectations. We just have no idea. I'm happier this way."
At first glance, that looks like a very harsh response to say to one's parent. But it's how I've lived my life for the last several years.
After heart surgery, after dealing with severe mental health issues after said heart surgery, I've changed how I look at my life. I no longer hope that things will get better.
I take a different approach when it comes to dealing with my life.
This Is All Your Life to Deal With
Facing major struggles in my life left me bitter and confused at first, but no more.
The worst things have become the best things.
I now know that, even if something terrible is happening in my life, it's still my life. I can't escape it. I can't wish it away. It's my task to address it, to accept it, and to let it into my life so that I can fully integrate it into my heart and mind.
There's no other way.
Which now leads me to you.
Tough Questions For You to Think About Your Relationship With Coping
Consider these questions. Come back to them throughout the day. Write down your responses if it helps you process the questions.
Are you facing hardship or turning away?
Are you happier when you acknowledge what's difficult about your present reality?
Think about a time when you pretended something bad wasn't happening. Then, think about a time when you fully accepted a difficult reality. What difference did that make for your mental state? Your emotional state?
No human being can live a life of perfect comfort, nor should you want to live a life like that. The happiest moments are there because of the saddest events that have happened to you.
When you accept the bad that's in front of you, you create the space for good to fill it in. You need the bad moments, the terrible memories, and the heart-breaking situations to frame the good that comes in life. They are one and the same. The picture looks better with a proper frame.
Because the bad stuff, as much as you might want to forget it, is still your life. If you turn away from it, if you distract yourself from what's in front of you, you're missing out on the one life you have.
It's not pleasant to address disaster and heartache, but it's necessary.
When you don't do it, you're only prolonging the pain and keeping yourself from the happiness you rightfully deserve.