The days following my separation I was a useless lump. I had lost the love of my life and in exchange was given way too much time to reflect on it. To say I was devastated would have been like calling the ocean wet or that a peanut butter and jelly pizza an odd breakfast choice.
I felt defeated, but looking back I feel I learned a lot in that time. I learned how emotionally strong of a person I am, and more so, I learned how to handle hard situations. Now, I wish to pass that wisdom to you. Here are three things you should do when life gets nasty.
Lean into the discomfort and do what you have to do
When life gets rough, there is always something needs to be done, but you’re too afraid to make the leap. It might be seeking help, having a difficult discussion with a loved one, or maybe even cutting somebody out of your life. Regardless of what this action might be, it’s something out of your comfort zone, but it needs to happen.
In my case, leaning into the discomfort meant stepping up and talking to my friends more, it meant seeing a therapist, and it meant recognizing I couldn’t keep ignoring my feelings. All these were scary things for me, but each one made my challenges significantly easier.
When I stepped up, I created a small private Facebook group containing any friend I thought might be able to support me. I shared everything that happened to me and told people to reach out to me and talk to me when they could. Those friends then proceeded to pull me out of my emotional muck and get me on my feet. I’ve never felt so indebted to a group of people before. Their help was huge.
Find your inner fire
Bad circumstances can take a lot away from you in your life. Everything from your job to your loved ones can be taken away from you, and trust me it’s devastating. That being said, the one thing you can’t lose is who you are.
Regardless of how emotionally beaten up you are and how low you think of yourself, we all have an inner fire. Think about all the tragedies you have survived in your life, the obstacles you’ve overcome, and remember what makes you strong. You might have to dig deep, but we all have strength. We’ve all struggled and we’ve all triumphed before, and in those moments you learn what makes you powerful. Find that power and hold onto it, because it will take you far.
After my breakup, the biggest thought that helped me was the knowledge that I was a capable person. I had loved and lost before, and I survived years of feeling completely alone before. The feelings I was experiencing were not new, and I knew I was more than capable of standing on my own two feet. I was going to move forward from this even if it meant emotionally dragging myself like a bloody corpse through a desert. Life was going to move on. Knowing this gave me strength, I knew I could rebuild.
Respect and love your feelings
Whether you like it or not, bad situations are going to bring out bad feelings. You’re going to be sad, you’re going to be angry, and you’re going to be unreasonable. As much as you might feel guilt or want to go into denial with your feelings, be honest with them.
Going through my breakup I wrestled through a whole spectrum of emotions. Most of them were manageable, but wrestling with my anger and hatred was hard. For the first time in years, I experienced a period of time where I actually wanted something bad to happen to another human being, I wanted them to feel pain. The guilt I felt over that was immense.
I did not want to acknowledge how hurt I was or how badly I wanted that feeling reciprocated, but I knew I couldn’t move forward until I accepted it. I did not act on my hatred, but I allowed myself to feel it. I allowed myself to vent to trusted friends, to release those feelings. I was hurt and I was entitled to be pissed. To expect anything else of myself would have been unfair.
Acknowledging and eventually releasing those feelings did wonders for me. I feel empowered now. I can recognize my emotional needs and fulfill them, rather than bury them deep inside. This too was a big contributor to me moving forward.
Life can and will sometimes beat you down, but there is a lot to be gained in those moments. Don’t be afraid to embrace your pain, to find your strength, and to take those steps to a new and better life. In time you will grow and you will heal. Just give it time.