Life isn’t always smooth sailing.
I recently found myself sailing through a particularly violent storm. At my lowest moment I was fortunate enough to receive some incredible advice:
“You’re going to make it through, there’s no question about that. But when you do make it through to the other side, you want to make it through with all your friendships and relationships in tact. You want to make it through still being with your partner and able to laugh with your mates. That’s why the way you behave now is really important; because the people you love deserve the best version of you“
So what does this mean in practice?
Nobody plans to break and crumble under the pressure of a difficult situation; people just… break. Interestingly there is very little talk about planning how not to break and crumble in the face of adversity- such as a death, a divorce, redundancy etc. All those ordinary but awful things that can befall anyone at any time. Don’t wait until you’re at your breaking point, realise that you’re sailing through a storm and plan how you’re going to make it through in one piece now!
Faced with a traumatic or seriously stressful and long term situation, modern thinking warns against “bottling things up” and tells us to “talk about it” and “let it out”. The cruel truth is that people around you don’t want to hear it all the time and will resent you for projecting your problems onto them. Those who love you will put it up with it for so long, but in the end they too will be sick of it if you’re handling of the problem is affecting their tranquility and quality of life.
Here-in lies the importance of planning specifically how you will get through the storm. We all need to talk about things, but your plan must consider who best to confide in to meet your needs and not hurt others around you.
For example: does your wife need to feel the anxiety that she’ll lose the roof over her head? What does being strong for her look like? Perhaps it looks like telling her enough so she knows what’s going on, communicating your plan for braving the storm and confiding when you need to in a close friend instead. Perhaps your relationship with her is such you can let it all out, but do your children need to know?
We don’t live in a vaccum. We are not sailing through the storm alone. Those who love and care for us are often more-so affected than us ourselves. It’s easy to forget there is more than one soul on board.
I see it like sailing a ship through a violent storm, just keep it together until you reach clear skies once more. Because you will reach clear skies again. So figure out how to keep it together whilst at the same time not being a burden on those around you.
Some people turn to drink or drugs to cope, but what about the impact of your drug/alcohol abuse on those around you? Others rant endlessly non-stop about what’s going on, become depressed and obsess over the long term situation on a day to day basis. Who would want to be around that?
Sure, you may cope by using those strategies, but you’ll drive everyone away from you in the process.
Those who love you deserve the best version of you. So give it to them. Have a think about who the best version of you is? What does he look like? Dig deep for those you love, take a breath, and find him.
You may find you can’t keep it up all the time, plan for this. Explain to your loved ones that you’ll need time to yourself etc. and involved them in your planning. Make your loved ones part of the team.
When the ship reaches clearer skies, all aboard it will remember the journey throug the storm. The storm itself will be of no consequence, it will be the journey they all remember.
So make it a good one, and have faith it will all be okay in the end.
Whatever storm you’re sailing through I sincerely hope you reach the other side soon. If you know anybody who may benefit from this advice do reblog this or send this to them.
If you have any tips for getting through a tough time you feel would benefit this article, drop them in the comments below so that they remain here for all who seek this advice in the future.