How to deal when the #$^* hits the fan
Whenever something bad happens in our lives, we tend to think:
"This will NEVER end."
" This always happens to ME"
" My WHOLE life is a mess.
Whether it's unsuccessful job hunting for 3 months, heart break that feels like a crowbar is hitting you repeatedly in your chest, or financial woes (the debt just keep piling up and you keep worrying awake ...) - we tend to automatically make these 3 mistakes:
1. It's PERMANENT
Unless you're dead, no situation is permanent. Yes, it may feel like it will last forever, but realistically speaking, somewhere somehow something will change. It's the law of nature (and life).
2. It's PERSONAL
Even if someone criticises or judges you, there are so many others factors that play into that - their mood, their own insecurities, the context. Perhaps you were just a good target in a bad place. 99% of the time, it isn't about you.
3. It's PERVASIVE
If one area of your life is crappy, it's easy to think that everything is crap. You are crap. The world is crap. Life is crap. It all sucks. It's not. It's just one area.
So how do you fix this?
Let's say you are struggling to find a job. Instead of saying, "I will never find a job. It's because I am not good enough. This is hopeless. I will be a failure-to-launch for life."
Apply the 3 Ps above:
Will you really never find a job? [PERMANENCE]
= Well, no. Technically I will at some point. It might be in 2 weeks or 4 months, but realistically speaking it's bound to happen if I keep applying for positions and networking.
Are you really not good enough? [PERSONAL]
= Well, no. There are some thing I'm not great at, but I'm pretty good at [insert] (eg. writing, speaking, organizing.) I did that course in [insert] and got great feedback at my last gig. It might just be a slow economy, or the time of year - not necessarily directly related to me.
Will you really be a failure to launch for the rest of your life? [PERVASIVE]
= Well, no. Even if this job searching doesn't work out, I still have a pretty okay life going on. Got some good friends and I'm pretty fit and healthy. Though a job has a big impact on my life, it's not my WHOLE life. I need to keep perspective and put it in its (rightful) place.
How do your feelings change when you use the 3Ps? Your perspective?
Calmer? More relaxed? A bit more hopeful?
Try it out, and feel free to let me know how it goes!
[To find out more, check out Dr Martin Seligman's work]