Coping with Life's Curve Balls
Look out…here comes a curve ball!!!
So here you are getting on with your life, making plans, working your arse off to achieve your goals and trying to keep all the areas of your life functioning effectively. You’re at your busiest; juggling all those balls up in the air when WHAM! Out of nowhere, a curve ball hits you smack in the face!
A change that’s forced on you by outside influences or circumstances out of your control. A financial crisis. A death. A consequence of a past decision. A separation or divorce. A sudden relocation. An accident. A loss of employment. An injury or illness. An unexpected failure or revelation.
Suddenly your world is thrown upside down and it becomes almost impossible to keep juggling all those balls up in the air. One by one, they begin to drop and it can feel as though your life is falling apart. Has this ever happened to you and if so, how did you handle it?
It’s easy to be upbeat and positive when life is going along smoothly and the universe appears to understand your expectations and is meeting your needs. But what happens when a curve ball arrives and all your dreams come tumbling down? How do you maintain your sense of optimism and passion for life then? How do you make sure that it doesn’t destroy you and the relationships you care about?
Having experienced a decent amount of curve balls in my life, I have some insights to share with you:
1. Let it sink in. Curve balls can come as a shock and throw your emotions into chaos so let the impact sink in for a while before trying to make any major decisions. You might have sleepless nights ahead of you, but better that than a life changing decision that you’ll regret later. Let the emotions die down and consider your options when you’re feeling more stable.
2. Believe you are strong. Unforeseen curve balls can be soul destroying and often bring a high level of emotional (and perhaps physical) suffering with them. You may feel that you’ve been served a harsh injustice and life isn’t fair. It’s true; sometimes life isn’t fair but remember that you are stronger than any challenge or obstacle that life throws at you and you can handle this. Adopt one of my beliefs if you like: “When I’m knocked down, I bounce back up. In a crisis, I shine.” It works for me, perhaps it will for you too.
3. Communicate. It could be tempting to withdraw into yourself and hide away from the reality of your new situation. However, ignoring the curve ball or pretending it doesn’t exist, will NOT make it disappear. We often feel that we have to put on a brave face and protect our loved ones from the pain we’re feeling. But the opposite can happen and your family can be left feeling hurt and confused and even wondering whether they’ve caused your suffering. This is a time to step up your communication and share how you’re feeling with your partner, children, family and friends. Tell them what’s going on, explain your fears and why you’re not coping. Let them know how they can support, comfort and help you. Difficult circumstances can actually strengthen your relationships if you communicate effectively, share your vulnerabilities and all pull together. People like to help, so let them!
4. Let “what could have been” go. Sometimes a curve ball shatters a dream or goal into a million tiny pieces and the pain of losing that vision can be utterly devastating. But staying stuck in that pain by holding onto your lost dream will only hurt you (and those around you) further and stop you from moving on. Acknowledge that it didn’t work out, let it go and start focusing on a new goal to motivate you forward.
5. Celebrate! “Are you serious?” I hear you asking. Yes, I am – celebrate the curve ball! Look for the positives in the situation and in the changes it’s going to bring to your life. It might be hard to see them at first, especially when you’re still dealing with the fall-out of the curve ball and entertaining that feeling of “woe is me” but once you decide that its time to start living again, then put misery behind you and start actively seeking out the new opportunities, new experiences, new beginnings and new relationships that all lie ahead of you. Imagine if this left of field curve ball actually turns out to be the start of something great? If this shocking blow is actually a wonderful surprise in disguise. Perhaps it’s meant to be, perhaps you need this in your life. Perhaps this will be moment that you look back on your later years as the moment that you realised what life was really about and it all began.
So I guess it’s up to you now. How are you going to handle the next curve ball? Are you going to let it knock you to the ground and totally debilitate you? Or are you going to stand up strong, look that curve ball straight in the eye and say: “Bring it on!”