Thursday, 24 July 2014

Personal Crisis Management - Don't Make Things Worse

You were given some bad news. You have the most awful day at work. Your husband/wife/lover/cat walked away from you without a backward glance. You are so broke, identity thieves don't even want to know...whatever happened to put you in Crisis...DON'T MAKE IT WORSE.

People who are hurting, hurt other people.

They don't mean to, but when the shit goes down, they lash out. Their nearest and dearest end up paying the price of their hurting. Don't worry, you're not alone. This is one demon I fight with on a regular basis. It's really hard to resist turning into Snappy Bitch from Hell, when your world has turned to ashes. You're really angry, frustrated and disappointed and you think that things can't get any worse.

In my experience, there's always a worse option waiting.

You are made redundant, in a fury you drive home and get a speeding ticket, or cause an accident. 

You are rejected and someone tries to help, you snap at them.

Don't Make Things Worse should be an entire book, not just a single blog post. But I want to cover some of the essentials to bear in mind, when the shit hits the fan.

First off. If you are in crisis, you are not going to be in your most rational mind. That's not a criticism, it's a fact and it's okay. It really is okay. If you are in emotional shock, although you aren't going to want to attend to yourself, the first thing you need is emotional First Aid. 

Be gentle with yourself. 

You have no control over what other people do, or what they say. Your focus must be on your emotional good health. 

Be gentle with yourself.

I want you to imagine your Personal Crisis - what you think and how you feel as a storm. You are standing in an open field and the rain of your thoughts pounds around you, while your feelings buffet against you.

Even though it's really hard, hold on to the thought that the storm will pass. You don't have to believe anything you think or anything you feel. Despair, loneliness, grief...all of these may attack you...but they will pass. This is part of the process. Let the wind blow, let the rain fall. You are hurting. It will mess up your hair and make you wet to the bone, but stand tall in the field. Nothing here is permanent.

It will pass.

Cry your way through a box of tissues. Play the depressing songs. Be how you are in the moment. Don't be afraid to say how it is to people around you. If you're in the midst of a crisis, don't waste energy on trying to appear like you're keeping it together. Chances are it won't work and frankly, you've got to conserve your energy. You'll just appear to be more crazy than you really are. Plus, if you tell it like it is, you'll give people around you the opportunity to support you. 

Be confident in the fact the storm will pass. Storms always do. It might take awhile. It might test your resilience to the core. But it will pass. How did the ad in the 80's go? Don't make a drama out of a crisis. The important thing is not to lay waste to everything important around you, so when the sun comes out and you're looking at the remains of your life in a muddy field, you don't have extra bits to rebuild. 

The more gentle you can be with yourself at this stage, the better. You are more likely to be gentle with the people around you and the stronger your primary relationships will be. And you know what? This isn't a science. Be prepared to screw things up despite your best efforts. It's okay. It's to be expected because you are in the midst of a crisis and you're not properly yourself right now. 

Be as mindful as you are able and when your aren't, apologise. It's okay. It's to be expected. Acknowledge when you've got it wrong. You will give yourself the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and it will nurture the relationships around you. Keep breathing, keep putting one step in front of the other. You're not alone. 

I hope this is useful to you. Please share your thoughts on this post, below in the comments. I really would like to know what you think.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Personal Crisis Management - How to Survive when Life comes a'kickin'

For some time now, I've been thinking about what I can bring to the Personal Development table. There are so many really good life coaches and NLP practitioners out there all of whom are well trained, very experienced and frankly, pretty damned good at what they do. It has seemed to me that I haven't really been able to add much value to the field.

Today, that changed. It occurred to me that there is one section, which doesn't get much coverage in Personal Development, but is something I know intimately - that of Personal Crisis Management. 

My life experiences have given me a unique perspective on Personal Crisis Management. I understand what it's like when Life pulls the rug out from under you, you hit the ground hard and then The Bastards start kicking you with steel-toe capped boots. I have stood outside at the 3 o'clock in the morning believed I was the only personal alive on the planet, awake and hurting. There have been times when I hurt so much I was frozen in place, I wasn't able to move from my chair. 

In those times, I would have done physical harm to the person who would have dared to give me the "it's all in your attitude", "it's what you attract" or "think positive to create the outcome you want" speeches. 

Don't get me wrong, I do believe there is value in those things, but frankly, they aren't particularly helpful when you are fighting an external situation that totally blindsided you.

This is the beginning of a series of posts about coping strategies; what works and what to avoid. They are based on my own experiences of dealing with Life's lovely little surprises: the end of significant relationships, death, financial uncertainty, career/job uncertainty and collapsing relationships. There have been times when I felt that I what I was going through was so ridiculously awful, if I had written about it as a book, my readers would never have been able to suspend their disbelief. 

The work of Dr Richard Bandler and John & Kathleen LeValle in Neuro Linguistic Programming has been instrumental in the shift in my thinking. Training with them taught me one of the most valuable lessons: however I feel, no matter how much emotional pain I am in, it will pass. 

Emotional pain, no matter how awful, debilitating, crucifying and intense, it will pass.

I repeat, it will pass.

However, difficult and seemingly unending your trauma is at this instant, it will pass.

There is a card in Major Arcana of the Tarot, called The Tower. When you look at it, it's fairly clear what it's about: your Life as you know it, crumbling away from underneath you. Death, divorce, redundancy, illness, relationships ending (in their many varied ways), relocation etc. The Big Things. The painful things. 

The situations that once you survive, you know your Life will never be the same again. 

Winston Churchill is credited as saying "When you're going through Hell, don't stop." 

That Ladies and Gentlemen, is advice you can take to the bank. If you are in crisis mode, don't stop. Your every waking moment must be about putting one foot in front of the other. Even if you only manage one, small baby step, or can only crawl on your hands and knees.  This is not the time to sightsee. Don't stop to take pictures. Don't be a tourist. 

It is said that Life never hands you more than you can handle. I'm not entirely confident about that. There have been times when I sank like a stone. What I will say is that the sun will rise again tomorrow. It will pass. In the midst of disaster, every day becomes a new opportunity to try again. And if all you manage to do is to brush your teeth and wash your face, embrace each and every effort you make towards getting yourself out of Hell, as a triumph. It's one less step to make tomorrow.

Repeat after me, it will pass