Sunday, 10 August 2014

Personal Crisis Management - No Wallowing

If you've been waiting for this next instalment in my series, my apologies. I've been away and you know how it is when you go away for a few days; there are mountains of things to do when you get back. It did give me a lot of time to think about this post before I sat down and started typing. 

"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" - I believe this is a Buddhist saying.

Firstly, I want to distinguish between sitting with your pain and wallowing in it. 

I am not a fan of emotional intervention for the sake of it. I am not going to tell you when you are dealing with some of the toughest stuff of your life, that if you just have a positive attitude, the challenging situation will lickety splick be sorted. To me that's painting a dog turd with glitter. It's still shit, but now it's sparkly. 

Pushing pain away, isn't healthy. There comes a point when the stiff upper lip breaks...and then it gets a lot worse.

I suppose having experienced childbirth, I understand that while it does hurt, it's happening for a reason. If you've been dealing with some of the heaviest stuff you've ever had to deal with: relationship break up, financial difficulties, death and bereavement, it's going to hurt. And you know what, it's okay to let it hurt.

Wallowing, on the other hand, is sitting in the mud pit of your feelings with an internal dialogue that might run along the lines of:

I'm not worthy of love
It's all my fault
I'm too ugly
I'm too fat
I'm too old
Other people don't have to put up with this shit
The Universe/God/Karma hates me
The World is out to get me....

By the way, the above, those are some of mine. You might have a different Negative (Neggy) Chorus in your head. 

That is making it worse. 

The thing is, how you feel is transitory. Feelings, emotions are like a summer storm, Byron Katie says, you get wet, cold and soaked to the bone and then it passes and the sun comes out. However, 'real' it is to you at that point in time, it will pass.

It will pass.

Wallowing in the pit of your emotions becomes a negative feedback loop that sucks your energy, motivation and your ability to get on and deal with whatever went really wrong to cause this crisis in the first place.

The worst case scenario can kick in at 3 am when it's just you and your mind and you can't see a way out of it. Richard Bandler points out many a time suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem

I know it will pass because the sun rises every morning. If you have had a couple of nights like this, then call someone, do not delay. Call your GP, your best friend, the Samaritans. You are not alone and you may need a bit more support. This is the sensible thing to do, when you suffer.

So what to do when it hurts?

Personally, I throw a Pity Party. I have learnt to make a conscious decision to sit with the pain. To let it hurt. To watch sad films, cry my way through sad books, listen to my favourite sad songs. I eat my favourite comfort food. I shut the door. I don't answer the phone.

How is this different to wallowing? It happens for a finite time. I choose when and where I throw my party. I choose who to invite - self doubt, negative body image, low self-esteem, the Self-Pity Gnome. I give it a day, a couple of days maximum and then I throw my 'guests' out. I go have a shower, change my clothes, air out my house. I put on my Big Girl Pants, my Arse Kicking Boots and I get on with it. I still hurt, but it doesn't occupy the same space as it did previously. I make sure I have people around me, who will help if the Pity Party turns into Wallowing. The point is, it is not permanent.

I'm very lucky in that I was able to train with Richard Bandler and his amazing team. The one big thing I took away from my training, is that it's okay to hurt, it passes. Emotions are a complex interaction of chemistry, physiology and experience. It is so easy to manipulate them. Recognising this, freed me from my inner darkness. 

You may not have a spare £3,000 + for the NLP training. However, there are some really good resources and people available. Have a look at Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler, if times are tough, order the books from the library. NLP is not a magic pill, but it might help you learn to drive your brain better. My mentor often said to me in the beginning of our work together, that we are all given a brain and this fabulous organ doesn't come with a set of instructions; NLP is part of the manual.

I'm not taking on new clients at the moment. If you are looking for a practitioner, I still might be able to help. I am lucky enough to still be involved with the network. I will happily refer you on if I can.

The main points I want you to take from this, is to be kind to yourself first, foremost and always. Avoid the Neggy Chorus. Do not wallow. 

And if you do end up wallowing for too many days in a row, seek help. Talk to people who are not involved in your current situation, who can provide a reality check for the Neggy Chorus. If you must put something off - procrastinate the wallowing. 

It will pass. 

*  *  *

A couple of points I would like to reiterate before I finish. Please be clear that I am focusing on Crisis Management, external issues causing internal distress. I am not covering depression or other mental health issues. If you are depressed these posts may not be helpful for you at all. 

The second point is that I am currently not Practising. I am on hiatus for the moment, but I enjoy writing and thinking about personal development. I will let you know when I open up my list again.


  1. Good advice - I had my pity party at the weekend - it had to be done - I had been keeping on and bottling it all up. Now comes the hard bit - my big girl pants are a bit moth eaten - I might need a new pair!

    1. These are tough times.

      The great thing about Big Girl Pants is you can't wear them out like normal pants. Big Girl Pants actually get better and more robust the more you use them. You don't need a new pair, you only need to wear them as often as you can.

      Don't forget to break in your Arse Kicking Boots. If you've had them from new and haven't worn them often, they might feel big and clunky at first. Stomp around in them a few times.

      Hang in there honey. One step at a time. All will be well.

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