In bad situations, where events are outside of your control, deal with what you can – your response and emotions – and use the energy they create to find a way forward.
When reality bites you
If you’ve been watching the latest series of Sherlock you may have been struck, as I was by the phrase used frequently by both Holmes and Watson – “It is what it is”, in situations where events and reality bite them, hurt them.
Feelings of fear, hopelessness, despair, anger, rage
These are the situations which arise in all our lives, when events over which we have no control, or very little, lead us into strong negative emotions. Those feelings of fear, hopelessness, despair, anger, rage.
An example that may relate to many of us is when your commute to work is disrupted; perhaps they trains are cancelled, there is an accident and the road is blocked, the traffic is awful because of the weather, or your bike has a puncture.
What do you feel at these times? I know what I can feel – why me? How selfish of the train drivers? Why is everyone else also trying to get to work? And these questions can quickly lead me into feeling bad, sad or mad. Or all three!
You may well be similar
These responses are okay – they prove you are human
Okay, so then what. Well, first things first. These feelings prove you are human. That’s good. Then what?
Do you wallow in them? do you let them overwhelm you? Do you lash out? Do you simply give up?
Good responses to bad situations
Hopefully not, because none of these are good responses to bad situations.
Here are some things you can do instead.
- Acknowledge your feelings
- Name them and recognize them, one by one
- Appreciate that the situation you are reacting to is out of your control – “It Is What It Is” and therefore your feelings and reactions are more likely to be doing you harm than helping
- Say it – “It Is What It Is”
- As you do this you will find you start to calm down and as you calm down start to move towards action
- Think about what you can control, what you have more influence over
- What are the alternative options you could follow?
- Make a choice – and try it out. If it works great, if not try something else and you will move forwards.
You’ll also find that the very process gives you more control over your emotions
In the commuting chaos example I mentioned above, this might lead you to; find another route, switch from the train to the bus, work from home, carry a spare inner tube and know how to change it, speak with the people around you, or find a nearby coffee shop and take some time to chill or work.
Over time, you’ll find you become more like the Young Pope and less like the Incredible Hulk.
And that is a good thing for your resilience. As well as for the people around you