When everything seems to go wrong…
Take a deep breath…and let it out. You are going to be okay!
What a load of… (nuh uh) I think I’m going to stop you right there and tell you why I am certain that you’re going to be okay even when it feels like your life is falling down around you.
A couple of weeks ago…
Monday dawned with the promise of morning heavy in the air. I took in a deep breath, kicked off the covers and walked to the living room. Clad in my tights, my muscles trembled in anticipation of a good workout. Having said my morning prayers, I set up my laptop to begin exercising.
I pressed the power button. Nothing! “One more time,” I thought, “a little longer maybe.” Yep! You guessed right <DING! DING! DING!> Nothing! Blood rushed to my ears as my heartbeat set off in a trot; my final year project was on this thing! Worst case scenarios rose unbidden in my mind, setting off alarms in the control centre of my brain. I am doomed!
Or was I?
#1. Don’t Panic
I know! It seems pretty vanilla, right? Maybe even a tad anticlimactic. There’s no other way to say it.<shrugs shoulders> Don’t panic!
When all the questions on the test paper seem to be from next year’s class, don’t panic! If he is not calling you or sending you sweet texts anymore, don’t panic! When the bottom line is tending towards negative, don’t panic! Keep your wits about you.
Keep your cool, always!
Your wits fly out the window the second panic lights a fire in your mind. Running around like a headless turkey will do nothing to get you out of the mire you’re in. If anything, it’ll set you on a crash course; one that can be quite easily avoided.
That’s my first piece of advice; don’t panic! Keep your cool! Keep your wits about you (at all times)!
Back to my story…
15 minutes and about 10 tries later, something finally clicked in my brain. The laptop was not powering on anytime soon. Borrowing my sister’s laptop seemed like the next best thing. I had yet to write 3 practical ways to get unstuck; my previous blog post. So, I did.
By the time I was through, exercise was no longer possible. I peeled off the tights and prepared for the day. We were meant to leave home at 9:00am but one thing led to another and we left close to 11:00am. I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t get that workout in because I wore a path into the living room tiles with all the pacing and toe-tapping as I waited for us to leave.
My heart dropped a little further as the clocked ticked away the seconds. It would be noon soon and I had yet to get my laptop diagnosed! “Will I get anything done?!” I wondered to myself as the taxi pulled to a stop at the city square.
I did not wait for the wind to reply…
Clutching my bag to my body (lest anyone make an early Christmas present of my comatose laptop), I strode into the first commercial plaza that had laptop repair stickers on its walls. Smiling at the gentleman with a joy I did not feel, I told him to replace the screws my laptop was missing (I had been procrastinating their replacement and I thought my laptop was retaliating). The kind gentleman smiled at me and said, “Sure! That’ll be 5000 UGX”
“For 4 screws!” the words pushed past my lips before my brain could register their intent. Smile gone from his face, the gentleman nodded and confirmed my fears; all the money in my bag was going to go towards four little pieces of metal. Taking a deep breath, I told him to replace the screws. I was willing to pay and wake up from the nightmare that my day had morphed into.
The pace with which I had strode into his repair shop lingered making me antsy. The gentleman told me to have a seat and calm down; turned out a few screws would not heal my laptop’s ailment.
#2. Slow down and gain perspective
“Are you kidding me right now?!!!” you say.
Nope! I’m dead serious. Slow down! Hold your horses! You’re just going to run people over as you plow blindly through whatever your entanglement is. Take a deep breath and let it out. Stand or sit still and force your entire body to slow down.
Practice this calming technique; Breathe in, hold your breath for 4 seconds and let it out slowly then repeat the whole process until you feel calm. Listen to calming music for just 3 minutes. Stop whatever your doing for a few seconds and calm down.
Think through your mess…
… and see if there is a place to start disentangling it from. It’s kind of like getting the Christmas lights ready for the tree. They usually leave storage in a messy tangled ball but cannot be hung on the tree like that. If you start trying it pull them apart without a second’s pause, you might be adding Christmas lights to your shopping list very soon. It is common practice (at least where I have been) to look for a single place where the unraveling can begin before you actually start.
Your situation is like this. There is no mess in the world that cannot be cleaned up. No situation is too problematic to be gotten out of or triumphed over. You just need to use your brain not your fists sometimes.
This is my second piece of advice; slow down and gain perspective before you try to unravel the messy ball of Christmas lights. Hold your horses! The situation isn’t going anywhere (You don’t need to rush and crash)
#3. Do something about it
Ignoring your problem doesn’t make it go away. Doing something about it does.
Breaking all the mirrors in your house to avoid seeing your expanding waistline won’t make it stop expanding. Healthy eating and exercise will. Avoiding the bank to be spared the truth of your due loan payment will not make the payment vanish. Paying it off will.
It is common sense really!
If you want to get out of the situation you are in, do something about it! Quit waiting for someone else to do it for you. Don’t whine about it! If you’re truly and honestly unable to do anything about it, team up with someone to help you until you get your feet back under you. But don’t just sit there with tears rolling down your face hoping that a fairy will come and wave her wand to make the problem go away. (Even Cinderella had to pull out the second glass slipper from her apron pocket. It can’t have been comfortable carrying it around like that!)
The bottom line is SOMETHING has to be done to change the situation lest it remains the same.
Sadly, this story doesn’t have a good ending…
I got the laptop fixed (yey!) but couldn’t post until about 11:30 pm because of a problem that took me a while to identify. (My wits were long gone) I became grumpy and horrid to be around. All manner of negative thoughts and self-condemnation made a home in my mind plummeting my mood even further. My supervisor all but called me incompetent when I presented the meager progress, I had made on my final year project. The day ended with a colossal fight with Mr. Smiles and I felt like such a cad about it.
I learnt a lesson from all this though…
#4. Guard your mind and heart through the fight
Impossible situations are the perfect growth climate for weeds of self-pity and low esteem. Confidence is usually silenced in the noise of life’s storms. We ought to fence off our hearts and minds and beat off the crows of negativity that threaten our field of confidence.
Speak truth and life into yourself
Even if it means doing affirmations and listening to upbeat music. If you don’t want to be swept downstream, you have to fight the current with all you’ve got. When you feel your strength failing, hold a friend’s hand to pull you through. I have found that God holds me through all the storms life throws at me. His truths lift my mood and remind me of who I really am; the child of a King, more than a conqueror. God is always there for me and he is always there for you too.
The entire week turned sour…but it ended!
I am stronger for it. I would not willingly go through it again, but to learn the lessons I did about praising through pain and to gain the strength of character that I did.
You will survive to thrive!
The situation you’re in is not here to stay! Your mind is lying to you if you think its permanent. I hope you get out of whatever mess you find yourself in.
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