When life hands you a bowl full of lemons, making lemonade can feel overwhelming. Who wants lemonade when the world as you know it is crumbling around you. I can think of many other beverages that I might be craving during a difficult time, and lemonade has never even made the top ten list. Handling difficult circumstances with the choir around you preaching words of encouragement that come in the form of "it could be worse", "it will get easier", and "you just have to keep a positive attitude", can sometimes make you feel alone or ashamed of your pain. It's okay to feel uncomfortable. It's okay to say that life sucks. It's okay to allow yourself to be sad, angry, and tearful, even if it is uncomfortable for you and those around you. Experiencing these emotions is part of the healing process. Here are some ways to move forward and heal from pain without having to be Mr./Ms. Positive for those around you:
- Take time for yourself. Take a bath, read a book, watch your favorite movie, go for a run, or take a nap. Do whatever helps you rejuvenate. Take a moment to do it, even if it’s for a short while. Even if you feel like you won’t be able to enjoy it like you used to, do it anyways.
- Keep a journal. Write down the things for which you are grateful. It might be the most basic thing like a place to sleep or food on the table. That might be all you are able to be grateful for right now and that’s okay.
- Find a support group. Look for others who may have gone through a similar experience. They might not understand, but find out how they are dealing with things. Their situation is most definitely not the same, but it will be a learning experience, and you may be able to use some of their knowledge.
- Accept support when it is offered. This can be the most difficult thing, but it makes those around you feel useful. The people around you want to feel like they are helping, and it makes them worry less. Even if you really could do it on your own, it’s important to have a support system.
- Find a safe place to mention the unmentionable. Whether it be a church pastor, counselor, or therapist, it is important that you are able to talk about the most difficult things, including the thoughts that scare you. The unmentionable is unmanageable.
Whether you are going through a divorce, battling cancer, grieving the loss of a loved one, or experiencing some other event that turns your world upside down, it is okay to take time to process your experience. It’s okay to grieve your losses, and to take time to search for a glimmer of hope within the darkness.