You’re going to have bad days. Bad weeks. Bad months, even.
They’re going to happen.
You’ll run into obstacles. You’ll experience loss.
You’ll get dumped. A friend or colleague will disappoint you.
Someone will die.
These things don’t happen because your life sucks. These things happen because we’re human beings and this is the real world.
The quality of your life is not dependent upon bad things not happening. Bad things WILL happen.
The quality of your life is far MORE dependent upon what we do WHEN bad things happen.
Can we somehow respond to the negative events of life in such a way that they are not painful? No.
Some things will always be painful.
But can we respond to the negative events of life in such a way that we don’t kick our own ass?
There is always a way to respond to even the most negative life event without digging ourselves into an even deeper hole.
Without self-sabotaging. Without self-harming.
The negative events of life do not have to lead us to self-destructive behaviors— no matter what our history has been.
Negative events in life can be overwhelming and confusing.
Especially when we’re already tired and kind of desperate, negative and painful life events can really put a strain on our ability to cope and function.
You’re not weak for struggling or feeling bad when negative events happen. The fact that they elect those reactions in us is WHY we consider them negative.
But for many of us, the occurrence of negative or painful events has historically been a cue to dive into self-destructive behavior as a way of trying to avoid feeling bad.
Drug or alcohol abuse. Self harm. Impulsive sexual behavior. Suicide attempts.
What ultimately ends up happening, is that as painful as a life event might have otherwise been, we end up in even more pain because of how we responded to it.
Many of us don’t experience those patterns as a “choice.”
All we know is, we feel bad, and we do stuff.
It feels very reactive, very instinctive.
What we need to understand is that we’ve been conditioned into patterns of response.
Most of our conditioning has been with us for a very, very long time. So long that it usually doesn’t even feel like condoning— it feels like behavior that somehow comes from inside of us.
We may think that we are just wired or programmed to respond to painful events a certain way.
But the truth is, we can take control of our response patterns.
It’s not easy, specifically because we are working against decades of conditioning.
It takes persistence, insight, and support— and for many of us, those things are in short supply.
But you are not hopeless.
Your patterns are not set in stone.
Your responses and behaviors will respond to new conditioning.
You CAN learn to respond to the negative and painful events in life in ways that DO NOT kick your own ass.
As with everything, we are talking baby steps.
Baby step, by baby step, by baby step.
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