But I was not alone. Three friends also shared stories of bad news and adversity last week. Although we all suffer at some point in life, it's how we face our struggles that separates us.
My last post was about letting myself feel the myriad of emotions attached to life's valleys. A friend who read it and who has faced her fair share of challenges, shared some advice that I think hits the nail on the head: life is about showing up. Darn right it is.
When I feel sad or depressed my natural default state is to withdraw from the world. Sometimes that means pulling the covers up over my head. Sometimes I need that time to regroup and replenish my spirit and soul. This past week I did a little bit of that but I also knew that I needed to balance that with connection - connection with friends and family, and connection with purpose. In this case, my purpose was work.
Although there were many times that I felt like crying (sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't), I persevered. As I often say, it was one foot in front of the other.
But here is the bigger question: how can our point of view impact our recovery from trauma or bad news? Yes, bad things happen. Does that mean that the world is an awful place? Some people would answer yes to that question. My answer is no. And that is the key.
I have written about automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) in the past and I think it's a concept worth revisiting in this context. We are all human beings and it's natural to think negative things at times, especially when faced with the worst. Acknowledge your pain, sadness, and anger - don't push it away. But then make a choice as to which path you will take. Do you want to move forward and find happiness? Or do you want to stay where you are?
It may be a hard question to answer and taking the steps forward can be terrifying. As Maya Angelou said, "You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated."
I found comfort this week. There was comfort in friends who hugged me and let me cry. There was comfort in focusing on work. There was comfort in snuggles with my nephew. Sometimes when bad things happen to us, it also shows us the good in this world.