You have to be ok with not being ok.
As much as I say that, putting it into practice is a whole other ball game.
Recently, I’ve been trying to get all my locations set and I’ve been making some headway thanks to some amazingly supportive people all over North America (more on that on Friday :)). I have a lot of people I’m still waiting to hear back from…
And I’ve realized that I just have to be ok with not knowing.
…yes, I have to be, but I don’t know yet how to be.
I’m hoping the process is somewhat similar to becoming ok with not being ok in the depression realm of my life. When those sinking feelings come around now, I’m very much like Chris Brogan in that I alert those close to me, and focus on accepting that that’s just where I am at the moment. Then, I get outside and do stuff which almost always makes me feel a little better.
But this: this overwhelming uncertainty of not knowing what’s coming next. This swelling panic of forging new paths through the thick jungles of untraveled territory… I’m having a tough time with it.
So I’m going to talk myself through this right here with you all in hopes that it will help some of you who are just starting to adopt this acceptance as well. I’ll keep it open-ended so that it will work for all situations. Even if you don’t struggle with any diagnoses, this exercise can help you through those tough moments of uncertainty that threaten to beat us all down.
These are the steps toward acceptance that I’ve used with depression and anxiety, that I am hoping will also help me cope with this fear of uncertainty:
1. Recognize it
Whatever class of ovewhelm you’re experiencing, whether it be depression, anxiety, uncertainty or anything else, you must recognize it in order to move out of it.
It seems almost easier to push it away, to deny it. Call it something else like a bad day, or a few nights without enough sleep. Justify it away for too long and you’re lost in the land of denial without bread crumbs to find your way back.
It’s possible to deny away your situation so that you end up so far away from it that you don’t remember what you were denying in the first place, making the solution even more ethereal.
When you start to experience unease, get into the habit of looking within. What are you feeling and why? Recognize it for what it is and have the courage to say, “I am hurting/worried/terrified/panicking/dreading/etc.”
Recognizing and admitting to your feelings won’t give them power. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s like taking out the flashlight when you’re afraid of the dark. If you see the shadows for what they are in the light, they’re not so scary any more.
2. Breathe into it
Take a few moments to just be with your feelings. Doing this will likely bring you up against some major internal resistance.
Your body will fight it.
Your mind will try to focus on something else or block it entirely.
Just breathe into it. Breathe into these feelings and let them be what they are for a moment, however overwhelming they may be.
3. It is what it is
Repeat: “This is just how it is right now, and that’s ok.”
Without placing judgment on your situation or feelings, simply accept that this is what you’re experiencing. Keep those deep breaths going, and find that core place within you to ground yourself in.
You’re still here. You’re still strong. These emotions won’t wash you away. Stick with it.
Repeat this however many times you need to until your breathing calms and you have the ability to see your emotions from the outside, knowing that they are just what they are at the moment. By accepting these feelings, you climb above them to gain a bird’s eye view. From here, you will likely find that this state is transitory.
This will pass, and you’ll make it through stronger for holding on.
4. Take action to do what you can
After you’ve grounded yourself through breathing, you will likely be more able and willing to take action to overcome it.
Go back to the first step and ask yourself again: What am I feeling right now and why?
Take that “why” and let it inform your next actions…
If you are feeling depressed or anxious, there may not be a distinct answer. That’s ok. There is a solution: get outside. Go do something that takes you away from this place you’re in right now. Go to a funny movie. Read a book at a park. Go to the gym. Meet a friend at a coffee shop.
Though moving may be the last thing you want to do right now, it is probably the best thing you could possibly do for your psyche.
If your “why” is a definite cause to your fear or anxiety, and you are truly doing everything you can to move forward on it, you just have to accept that this is how it has to be right now.
This is where we become ok with not being ok. That knowledge that you have taken action and you cannot control the result, can free you if you allow it to.
If you’re still having a hard time, try getting outside, like I recommended to those struggling with unprovoked emotions.
5. Beyond breathing it out
Remember, there is always someone here for you if you feel like it’s just past the point of breathing through it.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Call that person who’s always there for you, or contact a counselor in your area. If it’s an emergency, call these people (who were paramount in my worst times).
Personally, I’m making time to go see my Dr. Pam this week. She’s my therapist and savior, and I almost always feel lighter coming out of there than I did walking in.
The important thing to remember is this: no matter how deep the feeling goes, or how heavy it may seem, you will make it through this.
Just keep breathing.
Next time on Strong Inside Out, we start talking dates for The 30×30 Project Tour! I’m coming to a city near you. Are you gonna come get strong with us? More next time…