Life has been overwhelming lately. The kind of overwhelming that makes me want to draw my curtains, shut my eyes, and sleep until all of the difficult stuff passes.
Fortunately and unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that. This is real life. I have to meet my challenges head-on. Anybody can do well at living when things are good. It's the way that we handle life when things are tough that really defines us.
You will fight with somebody and you will fail at something at least once in life. It's isn't how big or how small we fight or fail, but how we do it. Do you stay honest? Are you true to yourself? Are you being fair? Do you learn? Do you grow?
Everybody reacts differently to conflict. Some people like to exercise, some people like to drink, some people like to shut down, some people like to act out. Me? I like to hide. My first instinct when faced with something scary is to plug my ears, close my eyes, and turn my back. Seriously--plug, close, and turn. Not the ideal reaction. I'm working on it. Luckily, this reaction only lasts for 60 seconds, tops. Because, after 60 seconds, reality hits me. Problems don't disappear when we hide from them. At least not mine. Just because I can't see the monster behind my closed eyes doesn't mean he can't see me.
I've been trying to curb my block-everything-out-and-hide reaction to fighting and failing lately by, of all things, looking up. Not figuratively, but literally. When I feel weighed down and overwhelmed by what lies in front of me or what I've left behind, I simply lift my chin and look up into the sky. The space out there reminds me that everything will be ok. This world is a lot bigger than I am. Its problems are a lot bigger than mine.
Looking up has given me peace in my recent times of turmoil. Since it calms me down so well, I’ve worked it into my confrontation routine. Right now, my process of confronting fighting and failing has been this: 1) Freak out and plan to bail for 60 seconds. 2) Look up and breathe for at least 60 seconds. 3) Meet my problems head on, for however long it takes. React, look up and breathe, act.
Eventually, I'd like to be rid of the plug, close, and turn process. I'll hold on to looking up, though, because that's what helps me stay honest, true, and fair. It helps me approach my fights or failures with a clear head. And with a clear head, I can learn. I can grow. Right now, to me, fighting and failing are the scariest things out there. If I keep meeting them with a lifted chin, though, maybe someday they won't be.