Saturday, November 21, 2009

6 Steps Not to Take When You've Hit Rock Bottom

We have all found ourselves at one time or another experiencing the agony of the rug being pulled out from under us, and finding ourselves sitting on our bottoms wondering where to go from there. Nowadays things are rough; the current state of the economy has caused mortgages to be recalled, people are facing bankruptcy, divorces, loss of jobs... all these events can be coined as hitting rock bottom where an individual, regardless of age is facing the need to start over in a situation. Yes life is always in constant motion and that you can bet on... "nothing remains the same," the economy will recover and so too the individual situations that have hit rock bottom.

One of the advantages of "bottoming out" in any situation is that there is really nowhere else to go. The efforts of attempting to halt the downward spiral have ended; as well as the sleepless nights and worries that have all gone with it. Soon enough it becomes evident that it is time to shift gears in a new direction. Indeed necessity is the mother of invention! There is a saying that when you hit rock bottom there is only one place to go but up... and to some degree it is true. You do have to pull yourself to your feet at some point and start moving again. Why not make the best moves you can, and take opportunity by the hand by avoiding the following 7 steps to repeated failures.

Step #1... Holding it all in.

As in any ending, a loss warrants a grieving process and a recognition of what point of that grieving process you are in. Bottling up what ever emotions that have arisen from the situation is only setting yourself up for ill health and an unexpected re-occurrence of all these emotions in the future. They really should be recognized for what they are, respected as legitimate, and dealt with. As in any grieving process there are steps you can expect to go through. Initially you may want to deny that anything has taken place. "Life goes on," you will say to yourself. This stage may last a few moments or longer.

Then you may find yourself withdrawing from those around you: friends, co-workers, even family. You may find yourself angry: at the world, at yourself, at the situation, or even at others involved. Perhaps bargaining with God, or making oaths to yourself about never going down that path again. And then suddenly feeling numb, although the anger and sadness may still remain underneath. Finally when all these emotions have been faced and they begin to subside, you will find yourself simply accepting the reality of the situation. Having so many strong feelings can be very stressful..Be gentle on yourself.
Treat yourself with the same respect and dignity as you might for someone else who would turn to you in a similar situation.

Step#2... The glass is half empty!

Grieving is one thing, but wallowing in self pity and negative energy is just plain self destructive. It would be a good time to start counting your blessings and turn your perspective around, to allow yourself to look at your world with fresh new eyes. There are no failures, just ineffective solutions! Take stock of your assets, both the tangible and intangible. These will be your tools to rebuild with. You can not fail in rebuilding if you have tools in hand. Look for the positive sparks you have within you that can light your way to a new path.

After all with every ending comes the promise and optimism of new beginnings. Opportunities now await you that you may miss if you are not open to receive them. You have survived the fall, you have gained valuable life experiences that have just made you both wiser and stronger. You have a world of opportunity in front of you with all the freshness that a start over offers. You have cast off the chains that the situation bound you in and the weight is lifted from your shoulders. See and feel the blessings in that.

Step#3... It all ends to begin again.

Life is a never ending set of cycles, and if we don't take the time to investigate where we tripped and stumbled within a cycle, we are more or less doomed to repeat it. Awareness is always the first step to change. Take some time to evaluate the steps that led up to the situation bottoming out. Be honest about the situation and your role in it. Much healing and learning is fostered in honesty. Identify the shifts in attitude and choices necessary for you to adopt in order to avoid the cycle repeating it's self.. In all honesty the only changes you can effectively set into motion and control are your own actions and perspectives. If circumstances happened that were out of your control, accept it for what it was worth. There is no sense of you beating yourself up for things that were out of your hands, yet you now can identify similar situations in the future, and with your new found experience readjust your choices.

Step#4... Turning to comfort food.

There is no comfort in inanimate objects, whether it be food, alcohol, medications and the likes. Recovering from a loss and its stresses that the event naturally places on you will pass more quickly, with good self-care habits. It helps to have a close circle of family or friends. It also helps to eat a balanced diet, drink enough non-alcoholic fluids, get exercise and rest. Do good for your body and your soul. Enough bad has occurred already... mitigate the losses! Network with friends, colleagues and support groups if necessary. Don't make the mistake of leaning on crutches; stand up on your own and rally your support. But make sure this is positive support; it is imperative to block out all negative sources of comfort no matter how well intentioned they may seem.

Step#5... Jump in feet first.

"Failing to plan is planning to fail," we have all heard it being said time and time again. But there is considerable wisdom to this old adage. It puts you in control again. And that is where you need to be in order to catch the next wave of opportunity. Because with every ounce of uncertainty, there is always an equal ounce of opportunity. Set up goals for yourself, as well as what it would take to accomplish them. Where do you want to go from here? Don't look at the impossibilities. Consider the planning process as free of limitations. Map out your dreams and desires. Then prioritize them.

Set strategies to accomplishing these priorities. Understand that any obstacle is only one point in the plan. An area you need to slow down and strategize carefully for your success. Not a point where you must turn in disappointment. Set realistic target dates as stepping stones for you to walk on, and promise yourself to go there. Finally close your eyes and visualize yourself accomplishing all you set out to do. In doing this you are conditioning your mind to a set course of action and focus. You now have direction, and can see yourself getting there.

Step#6... Act as if nothing happened.

You have made a come back, and that is worthy of celebrating! Always take the time to smile at your accomplishments. Don't let your hard work go by unrewarded, nor wait for someone else to acknowledge in you what you already know. Rewards are tokens of encouragement that can spur you onwards and upwards. By you acknowledging your own efforts, you are in control of your own personal responsibility and happiness. Then you will never falling short of recognizing and feeding from the positive vibe your victory created. Use this momentum to propel yourself even further forwards.

Situations in life are always present and changing. That is the fluidity we must learn to balance ourselves in, not unlike a surfer on their board. We find ourselves having to get on and standing up time and time again. Often having little choice about it, because we are miles away from shore. Losses and trials are conditions we as humans all share in, a bit of brotherly compassion goes a long way. In as much as you were sensitive to any kicks while you were down, try hard to remember not to do it yourself, and maybe we all can survive to surf another day!.

"If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone." - John Maxwell