30 For 30/30 #22 – How to Deal with the Hard Stuff in Life with Dignity and Grace

This is the 22nd post in my 30 for 30/30 series where I am publishing a new post each day for the next 30 days within a 30-minute window without much of a plan. You can read about why I’m doing this by clicking this link

It’s not much fun when the hard realities of life appear in your life like a flashing light in your rearview mirror. It gets your attention in a way few things can.

When we’re confronted with these issues, they are rarely without warning and always the result of choices we’ve made. We can complain about it in order to gain sympathy from others, but that doesn’t really help the matter resolve itself.

Confronting reality

The only way to truly deal with the hard stuff in life is to confront it head-on as it arises, learn from the experience, evaluate our past choices, and move forward with dignity and grace.

Here are some suggestions for doing so:

1- See the situation for what it is. Ask and answer the following questions: What are the facts? What brought the issue(s) to light at this time? What choice(s) did you make that resulted in this urgent matter arising now?

2- Avoid becoming overly emotional. When tough things come up in life, most of us experience some emotional reactions. Emotions are natural and shouldn’t be avoided or constrained as a rule as it can lead to a variety of mental and physical symptoms of illness. Rather, following the advice in #1 above, see the situation realistically and after you’ve acknowledged the initial emotional reaction, engage in the questions suggested above.

3- Reach out for support. Whatever the situation, you are never totally alone unless you choose to isolate yourself. It might be tough to do, but there are others in your life who care for you and stand ready to lend some emotional support. Reach out to them as you feel you can. Just because we want to maintain a sense of decorum and not become overly emotional about our choices, that doesn’t mean we have to go it alone. 

4- Be honest with yourself. Keep a journal or computer file for expressing your feelings about the issue(s). Ask and answer the questions posed in #1 above. Work through the emotions and start looking for solutions or ways to cope.

5- Chart a new way forward. Find whatever solutions are most prudent and commit to undertake them. Outline how you can avoid making the same choices that resulted in the issue(s) causing the problems. 

We all have hard stuff that comes up from time to time. We can strive to make the best choices possible and still experience difficulties. That’s life and to think that we can eliminate all sources of stress and suffering isn’t an assumption based in reality.

But we can make positive, incremental changes as we learn from our mistakes and move forward with dignity and grace.

(18 minutes)

By Baz

writer | coach | practical buddhist

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