Sometimes life gives us more disappointment than we are almost able to bear. Of course, there is plenty of joy also, and I do not ever forget that. That fact does not help, however, when I am having a pity party. I had one of those days this week, not helped at all by a gloomy weather day. Since I am by nature an optimistic person, those days do not throw me very often. This week, however, it did. I had a hard time pulling myself out of it. The purpose of sharing this with my readers is not to garner sympathy, but to relay what helped me get through it.
First of all, what does not help? When I am down, it does not help me for friends to try to help me focus on the positive. I know the positive. Nor does it help me for others to point out that this will pass, for I know that also, of course. It does not help me for others to tell funny stories or talk about what is going on with them. If I have been open enough to bear my heart with you, be caring enough to hang in there and do just a couple of simple things.
Ask me, “How can I help?” And listen to my answer. Be willing to stay in conversation with me unless you have an urgent need to be elsewhere. Don’t be prescriptive and tell me what I need to do to pull myself out of it. Please, I ask my friends to be able to walk through this with me. If you are truly my friend, you know I will not stay down long. Longer this time than most times, but still not long.
Do you know what you need the most from your friends and loved ones when you are feeling depleted? It is important to know what we need and to be able to ask for it if it is not offered, recognizing that in the asking, the other person may get defensive. We need to know ourselves well enough to be able to gauge how honest we can be about these things with others. With some people, we can have an open conversation that is safe, and yet not be able to have these conversations with others. What we do not need is to get into a conflict when we are trying to get support.
A good resource for us is Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages. When we need something from others, we should remember their dominant love language, or we may ask for it in a way that will assure we will not get what we need.
What helped me to pull myself out of this mood this week? Getting busy physically, and getting out of my head. Also, thinking about how I could help others, and reaching out to them. Doing something for someone else always helps me focus less on myself. I needed to focus less on myself to get through that day. I walked some and read some. No, the problems creating the disappointments did not magically disappear, but my mood lifted, and I was able to deal with them in a healthier way.
An observation, not about this day of mine this week, but a general observation. I have noticed that many people are more self-absorbed lately than ever before. There does not seem to be enough caring about what other people are going through. Not enough tangible ways that people are reaching out and helping others in need. I am sure this is true about me as well as others. I think we need to be aware of this and find ways to begin to come together more. Let’s not blame it on our divisive political climate, for that is too easy. If we show more caring to others, it is possible there will be less division in general.
I care less about your political party affiliation than I do your human affiliation. Let’s reach out and touch someone in a manner that is most meaningful to them. If we don’t know how, we can begin with a conversation and see where it takes us.