Have you ever heard one of those country music songs in which the singer is lamenting his fate?
Usually it goes something along the lines of his wife has gone run off with someone else, taking his pickup truck and dog with her, and then his favorite wheelbarrow broke, and a drought wiped out his corn, and and and…
…you get the idea.
Well, that kind of thing can happen in real life, albeit in a slightly less twangy scenario.
Many people will one day find themselves at rock bottom, where literally everything in their lives goes wrong all at once and they’re left lying in a heap by the side of the road, whether metaphorically or literally.
Should you find yourself in a heap like that, there are a few solid ways for you to crawl back out of the ditch again.
Accept The Hell Out Of The Situation
Western culture has inundated most people with the idea that we need to be positive all the time, no matter what the situation.
This can actually do far more harm than good, as it forces people to put on a false front of positivity instead of being authentic about the fact that everything has gone to hell, but they are working on making it better.
That doesn’t mean that we should just lie there in that ditch, bemoaning our fate, but rather use the opportunity to be present about the situation so we can better understand it, and the next steps forward.
Really, it’s only by being honest with ourselves about where we are in the moment, and contemplating all the factors that brought us there, that we will be able to extricate ourselves from the slop.
It’s very rare that things happen to us without us contributing to the situation or being involved in it in some way.
Did your relationship fall apart? Now is the time to be honest with yourself about all the factors that led to it.
Did you get fired at work? Okay, why? If you really don’t know, ask your (now previous) employers what led to your being let go.
Make a list of everything you feel has chucked you in the deep end, and take the time to be very self-aware about the factors that led up to each misery.
For example, if your relationship finally ended because you were sabotaging it, because you weren’t “present,” or because your partner/spouse cheated on you, or any number of other reasons, take some time to really figure out why all of that happened.
Were you with this person out of a sense of obligation, rather than a sincere desire to be in a loving, equal relationship with them?
If you were fired from your job, was it because you hated it and were thus lax in your work?
Did you call in sick a lot? Were you passive-aggressive toward others in the workplace?
Did you lose your entire life savings because you went on a shopping spree?
Determine why it was that you felt you needed to buy all that “stuff.” What internal chasm were you trying to fill with material possessions?
Whatever happened, please be compassionate with yourself. We all screw up royally at times, but that’s how we learn and grow.
In fact, determining the contributing factors behind our not-so-great actions is downright epiphanic, because it allows us to make major changes in our lives.
Consider that when you hit rock bottom, you can’t sink any lower. You have the opportunity to use that silty muck full of algae and catfish to push yourself back up to the shimmering surface and start anew.
Be Honest About What Makes You Unhappy, And What Brings You Joy
This goes along well with the previous self-awareness step quite well.
If you lost your job because you hated it, now is the ideal time for a career shift.
What was it about the previous job that you loathed so much? Were you in a career that you went to school for, but resented and sabotaged?
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.