2014 was (to put it mildly) a very difficult year. Then, in January 2015, I got a call sharing some bad news. It struck me how relieved I was to hear this bad news. When I thought about why I felt so relieved I realized that, compared to the news I actually expected and was assured from numerous sources I would likely get, this news was much much better even though it was pretty bad news.
We have all heard the cliché “it’s all relative.” And I suppose in some ways it really is but to me that reduces the reality of bad news or difficult situations. In my circumstances it was about perspective. Not minimizing or rationalizing, but rather getting a clear perspective on the issues I was dealing with.
There are two lessons to be learned. First, it’s important to have clarity when faced with challenging or bad news. Look at the ENTIRE picture not just part of it. Second, make sure you are giving equal attention to all the possibilities. Frankly, despite the fact I am generally balanced in my view, I had resigned myself to the worst possible outcome. As it turned out, it was about the middle worst (how’s that for bad grammar).
All of us face difficulty. Making lemonade out of lemons is not usually possible despite what the happy-talk crowd wants you to believe. When life hands you lemons they are still sour; I don’t care what you make of them. Here are some steps to maintain perspective:
1. Write down or think about all possibilities. The best case, the worst case and the most likely case.
2. Remember it’s not over until it’s over. A day at a time may be OK, but in my case it was often just an hour at a time. Stay fully in the present and deal with what’s in front of you right now.
3. Eliminate negative distractions, people, events, entertainment, anything that creates negative energy.
4. Remind yourself that’s it’s temporary most of the time
5. It’s supposed to be uncomfortable.