I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but life can come around and kick your ass.
At any time.
For any reason.
Has it ever happened to you?
I’m sure it has. You’re human, right?
Well, so am I.
Life has certainly come around and bitch slapped me a few times.
What might have felt like a big deal to me could have been small potatoes for others.
And vise versa.
Yet the size and structure of our problems don’t really matter because to us, they’re as big as the Universe.
The only thing that does matter is how we respond to them – because that’s the only control we have over them.
So given that I’ve learned a thing or two about life and it’s many, ummm, adventures (sometimes seemingly at my expense), I’ve caught on to a few things.
Most (if not all) of it has to do with personal responsibility. Easier said than done, but one has to start somewhere.
The truth is, we’re responsible for how we interpret things. We’re definitely the ones in charge of how we take action from there.
I’d like to share what I know about how to deal when life feels like it’s ganging up on you.
Perhaps you’ll resonate with what I have to say and find yourself empowered, or at least somewhat enlightened by the time you’re finished reading.
Before I continue, though, I just want to mention that I’m well aware that some problems are much bigger in scale than others.
When life has kicked your ass in a major way and you’re looking at declining health, severe loss and other catastrophes, I still feel these ideas may come into play – especially idea #3.
But I would never downplay anyone’s pain by implying that “we create our own reality.”
Yes, I feel in many ways we do. But I also know that without any deliberate contribution on our part, shit still happens – and sometimes it’s pretty massive. I pay homage to those who deal with such issues.
I’ve watched people become incredibly brave in the face of adversity.
I’m not saying these methods will work perfectly for any and all issues, but they sure do come in handy for the things that play out in our normal day to day lives.
How to Deal When Life Bitch Slaps You
When life bitch slaps you, there are a few things you’ll want to know.
They all have to do with self-ownership. Once you decide to get real with yourself (as I’ve been doing), you start to see things from a far more expanded point of view.
A limited perspective keeps us stagnant. There’s no room for growth when we aren’t willing to keep an open mind.
So in order to triumph when life wreaks havoc, it’s good to be aware of what’s going on within us.
Some of the most effective ways to see things with clarity include:
~ Being an observer
~ Assuming personal responsibility
~ Consciously surrounding ourselves with inspiring people and materials
1 – Being an observer
A while back, I observed something about myself.
I was in the middle of complaining about something. I don’t remember what it was, but it doesn’t matter.
A part of me stepped back and noticed something.
I saw a pattern.
See, life would grant my wishes more times than I’d given it credit for, but I hadn’t noticed.
The reason is because I was too focused on lack.
I realized that I had a tendency to complain on a regular basis. If something actually did work out my way, I would unconsciously find something else that didn’t.
I would zero in on it. I saw nothing else.
One day, in the middle of participating in an internal whine fest, a thought showed up. It went something like this:
“You always complain. Even when life grants your wish, you don’t notice it because you’re addicted to complaining.”
Addicted to complaining.
I didn’t even know that was a thing.
But it was. I knew this because I discovered it within me, once I was willing to be honest with myself.
And honest was what I had to be.
Capable of getting real about my issues and not judging them.
That’s one of the keys to dealing when life bitch slaps you.
Self-honesty. The ability to observe and take responsibility for one’s own thoughts, beliefs, opinions and perspectives about life.
Once I recognized this pattern, only because I’d consciously observed it, I realized that I was my own worst enemy.
Life wasn’t screwing with me. I was simply focusing on what I normally paid attention to.
Since my focus was on lack, that’s what I saw. And that’s why even when things did go my way, I didn’t notice.
I wasn’t looking for what I wanted. I only noticed what I believed.
I believed life was against me, so I constantly conjured up proof of what I placed my attention on.
Once I knew this, I was able to change how I looked at things. It’s still a work in progress, but these days, I can see blessings and gifts that would otherwise escape me.
2 – Assuming personal responsibility
I learned a valuable lesson regarding what it means to witness your internal environment.
Once you finally see how this works, it’s time to assume responsibility.
Let me ask you something.
~ What do you focus on?
~ Do you find yourself in a constant state of anxiety?
~ Are you a magnet to drama?
~ Do you complain a lot?
Whatever it is about life that screws with you, you’ll want to examine the role you play in all of it.
I had realized that I had a lot to complain about because that was what lived inside of me, so I was never disappointed in that regard.
But it made me miserable.
Only when I looked at it from the perspective of an outsider and became honest with myself about what I was doing did things start to make sense.
Personal responsibility is about owning what’s inside of you, but first, you have to be willing to be brave enough to face yourself.
You can’t take honest and constructive action if you don’t understand the problem.
While there are plenty of variables that can contribute to life being unfair, unjust and downright painful at times, we can still manage our response.
Especially when it comes to our day to day experiences. This is how we practice true self-awareness.
I would recommend taking inventory of how you participate in your life – starting with how you see things, especially yourself.
Using the example of drama, I had found myself in the midst of plenty of drama at one time and of course, like everyone else, I criticized it.
Then I noticed something.
I was dramatic too.
I would participate in my surroundings with the same level of immaturity that I was so used to condemning.
But once I saw this (and me) me for what it was, I was able to start actually being someone who wasn’t nearly as much of a magnet to the drama I had disliked so much.
I had to look within and assume responsibility for myself. It only happened because I took the position of an outsider looking in and viewed myself as a character playing a role in the movie of my life.
Try it and see what you discover about yourself.
3 – Consciously surrounding ourselves with inspiring people and materials
It’s so easy to get caught up in our thoughts.
Trust me, I speak from experience.
I had once written a post about how I’d become entwined in a whirlwind of negative inner dialogue that overtook my attention. Luckily, I remembered to step back and take a good, hard look at what I was doing and stop it immediately.
When we aren’t aware of what we’re thinking, we become those thoughts. They run our lives.
Anxiety, depression and an overall feeling of doom can take over.
I feel that we carry our wounds with us throughout life.
To free ourselves, it helps to know what lives inside of us. This way, we become aware of who we really are and face it – if we’re brave enough to do this.
In addition to discovering the power of witnessing our inner world and its influence on us, it’s also important to surround ourselves with people and materials that are in alignment with who we’d rather be.
I’ve personally found that when life bitch slaps me, it helps to place my attention on things that can expand my perspective – or at least help get me out of a funk temporarily.
Surrounding ourselves with inspirational people or materials offers us a different experience than the one we’re currently immeshed in.
So I decided to include this thought-provoking film (below) based on the work of Joseph Campbell to help offer some insight into how our inner-world plays itself out in our lives.
We Become What We Focus On
I’m not going to say that I have this whole thing completely figured out and mastered.
I’m a work in progress. I always will be.
I, too, still have my issues.
I work on them, but along the way, I share what I’ve learned throughout my journey. The idea is that perhaps, you’ll recognize a bit of yourself in my stories and examples.
Maybe the tools I share with you will come in handy – or you’ll have your own to share with me in the comments’ section.
Life bitch slaps us when we aren’t looking. It kicks our ass with seemingly no good reason.
But while we may not be able to fix everything that happens – or even understand the big picture, we CAN discover more about ourselves and possibly gain some clarity about how we contribute to at least some of the events that play out in our lives.
Armed with such knowledge, we can then use discernment and find out how to take action from a place of awareness – as opposed to rendering ourselves as constant victims of our lives.
To wrap this up, here’s the film I mentioned earlier.
It’s a little less than an hour and a half long. I think you’ll enjoy it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts now.
Tell me, how do you deal when life bitch slaps you?
Want more bullshit-free wisdom? Check out my latest book “Streetwise Philosophy (A Bullshit-Free Approach to Spiritual Maturity).”
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