When Life is a Bitch…
As we all know, life can be super challenging, tough, unfair, and simply a bitch.
I have been on my knees a fair few times.
Last time was during lockdown when both my parents died within 9 days. I felt heartbroken and raw for some time.
I pretty much became a hermit during the years of lockdown feeling, processing and making sense of this experience and what it meant to me. I kind of needed this time in solitude.
I was still seeing clients, being a mother, co-parent, sister and friend – but most of all – I was being the best friend I could be to myself, my vulnerability, my grief.
I also went back to therapy during this time, which created a space where I could cry, feel, express and process my deepest thoughts and feelings, and access my inner wisdom.
The nature of life is such that it is full of challenges, small and big.
It could be the loss of someone we loved, the loss of our health, a traumatic event, the painful and messy end of a relationship.
It could be being bullied, financial insecurity, a friend acting in a hurtful and mean way, it could be the experience of loneliness, isolation, or grief and big loss.
These experiences are tough and can bring us to our knees and expose our deepest vulnerabilities.
And here is where resilience comes in.
It takes resilience to get up and deal with the experience and our vulnerabilities, whatever they maybe.
The truth is we can’t avoid challenges.
There is a saying that ‘we can’t stop the waves, but we can learn to surf.’
And this is what Resilience is:
- our ability to surf the waves and storms of life,
- our capacity to withstand difficult life experiences and bounce back from them.
Some people equate resilience with being tough and emotionally unaffected by difficult and hurtful experiences, believing that they just need to ‘toughen up.’
This is a misconception and distortion.
Being resilient doesn’t at all mean we don’t experience stress, vulnerability, helplessness, hurt, heartbreak, pain, loneliness, anger and sadness.
It means to be able to cope with and work through emotional pain and suffering, rather than being stoical and emotionally unaffected.
A tough and unfeeling stance would most likely lead to depression or other emotional or physical difficulties somewhere down the line, or at the very least an inner dullness, numbness and emptiness.
Resilience is about our capacity to feel, to experience, to think about and deal with and recover from difficult life events.
It is about overcoming. For example, overcoming childhood trauma, depression, and loss.
It can also be about adapting. Adapting to change.
For example, we all had to adapt, in some way or another, to lockdown a few years ago.
Being resilient is a process that takes time, perseverance, and a willingness to flex and bend with life and what it brings to us.
The big lesson in the process of becoming resilient is that we can shift our response, our attitude, and behaviours in challenging circumstances.
I love Victor Frankl’s quote, which highlights this:
‘Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’
In other words, between any given life experience and our response to the experience, there is a space, in which we can pause and reflect and work out step by step our very own way of responding and dealing with any given set of circumstances.
What’s been your experience of life being a bitch?
Feel free to message me, if you would like to connect. If you have a sincere intent to share, learn and grow, I am happy to set up a conversation with you.
Kirsten Heynisch, October 2022