Tag Archives: coping

When life hits hard, challenge your challenges

December 4th, 2016

lifeYou’re on the bumper of the guy in front of you, frustrated beyond belief that there’s traffic for some reason today, when you need to make an important meeting. As you’re pulling into the parking lot late, it starts to rain. You try sprinting to the door, but slip and hurt your ankle. After a second to collect yourself, you think, ‘why is everything going wrong today?’

After taking a step back, many realize how often these situations happen; everything seems to crash down all at once, usually at the most inopportune times. Your kid gets sick, work gets busy, and you and your spouse have been having martial disputes. Why don’t these life challenges sometimes feel more spaced out? I looked to physics for an answer to this question. Murphy’s Law simply states that anything that can go wrong will. Feels familiar, doesn’t it?

I went searching for this answer after going through an impossibly hard month. On my way to a work meeting, I was in an accident and totaled my vehicle. It was the first car accident I had ever been in, and I was devastated. To my complete and utter shock, not even two weeks later, I was hit in a rotary while borrowing my parents’ car. A couple of days later, I came down with a cold that seemed to hang on forever. That same week, the kitchen sink broke and I could be seen washing dishes in my bathtub. The next week, I faced stolen packages from the stoop of my apartment. When the month was nearing its end, I felt relieved; did this mean my bad luck streak was finally going to be over too?

On the very last day of the month, one last challenge slipped in; I was awakened to my cat eating rat poison! After a long and expensive trip to the ER, I can finally say that it’s all over. The month has finally ended and there were no casualties (much to my surprise).

So what can you do to counteract Murphy’s Law? Unfortunately, not much. Try to refrain from this pessimistic way of thinking whenever you can, and instead, take responsibility for your life and the circumstances that you can control. The more you feel that you are steering your life rather than having life happen to you, the better. Secondly, expect the unexpected. Life rarely happens how you think it will, even when you’ve taken the same route to a work meeting a hundred times. Take a deep breath and realize that that uncertainty is okay; it’s up to you to react to it the best way you can. Lastly, try to find any good that you can in challenging incidents. Your kid gets sick – it could have been something much worse; work is busy – at least you have a job; you’re fighting with your spouse – maybe you’ll be closer after working through these issues.

The better you become at letting unexpected events roll off your back, the easier you will find your day to day. Ask yourself, will this matter in five years?

Most of the time the answer is no. It’s easy to get distracted and brought down by a million little things that can go wrong, but when you stop to think about it, what really matters? Very little actually; security, health, love, happiness… and will any of those be permanently affected by a minor car accident, or a plumbing issue? The answer’s probably not… so why are you still wasting your precious energy on it?

These are questions that I, too, have to continually ask myself. Challenge your challenges.

Erin Edgecomb is our guest blogger. Erin is a young adult and a member of PPAL

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