#Being human #adulting #coping skills
I have no coping skills
Seriously, like what would my life look like if I did? I make myself the victim of everything and everyone in my life. I have no idea what healthy boundaries look like because I’m either too severe when I draw them, or have none at all with people I adore. I give away my power in relationships, friendships and otherwise, and I come from a line of people who all do this. I think we tend to inherit coping skills or lack thereof. How did I get this far? In all honesty in a lot of ways I’m farther along than a lot of people I know. In terms of communication skills and general common sense and how things work, but coping skills—let’s define those first. How about the ability to thrive and succeed graciously when things get tricky. The ability to navigate stress, adversity, and failure…without identifying with them. (Sidenote: Hmmm. What the heck is the guy outside the coffee shop window doing? He is in a jacket that looks like a patchwork quilt, black suit pants and seems to be stretching in a way that I would be if I were about to perform martial arts or circus tricks—-hmmm.) Anyways back to what is at hand here. Stress—let’s take things personally and chain-smoke, internalizing everything and making myself right, others wrong, get that blood pressure up and avoid the situation. Accommodate others politely like a good passive aggressive northeasterner and pretend nothing is wrong then silently or loudly (to your friends) resent it. I totally recognize how ineffective and unhealthy this is. Then there is adversity—what do you do when somebody is an asshole? I used to think I was pretty good at handling this sort of thing because I handled it by confronting the problem and sharing my feelings and needs with another being, but then I realized truly healthy people don’t actually rise to the occasion, they rise above it because they realize that the other person’s dysfunction is theirs and theirs alone. They don’t actually get struck emotionally; they kind of observe others and carry on…sometimes they even develop relationships with the dysfunctional people and use humor to diffuse. The biggest difference between them and me in diffusing the situation is that they don’t feel as though they have taken a submissive role and given up their power in doing so, whereas I feel completely obliterated and want to avoid the other person at all costs. Correction—my inner child feels outraged and injured, the adult me observes. A therapist taught me that distinction once. It helps. Then there is failure. I am so easily discouraged. I need to develop persistence as that is the biggest tool for success. Setbacks mean nothing, mistakes are learning, failure does not define you—Oh yes it does. Look how I failed at that once or how that person was mean to me and didn’t want me to do what I wanted to do and was good at so I stopped doing it. Sigh. I’ll get this. I am adulting.
I am developing coping skills. One that I am trying to get the hang of is that where you put your energy grows, matters, and is of choice to you. Whereas before I often wasted so much energy trying to work something out or solve a problem or challenging relationship, now I try to be more and more aware of what I’m choosing to focus on. I like the notion that thoughts become things and try to harness my own creative force in that way. Being productive, creative, loving, and while not expecting things to be peachy or easy all the time, kind of letting the rest of it lie. I used to say fuck it but that is in itself loaded with energy. Oh the resistance, the bracing, the fight. I used to fight everything, including so many parts of myself. I try to give that up. You know what my favorite tool is, though I don’t know if you could call it a coping skill and that is sitting and feeling all the things you want to feel in life for as long as you want to sit there and feel those. Feeling loving, powerful, healthy, resilient, peaceful, focused, productive. It’s so awesome.
But the one I really want to master is feeling like the master of my own destiny rather than being victim of what people want of me and part of that is letting go of control, the other part of it seems to be staying on course and not being such a people pleaser. Life is so so short. And you never know how much time you have. So do what you need to do so you can do what you want to do. Don’t be a yes man. Invest in people but don’t let relationships drag you. Your time is yours and you are always doing what you want to do. Now if I can just nail the execution…..I let time slip away and I get caught in doing what I’m supposed to do and people pleasing without the balance of making the time to do the important things that actually invest in me and my life and create the things I really want. Take back my time. Time to watch a TED talk on procrastinating…or read that book a friend recommended Super Human Focus.