How to Bounce Back

The boss comes to your cubicle with a pink slip. You swipe your ATM card, only to find that your balance is… nada. And just when you think it can’t get worse, the romance in your life comes to a screeching halt.

The anxiety of life’s pitfalls can be excruciating. Emotional pain is just as real as physical pain, and in some ways, it’s harder to endure because we don’t know when we will heal. But when the unexpected hits, we can either sit in a room blowing up black balloons because our ex has moved out, the IRS is threatening to take our house or our job has vanished – or we can get off our butts and start the step-by-step process of getting over it and moving on.

The first step is to drop the “why is this happening to me” attitude real fast – because we have all been over life’s potholes. The ones who are still smiling haven’t necessarily had it easy – they are joyous in the knowledge that they have endured!

So let’s run down some of life’s big, big bummers and find out just what it takes to make it through to another day.

You put in your years as an assistant. You invented a brilliant new way to bring profits to the shareholders. You learned golf to schmooze with your boss. You showed up every morning wondering, how can I make this company better? Then, out of the blue, you were told to empty your desk. Something here doesn’t add up, right?

No, it doesn’t. It’s possible that your job was a casualty of the bad economy, but there’s also a chance that this is not the place you wanted to be. Consider the possibility that you’re trying to sell almonds to people who prefer walnuts, and start asking yourself some questions, so you can really learn from this experience. Did your ideas really gel with your coworkers? Did you make the effort to get to know the people who could have promoted you? Did you really, truly want to work there?

And then, you’re ready to tackle the big question: what is my real dream job, and what is the first step I have to take to get it?

Serious panic at the ATM? The divorce wiped you out, the doctor’s bill came, or maybe it’s the good old, “I just don’t know where the money went.” Being broke is one of the realities of our shifting economy and the uncertainty of well, life. But, what’s great about being broke is there is a clear solution – make more money. Lay your pride aside and jump into the workforce – or get a second job. Make coffee, sell clothes, flip pancakes – whatever.

There is no shame in making money. There is only shame in pretending that you don’t need to. So get off the couch and fill out applications. Sign up with a headhunter, and remember – money follows money. Make some, and pretty soon you’ll make more.

This may be the most acutely painful surprise life has in store for just about everyone. Whether it’s the cute redhead in seventh grade or the dream girl you thought was waiting for you at the altar, the out-of-the-blue dumping is a bullet to the heart. For this one, you are gonna do some wallowing – but set limits for yourself, or you could be stuck for years. The biggest surprise about the sucker-punch breakup is when you wake up… and you are alive the next day. And the day after that. The big reveal is: life goes on.

So, okay, you get to wallow – for a while. Then it’s time to dig in, and figure out how in the world you didn’t see it coming. Were you honest with yourself about who this person really was? Did you recognize who you were in this relationship? Honesty is the first step to spiritual growth… and, wow – do we ever grow when love shatters.

Is there a magic formula for pushing past life’s dark events? Not yet. But there is magic in the acceptance of life’s events. Even in the midst of everything slipping away, there is freedom in detachment and the knowledge that all things are temporary. Yes, it hurts. But it won’t hurt forever. “This too, shall pass.”

So good luck picking yourself up off the floor. Just remember to always learn your lessons, never settle – and pretty soon you’ll be on to a bigger, better life!

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