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When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

 In Blog

There are times in our lives where life just seems to throw us a curve ball or sucker punch might be more accurate. It comes as a complete surprise and your left feeling sad, confused, hurt, or even angry. Sometimes you might feel like everything seems to be going just right and life is good and then WHAM! Curve ball – did NOT see that coming! So now what? What can you do? How do you process that? How do you get through that and still be okay? How do you find that joy again and a desire to smile?

Since this happens to everyone at some point and no one is immune I want to share FOUR things that will help you wade the deep waters of negative emotion and get you securely back on solid ground where you WILL absolutely find your smile again and access to joy.

Step ONE: PROCESS what is REALLY going on

First, you have to process it. What does that even mean??? “process it”?! What? Listen, you can’t figure anything out if you aren’t aware of what’s going on in the first place. When I say process it – I mean you have to look at it…all of it. Every little ugly part of it. Not fun but necessary. Think of it as if you had gotten a deep cut from a piece of machinery. If you don’t look at it and just do a quick fix by putting a bandaid on it and looking the other way, chances are it’s going to get infected, inflamed, and only lead to further injury. So instead, you have to look at the cut. You have to clean it and man, that stuff HURTS! It stings like no other! You have to get any minuscule pieces of whatever out of the wound before you can move on.

How do you do that mentally? How do you look at all the ugly parts? Grab a sheet of paper and a pen and go to town dumping E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G out of your brain. Write down every thought, everything you’re feeling, why you’re feeling that way, how unfair the situation is, how it should be different, how that person shouldn’t have done that thing or said that thing, whatever it is – write it down. Don’t leave ANYTHING out. You don’t have to keep this later – no one is going to see it. This is for your eyes only.

What’s interesting here is that most people won’t do this step. They don’t want to take the 5-10 minutes to do this and so they skip right over it and go straight to thinking about it and how they’re going to “solve” the problem but let me tell you this step is CRUCIAL to moving on. If you don’t get it out of your head your going to end up using even MORE amount of time with those thoughts swirling in your head. You have to get it out.

You know how it feels better when you “vent” or get something off your chest? It’s because it’s OUT of your head. Seriously, take the time, write it down.

Step TWO: CHALLENGE IT

Second, give yourself a little space between step one and step two. After you’re done writing it all down, stand up, walk around, get a hot cocoa, breathe. Then when you’re ready let’s look at the paper. The idea is NOT to edit it. It’s NOT to get to happy land all of the sudden. It’s to look at where you’re thoughts are going and what’s causing you pain.

The things that happen to you in life are circumstances and they are NOT a problem. Circumstances just are. They’re not anything UNTIL you give them a thought, until you label them as “good” or “bad”. Look at your paper. See where your thoughts are. Then ask yourself, what am I making this situation mean? Step two is to challenge each thought you have. Some of those thoughts you’re holding onto aren’t helping you. They’re causing you MORE pain. You don’t want to keep those.

If my child is being dishonest (which is the circumstance) I can make it mean all kinds of things: They shouldn’t do that. It’s not right. Maybe I haven’t taught them enough. They’ll grow up to be liars and criminals. I’m not a good mother. If I were then my kid wouldn’t be doing this. What if the world finds out? What if…

Do you see how thinking like this is going to create more negative feelings for you? So now you look at each thought and ask yourself this:

1.) Is this thought true?
2.) It it useful?
3.) Do I want to keep it?

Ex: “They shouldn’t do that.”

1.) True? Yes! the scriptures say, thou shalt not lie! – Is it true? Is it really true?
2.) Is it useful? – It hurts to think this way.
3.) Do I want to keep it? – I think so. I know they shouldn’t lie. But it makes me so upset.

Now…if it’s not true, if it’s not useful to you and helping you progress or you don’t want to keep that thought you’ll need to go back and find replacement thoughts that will help you progress and get out of the funk you’re in.

Ex: “They shouldn’t do that.”

1.) True? Yes, they shouldn’t do that but kids do lie. They’re learning. They’re supposed
to make mistakes and learn from and then grow stronger from them.
2.) Is this thought useful to you? It feels better, yes.
3.) Do I want to keep it? Yes. I can be more empathetic and patient with these thoughts.

Do this with each thought that is nagging you, that doesn’t feel good, that brings you pain.

Ex: “I must not be a good mother. If I were then my kids wouldn’t be doing that.”

1.) True? No, I don’t really think that. I’ve taught them. I’ve been an example of integrity.
2.) It is useful? No. It’s not. It just makes me feel worse.
3.) Keep it? Better not. It’s not going to help anything and it’s going to make me show up
less than stellar.

Now…replace that thought.

Ex: “I must not be a good mother. If I were then my kids wouldn’t be doing that.”

1.) True? No. I am a pretty awesome mother actually. I love my kids and am always
teaching them, serving them, loving them. What they do is part of their journey.
Just like I make mistakes and need to experience that, they do too.
2.) Is it useful? The new thought is. I’d like to help them in their journey and I can
love them through it because I’m not perfect either.
3.) Keep this one? yeah…this feels better and motivates me to offer a more compassion.

Do you see how taking just a few minutes to challenge each thought can be monumentally beneficial for you? Stop letting those thoughts swirl around. Each time it loops you’re going to just layer thoughts upon thoughts and get yourself stuck in a spiral of negativity. Get off that track and give yourself the gift of peace by being aware of what’s REALLY going on.

Step THREE: Be willing to FEEL what you need to feel

The Third thing you’re going to want to do is to just feel whatever you need to feel. Again, the goal really isn’t to get back to happy land all of the sudden. We’re supposed to experience negativity in our lives. We’re supposed to feel opposition. No, it doesn’t feel good but what feels worse is adding more pain and bitter thoughts to an already un-fun circumstance. So feel what you need to feel. If my child lies I’m not going to want to be happy about it or feel immediately happy afterwards. I’m going to want to choose disappointment or sadness. But I can know that I’m choosing it and because I’m choosing it I can un-choose it WHEN I’m ready. So let the useful emotions stay and drop the unuseful ones (like the guilt that comes with the thought, “I must not be a good enough mother.” – not helpful).

Step FOUR: Give it to God

Fourth, do what you can do and then give it to God. Pray and let his arms enfold you.

“Pray, He is there. Speak, He is listening. You are His child. His love now surrounds you. He hears your prayers. He loves His Children.” – Lyrics from A Child’s Prayer – listen here

He does love His children. He loves you. His love is perfect and infinite and because you are His child you can be perfectly sure He is there with you in your time of need and always.

“You are not alone on this journey. You Heavenly Father knows you. Even when no one else hears you, He hears you…Seek Him earnestly, and you will find Him. I promise you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.”  – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Life’s curve balls can knock you down and catch you off guard but you CAN get back up. You can rise and become stronger because you know how to handle and process your thoughts. You will feel better. These times don’t last forever. Remember the steps, apply them and you will succeed through the tumultuous seas of life.

Recap:
1.) Process what’s really happening – Get it OUT of your head.
2.) Challenge each thought – do you want to keep it? Is it helping you?
3.) Feel what you need to feel.
4.) Do all you can and then give the rest to God.

I’ve been there. I’ve been given major curve balls that have knocked me down and knocked the wind right out of me. It’s scary sometimes because you really don’t know HOW it’s going to be okay. You don’t know WHEN you’re going to feel better again – IF you’re going to feel better again. But I promise you, you will get through this. I promise you if you do these steps through the whole thing you will rise stronger, more level headed, and you will learn and grow and gain experience from these times. They don’t have to be ALL BAD. They can be a blessing by what you take from it. I know you can do it.

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