Q: I’m depressed with the situation in my workplace and the world. I’m putting one foot in front of the other but can’t see any light at the end of this tunnel. How do I keep going with the idea it is only going to get worse?
A: You can keep going with the idea that it’s only going to get worse understanding that nothing absolutely nothing lasts forever. If we like our current moment…it will change. If we don’t like our current moment…it will change.
Currently our business environment is constricting. Businesses aren’t expanding, organizations aren’t hiring, and money is tight. Business and everything else in nature goes in cycles.
My kids and I received cherries from a neighbor’s tree. We decided to try planting them. A trick to seed planting is to put the seeds first in the freezer simulating winter. After suffering through the cold the seeds burst forth when planted and so will our economy after this winter.
Seeing both cycles of contraction and expansion means we rest during contractions and work hard riding the waves of subsequent expansion. Believing that bad times last forever means we are ill prepared for the eventual surge of activity.
Yes, we’ll have more adversity. No this may not be our last pandemic and certainly we can guarantee it’s not our last crisis. However permanent pessimism is not an effective strategy.
If we chase the outgoing tide during expansion, we’re too tired to work when that tide comes in. Intense adversity introduces us to dark places inside ourselves. If we avoid these uncomfortable feelings we make decisions that worsen our circumstances.
If you can tolerate the dark places inside yourself you’ll find your soul resides there. There’s an irony that we only find the angels of our best selves during our most hellish moments.
The Bible has a quote about experiencing our soul in places we fear will kill us, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You (the divine) are with me.” We often only meet our soul, and discover our resilience when there is no alternative.
I’ve had clients say, “I’d rather die than feel those feelings.” My response is, “Then you’ll never truly live because all your decisions will be based around avoiding those feelings!” The bottom line truth is what we resist persists. The fear we face loses power.
Many situations in life can throw us into intolerable emotions. If we can lean into what we fear that hell loses all power over us. If we love ourselves enough we’ll be willing to walk through that hell to obtain permanent freedom and a rich life.
Obviously I’m not advocating that you seek hell out. However, when hell seeks you out walk through the intolerable feelings. If not hell will continue to stalk you and you’ll have to keep running. The older we get the slower we run from hell.
After over 30 years as a therapist and executive coach I’ve learned everything we really want is on the other side of our internal hell. The difference between those who will and those who won’t walk through hell is a question of whether you believe you’re worth getting to know.
If we cannot grow and learn while we are suffering then we will never transform anything about ourselves. The way we learn to suffer and change at the same time is to turn and face the feelings we believe will kill us. Otherwise, we can change our geography, change our circumstances, or change our jobs but we never change the one thing we cannot escape…ourselves.
The last word(s)
Q: I’m losing my mind with my kids at home and trying to work. Am I a bad mother?
A: Nope, you are a human being that is learning that multi-tasking is an illusion. Until childcare and school resumes, lower your bar for parenting and work.
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)