How to Bounce Back

Oh Internet there are so many things I want to tell you.  These past two weeks have been full of the best and worst things about life (as it usually happens).

I've been so encouraged and inspired and held by all your thoughts, and well wishes, and prayers.  I really couldn't have made it out the other side without all of you.  So, thank you, thank you, thank you.  I wish I could hug you all.

I've also learned a great deal and accomplished a lot.  Some it I'd rather not share as I want to respect and honor Brian's and my privacy.  Not to mention we each have our own sides of the story.  I'm sure if you asked him he might tell a different version-which is ok.  And I really do wish him nothing but the best.  He's a good guy.  Just not the one for me, sadly.

There are, however, generalities I think worth putting out here.  As what I've learned and struggled with are universal-you have an expectation and when it doesn't get met you feel awful about it.  Regardless of if that's getting a job, losing a loved one, not finishing a race.  We all feel grief and sometimes need reminders on how to ride out its storm.

So without further ado and in no particular order here's what's helped me.  I hope it helps you too.

1.  Somethings happen that you aren't meant to understand.
Will I ever truly, fully, completely comprehend why my mother died?  Or what was going through Brian's head when he so casually dumped me?  No.  No I will not.  You can guess and speculate and make assumptions about why things didn't turn out the way you hoped.  You can replay every second of the situation looking for the reason why.  You can grasp at the answers so violently that before you know it you're accosting him at the bar demanding that he answer.  Except he can't (*and you'd never really do that, would you?).  And even if he could, would it really satisfy you?  Probably not.  Who knows why you didn't get that job?  Why your best friend is moving away.  You just didn't.  She just is.  And would the answer change anything?  No.  So the quicker you can stop asking yourself, "Why?" the quicker you can get on with things.  Which will make everyone in the bar much happier.

2.  Self flagellation is not attractive.
I mean really.  That constant loop playing over and over and over in your head.  The one that tells you all the things you did wrong.  The coulda, woulda, shoulda.  Yeah you gotta kill that one and quick.  Sure you probably screwed up in some way.  We all do.  But you can't change that now.  What's happened has happened.  Make a note of the valid points, apologize to yourself and anyone else you might need to, then silence the rest.  Playing that soundtrack on repeat is the quickest way to find yourself up to your elbows in ice cream and desperation.  Neither of which is flattering or necessary.

3.  Now is not the time to self destruct.
Yes I know you want to drink wine, eat ice cream, and wallow.  But now's not the time to over do it with junk.  Seriously.  You feel crappy enough as it is without the hangover and sugar rush.  And as hard as it is to pry yourself away from whatever your poison of choice is, I promise you you're going to feel a lot worse when at the end of all this you discover not only were you dumped but you gained 10 pounds.

4.  Nourish yourself.
Take baths.  Connect with friends.  Read a book.  Do yoga.  Get a massage.  Do whatever it takes to make yourself feel loved because you're going to need a lot of that to get over this.

5.  Feel your feelings.
Give yourself permission to feel all your feelings.  And I mean all of them.  What you're going through sucks and you have every right to be hurt and sad and angry even if everyone tells you you're better off.  Feelings are real and the more you ignore them the stronger they become.  So let them out.  You need to be sad for a day and cry on the floor about it-do it.  You need to scream obscenities at the top of your lungs for an hour-do it.  Do it and let it go.  Because, "No feeling is final."  Another will come-a better one-but you gotta get the icky ones out first.

6.  Get out of your head and into your car.
There are going to be times when those feelings you're feeling are intense and you just need them to stop because wallowing in bed for a week is unacceptable (and self flagellation unattractive, remember?).  When that happens get up.  Get up and shake your body around.  Go for a run.  Go for a drive.  Plant something.  Do yoga.  Dance in your underwear.  Do whatever it takes to stop the flood.  To distract yourself.  To change the chatter.  To give your mind something else to wrestle with.  Sure it might be a Band-aid on a severed leg but you gotta start somewhere.  Up and moving is as good a place as any.  Not to mention it's rather hard to run and sob at the same time-trust me I've tried.

7.  Remember-it really is for the best.
And yes you might want to punch a person in the face when they tell you this.  Try not to.  But do try to hang onto that message.  Because chances are bad things have happened to you before and with time you've turned out just fine.  Better even.  Reminding yourself of that from time to time will help you make it across the Swamp of Sadness to a more beautiful shore.

8.  Wash, rinse, repeat.
Do this.  All of this.  Over and over and over again.  Until you don't need to.  Then keep doing it because they're all good tips for living whole hearted and authentically.  And if you can do that then the next bad thing that happens won't knock you down so hard.

Thank you to everyone who's helped me do these things recently.  I'm so blessed and I love you all.


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