Most of us have gone through complicated situations that we had to overcome, life crises that force us to stop our normal life or even close doors for us. We may classify life crises as negative because they make us change how we act or think, but they can also turn out to be opportunities to move forward.
Even though there are many types of life crises, some are more common than others. For example, there are those related to aging, like the transition from childhood to adolescence, youth to adulthood, middle-age crisis, and old-age crisis.
There are also identity-related crises that have to do with who we are and with what we identify with, as well as crises that result from the death of a loved one, a breakup, a divorce, or losing a job.
Crises are opportunities to transform, moments of transition that make you act. Here we explain 4 ways to face these situations with the goal of coming out stronger on the other side.
“Man discovers himself when he measures himself against the obstacle.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry-
1. Face what happens to you
A life crisis may begin with some alarming signs, such as feelings of sadness and fear, anxiety, or even pain. If we pretend we don’t experience these symptoms, they might get worse, resulting in evident symptoms and awful consequences.
We must acknowledge that our personal history affects how we view crises and how we face them. For example, if we go through a breakup, feelings of abandonment might come up due to what we lived during our childhood.
Furthermore, the way we usually tackle problems can be crucial too. If we tend to worry too much about small things, we’re more likely to feel overwhelmed during a crisis, making it more difficult to deal with. That’s why it’s important to reflect over what’s happening to us to seek new alternatives, make decisions, and make the necessary changes.
A difficult situation might also make us rethink our values and beliefs and make us reconsider our goals. Life crises make us evaluate ourselves and learn new ways of approaching difficulties, which is why we can’t stand still and keep going instead.
“Only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.”
2. Know that life crises are temporary
Crises, just like other processes, have a beginning, a development, a climax, and an end. It’s highly effective to train our minds to remember that what happens to us will eventually pass.
But, what do we do to deal with that temporary pain? Crises usually come with opportunities to change, which is why we can take advantage of them to learn other points of view and other ways to take action. Actually, they’re the perfect moments to stop repeating behaviors and attitudes that take us nowhere.
However, the temporary nature of life crises is a double-edged weapon. On one side, it helps reduce the pain while we’re transforming ourselves. But opportunities that come with these crises will also disappear after some time. Our attitude toward them will play a fundamental role. It depends on us to come out stronger or weaker.
“In times of crisis, the heart either breaks or hardens.”
-Honoré de Balzac-
3. Let go of the past
Past solutions have stopped working. The last situation, although if we thought it was better, doesn’t exist anymore. Accepting it will help us manage our emotions better. Even though the past is more comfortable and provides a sense of security, the sooner we recognize what we’re dealing with, the sooner we’ll find new strategies to overcome it.
In many occasions, holding on to the past creates a fake sense of control over the unknown. But during a crisis, we have to face our insecurities and weaknesses. That’s why, instead of using our past as an excuse, we can use it as a reference. This way it’ll be easier to identify the strengths and resources that we forgot we had.
Besides, when we’re not holding on to the past, we can see the future more clearly to reflect on where we want to go. Now, if we’re still obsessed with it, it may obstruct our path and make us think that our goals are impossible to reach.
Therefore, if we do let it go, we’re more likely to realize that the crisis is just a road block in our path. Visualizing the future might even produce new opportunities.
“The problem with the world is that intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”
4. Ask for help
Life crises often fill us with embarrassment and guilt, feelings that can push us away from our loved ones. However, there’s nothing wrong in admitting that we can’t get out of a situation alone. Seeking support from the people closest to us or those who’re going through the same thing may give us strength. It’s important, though, that these people we reach out to are optimistic and willing to help us reflect or ease our anxiety.
We can also reach out to a psychologist to get an unbiased and non-judgmental perspective. A mental health professional can offer us a safe space to talk about our situation and our feelings without any fear. They will help us think of what’s happening and find a solution for it.
What’s important is being aware that there’s no need to go through it all by ourselves. There are inevitable crises that are just part of life. We all go through them. People also experience other crises, the ones that have to do with relationships. That’s why talking to others about it can help us feel understood.
Life crises aren’t necessarily harsh processes, but we can’t ignore them, thinking that they will pass eventually. They’re not easy to overcome and they take time, but they can also be opportunities to find and define ourselves.
“I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew). Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.”