Based on the recent news--Michael Jackson dies and may have done himself in with some kind of anesthesia, leaving behind a legal swamp of concerns about his children, debt and finances for the family and lawyers to sort out; Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) announces an affair, as does Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC); there is talk of a sex video involving former presidential candidate John Edwards and the woman with whom he is expected of having a love child; Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) announces she'll step down from office this month, just halfway through her first term; and the least newsworthy, in my opinion, Jon & Kate Gosselin are getting divorced--it seems there is a lot of need for this right now.
Consider, for a moment, that there are real live families involved in each of these circumstances. The stories behind the "news" stories--all of which, for the most part, are none of our business--are tragic. All I can say about them? Given the time needed, I hope the families involved work everything out to their satisfaction.
But it does make me think. I have lived and survived through many of these types of situations. I know many others who have also. None of us likely wanted to have to deal with the pain or the shame. But it was what it was. We had to find ways to cope.
I used my bike, for one, and it was a very important part of my healing. But a bike won't work for everyone.
To turn an obstacle, such as the death of a father, the betrayal of a husband, or the break-up of a family for whatever reason, into an opportunity is not an easy thing to do. It requires:
- the slow adjustment of attitude,
- some kind of compassion for yourself and others,
- a lot of patience,
- belief in yourself,
- and the rebuilding of trust, among other things.
And what does it mean, anyway, to turn an obstacle into an opportunity?
For me, during the time I spent dealing with a betrayal of my own husband, turning that pain into something that was no longer painful meant I had to be able to see beyond the tragic circumstances.
Turning your obstacles into opportunities can can be as simple as that. At the very least, it's where you must start. Without that kind of faith--and I do believe it is a spiritual faith--you could very well stay in the fall.
Here, we do not stay in the fall. We get back up. We brush ourselves off. And we figure out the next move. We decide we can--and will--do that for ourselves and for those around us who care about us. In our own time, of course. No one else can determine that but you.
So if I were advising any of these families above, I would tell them if healing is to be in their future, they should start first with the understanding that, if it does not involve death, the tragic part of the circumstances need only be temporary. You can move beyond it.
With faith--wherever you may find it--you can begin to move your burden further away from you, one step at a time.
With faith, with the ability to see beyond a misfortune, you'll be able to do things such as:
- Look for books and information that may help you understand your circumstance and the people involved in it with you.
- Look for ways to avoid hiding under the covers, even if it means watching black and white movies long into the night, just so your mind is focused on something other than your personal pain.
- Take a walk or ride a bike, allowing yourself to work off some of the stress. Maybe not for very long at first. But if you keep at it, you'll have the energy to push yourself harder.
- Reach out for help, realizing you are not alone in your grief.
- Do things that sound off-the-wall, overambitious, or out of character to to others. It doesn't matter. If you think it'll work for you, then that's what you must do.
If you think standing up on a stage, in front of strangers, and acting as if you are a monkey climbing a tree won't do anything for your self-esteem, you'd be wrong. If you make yourself take part in silly things like that, or crazy things, like take the LSAT (exam to get into law school) while you're in the midst of a painful divorce, you will certainly be on your way to recovery. It's brave to test yourself in this way. Be brave. Show yourself you have it in you to be brave, to force yourself past a difficult moment in life. Think beyond the norm for you.
And as far as these two things above go, you can't fail. Acting, which is what improv is, is more like play. Who fails at play? There's no right or wrong there. As for the LSAT, you might not get the best score on the test (if most of your time spent studying involves tears), but it's not a test you can fail. You can do poorly on it, and you might not get a score high enough for the school of your choice, but so what? You don't fail it. And the diversion from what else is going on at home is good reason to chose to do the extraordinary. No matter the outcome. It's actually the diversion that's important.
At least that was my excuse.
What I'm saying is that what's happening in the news to these public figures and/or celebrities is happening to us regular people as well--daily. Though it all seems so ugly as reported in the news, we'll likely never know if there's a positive outcome to these stories. The happy endings of sensationalism rarely plays out in the news, but hopefully there will be that. For you dealing with yours or for someone you know who is, just know this: There are ways to turn what might seem like a challenge too tough to bear into a challenge to overcome.
You just have to find it for yourself, experiment with different coping mechanisms: reading literature, signing up for classes, attending workshops, therapy, journaling, riding a bike...
It will, indeed, take a belief in yourself, just the tiniest at the first. It will take time. And it will take two now all-too-familiar words. But within the realm of your own definition, you can do it...
(By the way, I did not link to any articles about the stories/people mentioned above, because haven't you read enough about them already?)