August 31, 2009
How do you react when dealing with a crisis? When I’m faced with a crisis myself, I often go into “survival mode” – doing anything and everything I can to get through it. In other cases, I may simply deny that the crisis exists, hoping that it will just go away on its own. While both of these approaches can and have “worked” in my life, in terms of making it through the various crises I’ve faced, they don’t allow for the depth of growth, healing, and transformation that is ultimately available in these situations.
Instead of just gutting it out or going into some form of creative denial, what if we embraced the crises in our lives and actually utilized them for the incredible growth opportunities that they are. We often waste so much time and energy fighting against, resisting, denying, or complaining about these “bad” things in our lives; instead of remembering that a crisis is simply life’s way of letting us know that something needs to change or some old pattern no longer works.
Many people I know and work with are facing intense crises right now – related to their health, money, career, family, spirituality, and more. Our country and our world are dealing with some major challenges and most of us are impacted, at least to some degree, by what’s going on around us.
As scary, humbling, and disturbing as these crises can be – one of the most beautiful aspects of going through a crisis in life is how it can literally bring us to our knees and remind us of what truly matters in life (which, as we realize, has very little to the mundane stuff we worry about and get upset about on a daily basis).
Here are a few things you can practice when dealing with a crisis (and in general), which will allow you to maximize your growth, healing, and transformation.
1) Be real. Like with everything else in life, if we deny or lie about what’s happening or how we really feel, we make it difficult, if not impossible, to grow. The more willing we are to acknowledge what’s happening and how we feel about it in an honest, vulnerable, and passionate way – the more likely we are to move through it consciously and gain the life-altering lessons the situation has to offer.
2) Lean on others. For many of us, reaching out and asking for support (and then ultimately receiving it) can be quite challenging. We worry about being perceived as weak, being vulnerable with others, getting rejected, and more. However, when we’re dealing with a crisis it’s essential and incredibly liberating to lean on the people in our lives. We don’t have to go through it all alone, and in many cases we can’t. We each have way more love and support around us then we usually realize. Asking for and receiving the support of other people not only helps us get through the “tough” time, it also allows us to connect with the people in our life in a meaningful and intimate way – something most of us truly want.
3) Let go. Being able to let go and let things be as they are is not easy for many of us, especially for me. Those of us who like to control things, have it all together, and take charge in life often find it difficult to simply let go. Crises, however, force us to let go – whether we want to or not. They also allow us to remember that everything in our physical world is temporary and transitory. When we can embrace the idea of letting go, it frees us up in a powerful way and allows us to move through things much easier.
As with many of the things I talk about and write about, it’s really important for us to have lots of compassion for ourselves and others as we face the challenges and crises of our lives. It takes a certain amount of conscious naiveté to find the authentic silver linings to some of the dark clouds that show up in life. But, when we remember that in the midst of our pain and difficulty we can find a deep sense of joy, peace, and growth – we’re able to utilize the crises in our lives as catalysts for remarkable transformation.
How can you utilize any present crisis you’re facing (personal, familial, organizational, societal, or global) as a catalyst for your own growth and evolution? Share your thoughts, action ideas, insights, and more down below.