There’s always something wrong.
That’s what one of my clients shared with me not long ago.
As you know, in some ways, he’s right. When you stop and reflect on life, there’s always something that seems out of sorts.
Life is never “perfect,” in other words. As my client added later in our session, there’s never a time when you can look at your life and say “Everything is exactly as I want it to be.”
This is a reality of life. If we wait to “get it all done” before we rest, then we’ll never rest. If we wait for life to be just right to feel secure, we’ll never feel secure.
The work with this client wasn’t to teach him to do the impossible—fix all his problems. It was to teach him how to live well in the midst of all the unfinished business, to find a sense of security and peace, regardless of circumstances.
Bad Things Happen, and Good Things Happen Too
Let’s address the reality of life for a moment.
Bad things happen in life. Jobs are lost. Illnesses and disease happen without warning. Relationships come to an end.
We can’t avoid every bad thing.
At the same time, good things happen too. New jobs are found. Health returns after an illness. Strong relationships are built.
When You Feel Scared
Some days, as we sit and look out on the window of life, we’re strongly in touch with how scary this world is. In these times, we become anxious about how many things are going wrong—with what is falling short.
It’s natural and healthy to try to make these things better.
But in doing so, we somehow have to avoid the trap of thinking one day everything will be “fixed,” and when it is, then I’ll be happy.
Finding Peace, Even in the Midst of Uncertainty
The challenge for all of us is to find a way to live in the midst of haste and the noise and scariness of life. We want to find a way to ground ourselves and our emotions. We want to have courage, hope, and peace both internally and with one another.
The work is to find a way through our moments of despair, into a way of coping that allows us to find our way through the darkness.
The Key to It All
The key to it all is to soothe our frayed emotions and our anxiety.
Doing so means we want to be able to talk—internally—to ourselves in a way that is kind, gracious, and empathetic for our struggle. We want to tell ourselves that we’ll be okay, that we’ll find our way out.
We want to hold ourselves, the way a mother might comfort her child, and metaphorically stroke our hair and sing sweetly to ourselves.
We also want to lean on each other, to get that external soothing that comes from being close to one another. We want to share our vulnerability with people who can hold us, reassure us, and tell us, “Don’t worry, whatever happens, we’ll get through this together.”
Getting Back Into Life
Once we’re soothed, we want to get back out there into life and just do what’s next.
We don’t want to get caught up having to solve it all at once, because then we get overwhelmed and scared all over again.
It’s better to just take the next step, understanding that change happens one small step at a time.
There is no magical cure for our anxiety, but sometimes just getting care, from ourselves and each other, and then doing what’s next, leads down a road that—over time—can feel magical.