I'm going to dive into a few of the tools I used to navigate my recent challenges so that it didn't obliterate my happiness (and my business). As always, you know I’m going to be real with you. This life isn’t always easy, but it’s true that there’s beauty even in the dark moments.
I'm also not going to lie and say that I didn't have moments where I questioned everything. Where I didn't want to "do" anything. Whatever your experience has been, it's OK. Let's get started.
#1 - Expression
I know you try to be strong. I can see you over there trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. It’s one of the things I love about you. But, when there’s trauma involved, it’s not always healthy to stuff everything in and put on a brave face.
However you need to express yourself, DO IT. That can take the form of journaling (my personal favorite), confiding in a trusted friend, professional or partner, hitting your pillow, screaming at the top of your lungs or having a nice cry sesh.
I’m certainly not judging what you need right now. If you stuff it down, it doesn’t go away. I promise it will find a way to surface, and it may be more painful than if you willingly allow it to release. So, feel, Girl. It’s safe to not be a rock all of the time.
#2 - Find A Slightly Better Feeling Thought
When you’ve been through something traumatic, it can feel like a huge jump to go from despair to joy. It may even feel impossible, because the two feelings are so far apart on the spectrum of emotions.
I love Abraham and Ester Hicks’ take on this. Find a slightly better feeling thought. Reach for THAT. For instance, if you’re feeling depressed, the next better feeling thought is anger. And then frustration. And then irritation. And then contentedness. You take small steps up the proverbial “emotional ladder.”
You might be sitting there thinking, “Uhhh, Jess? You’re telling me to feel angry?” And, yes, yes I am. Now, I don’t mean go punch someone in the face. But anger is a more powerful feeling than depression. Can you feel the truth to that? And, from that place, you can access an even better feeling thought and go from there. If you’re interested in learning more about the emotional spectrum and Abraham’s work, check out one of my favorite books of theirs here.
#3 - Give Yourself A Set Period Of Time To Grieve
Trauma and loss often hold hands. They’re like kissing cousins. Hah, just kidding. In all seriousness, when you experience trauma there’s often a loss of some sort. Loss of innocence, loss of a dream, loss of something physical or an important person. Loss of sense of self.
Allow yourself to grieve what needs to grieved. This goes right alongside expressing yourself and your feelings. The tricky part about this is, if you take a “break” from your life for too long, it can actually have the opposite effect that you’re looking for. It can disconnect you from the things you’re passionate and excited about.
That’s where making a pre-determined choice about the amount of time comes in. Do you need a day, a week, a month? Choose it, and allow yourself to rest. To grieve. To heal. To take this a step further, who needs to know about this decision? Your clients? Your spouse? Your employees and vendors? Communicate your needs with strength. It will demonstrate exactly what being a CEO and taking care of yourself looks like for others.
#4 - I Do What I Want
A warrior friend of mine, who’s been through the physical and emotional ringer, gave me some impactful advice after my experience. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while we were in college and still managed to slick ruby lipstick on and have a martini with me. She’s been through countless surgeries and uncertain situations.
When I called her up, she said, “Jess, I do what I want. If I need to go have a drink, run in a thunderstorm or be in a bath surrounded by candles, I do it. It helps me to have a feeling of control over my life. I feel what I need to feel, and then I move on.”
“I do what I want” fully captures the passion and spiciness of my friend. It touched something in me though. This part of me that didn’t feel like it was OK to take care of myself, even after going through something traumatic. So, what did I do after I got off the phone with her? What I wanted to. 😉
#5 - Ask A Better Question
My last tool is a perfect companion to “I do what I want.” What if you don’t know what you want? What if your head and heart feel like they’re submerged under dark, murky water? You ask a revealing question.
Most of us don’t grow up having this tool. Knowing how to help ourselves and access the intuition within ourselves. No time like the present though, right?
Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Then, tend to those needs as if you were a Mother caring for a hurt child. How soft and understanding would you be? How would you speak and nurture that little one that needed your care? Treat yourself with that same level of gentleness and attentiveness.
When I ask myself that question in hard times, it often opens up the floodgates. Because, I’ve been holding myself back from asking or giving myself what I need. Even asking this question can be healing.
That’s all for now, Dear One. If you are going through something traumatic, I continue to stand with you. You aren’t alone, you never were. Use these tools and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I’d love to hear your journey. If you feel comfortable sharing, comment below to share a challenging time of yours and what helped you through the most.