I grew up watching sitcoms on TV like Full House, Friends, and Family Matters. Have you ever noticed how clean those houses were? Even though you never saw anyone cleaning? How every issue got resolved in 30 minutes? Maybe once in a while an episode was ‘to be continued’ and took a whole hour. Everything worked out even though there were some major communication, and personality issues! Today there are so many shows and YouTube videos where the house looks perfect, the makeup is perfect, the view is perfectly filtered. It makes it so hard to remember the truth. Facebook too, is this magical place where studies have shown the longer we stay connected, the worse we feel about ourselves.
You know this, but I believe it affects us in powerful ways that cause anxiety if we’re not careful. When you look at so much of the world around you through media, and even with friends, it appears perfect. Then you look at your own life, and feel inadequate. You don’t see people displaying the times when the house is a mess, the kids are crying, they’re folding laundry, having an argument with a spouse, or scrubbing the toilet.
You see a vision of a world where it never rains. Where it’s sunshine all the time. So when it rains in your world; when the husband leaves, the kids hate you, you have a panic attack, and life isn’t working out the way you planned, you think something is majorly wrong. When you never see real life in a real life community or in media, you have no idea how very normal it is to have bad days. In our consumer driven society that just doesn’t sell. So unfortunately and I believe detrimentally, it’s filtered out.
It would be like finding yourself out in a rainstorm, when you’ve never experienced rain. You’d think- “Oh no! What if it never stops! How will we live with this? What if everything gets wet and ruined? This is a disaster. I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ll never be dry again! What if my skin melts? What do I do? No one told me about this! I don’t see anyone else going through this! I must have done something wrong to make it rain! ” You’d totally freak out. That sounds silly, but it’s pretty close to how far away what we all see everyday online is removed from real life.
In life are times that just suck. When these come, it means your life is normal, you’re normal, and you’re still doing a good job. Even when you’re not. That’s the thing. There will be layoffs, death, disease, and crappy people who don’t treat you well. There will be big life decisions that don’t have a clear answer. You’ll have to make a decision without all the facts. Even if you pray. Even if you meditate. Even if you are ‘woke’, enlightened, and self actualized. If you’re looking for a life without pain, it’s the same as looking for a life without rain.
The good news is that rain brings life! We grow from the hard times. In no way whatsoever am I calling them good. Not at all. I’m not talking about ‘just be positive’. I’m saying we learn so much and grow so much through them. Good things come from them. For me, I grew when my little brother took his life over 13 years ago. When a business I started 12 years ago closed after 5 years. When my goal to help people a certain way through this business, failed. When I struggle in my marriage. When I struggle as a mom. When my daughter got diagnosed with anxiety, ADHD and dyslexia- and the years I spent in denial before that. I learned a ton from broken relationships. I learned from trying to connect and love my abusive father as an adult. When he passed away without any reconciliation I learned a lot. I learned so much working in hospice for a few years. Each of these experiences and so many more, have been part of my journey. Not always pretty. Not always clean. But absolutely valuable for healing. I believe this is beautiful. It would take me all day to write what I’ve learned from all this. Just like what you’ve learned from your journey would fill many many pages.
So when life’s hard, please remember these tips:
You are enough! I’ll continue to say this forever. The most talented, amazing, successful people have bad days, weeks, and seasons. The trick is to not fill your mind with terrible images of yourself being not good enough. You are enough! No matter what.
Rain is temporary. “This too shall pass.” This painful event is not the end. There’s always hope! Say this over and over until you believe it. You’re stronger than you know! Even events that are life-changing and world-altering aren’t bad forever.
Rain brings life. We each have the choice to see the growth, or only see the pain. This is a powerful choice that brings beauty or bitterness in life.
Ok, this may be weird, but when I struggle with something I google it. You can find so much on YouTube. I found Esther Perel by googling marriage advice. I found Marie Forleo by googling business questions. There are amazing grief groups. I learned a ton about how to deal with my youngest daughter that has anxiety. We live in this amazing age of information.
Listen to the still small voice. I will also say this forever. Even though I love to fill my head with knowledge, I have to sit with God to see what I’m supposed to do with it. That’s wisdom. You have an unlimited resource within you all the time. Learn to listen. This alone decreases anxiety a ton.
Forgive yourself. Say this often. “I did what I could with what I had.” When you know better, you’ll do better. Don’t beat yourself up for things you didn’t know.
Remember this quote from Steve Furtick, “Don’t compare your behind the scenes, with someone else’s highlight reel.” You may need to spend less time online to accomplish this. I have to take a break when I’m starting to feel crappy.
Get help. Find someone to walk through this with you. There are people who’ve gone through similar things. It’s amazing once you start opening up, how many people have experienced the same things. And lived to tell.
Stay away from anyone who judges or makes you think there’s something wrong with you. Some people haven’t experienced rain, or have a weird superstition that we cause the rain, so they still freak out about it and blame others. Don’t waste your time there.
Now I’d love to hear about a time when you learned from a hard or painful time in your life. Please share in the comments below.
If you are looking for help in this area, please visit www.cyrinatalbott.com to see if Rapid Transformational Therapy may be the next step for you.
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