A guide on how to rebuild after life’s disasters

You don’t know how and you don’t know when but it happened.

Maybe you were completely in denial, maybe you saw it coming or even predicted it. Perhaps you were waiting for it, counting down the months, weeks and days until – CRASH. You knew it was possible but .. Did you really? What before was merely an image in your mind has now become your reality. You stand alone as the rubble surrounds you and there you are, an island.

“So what now?” you wonder.

You think back to all the events and the scenes rush through your mind. You are filled with shock as you contemplate: “Wait, is this real, am I dreaming,.. or nightmaring?” You may think to yourself one of two things: “I guess I can see how this could have happened” or “How the hell did this happen to me?” Whether you’re in denial or have fully accepted the situation as is something that you may not be ready for is:

The Pain.

The Pain rushes in and it’s a feeling that is so overwhelming, you cannot think your way out of it. The big wave you’ve never expected has arrived and it swallows you whole. What is the pain? It depends on your situation. Maybe your pain has to do with the shock and the inability to accept how your life has changed. Maybe the pain is the relentless confusion and defeat that you feel. You may understand where you are and how you got there, but seeing no future and having no hope leaves one in a very dark place. Maybe the pain is a result of all of the emotions you’ve pushed aside and refused to confront; The pain now is forcing you to make peace with these feelings, or at least make you acknowledge that they exist. Maybe the pain is a result of all of the self-abuse. You have exhausted yourself so much, you can no longer bear your own torment. You’ve had an awakening, a moment of enlightenment where the pain can no longer suffice. You finally see it for what it is: An emptiness, an inability to love yourself, a desire to destroy, yourself. You are a victim, shackled by your own experiences, maybe even through your own will. You feel hollow and you contemplate as to how you will feel whole again. Let alone, free.

Rebuilding requires courage.

Some say that when you hit rock bottom you have nothing left to lose. This may be the case and motivation for some to rise again but not for all. For many, it’s easier to stay put and stay down. Staying down when you’ve been hit is comfortable. It requires no effort. You’ve taken the punch and at the very least, it’s over.  With time the pain becomes so familiar, you forget that it wasn’t always there. Some may say the pain becomes bearable, so they live their existence carrying it everywhere with them. When you decide to stay down, you admit defeat. Are you certain that’s what you want to do? Unfortunately, staying down is made even simpler when even losers have cheerleaders. Not only are you a victim of your circumstance, but you beg to be a victim in everyone else’s eyes. You feed off their pity and sympathy as if it were a feast. It is your food and the validation that confirms the world did this [to] you. What more could you have done and what more could you do? It’s easy when the answer is always: Nothing.

Rebuilding seriously hurts.

You thought you were in pain after life knocked you down? You thought wrong. What’s more painful than growth, after all? Every time you attempt to stand your ragged self will tell you otherwise. You’ll try to rationalize as to why now isn’t a good time or why it isn’t worth trying. No time will ever be good enough. Did you know that procrastination is often said to be a result of perfectionism? It turns out that people procrastinate because they feel there will be a more appropriate time to do one thing or another. I’m a perfectionist too and I hate to admit it: perfect doesn’t exist. I know it hurts but do it anyway. It’s not easy but it is simple. Get up.

Rebuilding involves total rewiring.

After experiencing such trauma, your mind and your body is fragile. You want to rest. You may want to give up. Part of you needs to heal but you can only remain idle for so long. Life is calling, are you going to answer? Every time your body says “no, you cant” but your mind insists “yes, you can” you are flexing your muscles. It may take a few tries before you can convince yourself of your own strength but keep trying. In times like these it’s often useful to reach for references from your past. Try to recall a troubling time that you overcame. Use that memory to encourage yourself to overcome this one. You have done it before, after all.

Rebuilding demands a commitment to your vision.

Without patience you will not be able to bear your own company, let alone convince yourself to push through. Only you can provide the comfort that you need to remain hopeful and stay faithful to your progress. Without a vision, everything is lost and we can find ourselves uncertain of where to turn without a proper map to guide us. While humans may not be able to answer many of the existential questions that we often ask ourselves, one thing is for certain: A future is not possible without a vision, for if we cannot think it, how can we create it?

Just like an architect first puts their idea to paper, you too need to commit to creating a blueprint for your rise. If you have ever asked yourself what do I have now that everything has fallen apart?  Just take a look at yourself.

Do you have the courage to build a raft so that
your island is no longer a prison?


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