When the Shit Hits the Fan.....
Every one of us knows this feeling and experience, whether you’ve had 20, 30, 40 or more years on this little blue planet, at some point, the shit has hit the fan. The shit comes in many forms from small upsets like overdrawn accounts, missed appointments, embarrassing gaffes to giant wrecking balls to your life like divorce, illness, redundancy or violence.
We’ve all been there and have generally come through these times- out the other side- more mature, more humble and more thoughtful human beings. But until we are through the other side, one of our most human instincts, when the shit hits the fan, is to withdraw. To withdraw into ourselves, to lick our wounds and to hide our hurt, shame, grief and depression.
At the ripe old age of 48, I’ve had my fair share of shit – in all shapes and sizes. So much so, that at this point in my life, I see myself almost of an expert on what to do 'when things go wrong'! The best lesson I’ve learned going through life’s more unpleasant events is to reach out to connect to someone else. Naturally, I also needed some time to withdraw, but while carrying on putting one foot in front of another, I shared what was going on with others.
Not everyone and not without careful consideration, but I would find a way share my ‘warts and all’ sad story with a colleague at work, my housecleaner or the kind woman at the gym who invited me for a coffee. And every time I opened up and poured out my heart, I received genuine compassion and caring support.
Sharing my drama couldn’t make it go away, nor could anyone else fix it for me, but letting someone else know I was going through a tough time, helped me feel more okay with it. Helped me feel seen as more than my label (‘co-worker’, ‘neighbour’, ‘woman-from-the-gym’), helped me feel connected and helped me feel more normal, going through this crazy thing called life.
Everyone out there you see has experienced difficulty, trauma and pain and can relate to whatever you're going through. The human connection is incredibly powerful, but you have to make it happen. So, no matter what kind of shit you may be dealing with today, take a risk and reach out to tell someone about it. Don’t think about it too hard, you’ll know who's the right person intuitively. Next time you’re asked how you are doing, try answering ‘pretty shitty’, and let the conversation flow from there.
p.s. for more information on creating human connections, check out Brene Brown’s TED Talk here