I have some crappy news for you…
…but, if you choose to take this quick ride with me, you’ll soon see it’s actually quite good.
I begin with a series of crappy events in the life of Deirdre over the past month:
- Got a nasty ick bug that lasted a good two weeks.
- Didn’t get accepted into a project I thought I was totally perfect for
- A loved one got a scary diagnosis
Some of the above incidents are far worse than others. That’s not the point. (It’s also worth mentioning that LOTS of great things happened this month, too. Also not the point.)
The point isn’t even about how the crappy things came to be.
The point is that they came to be for no other reason than crap happens. Pure and simple. And knowing (and believing) this made all of the difference.
Let me explain.
I’ve spent a really good part of my life doing everything possible to stave off anything crappy. And I still do to an extent. I take Vitamin C and I drive carefully and I try to be thoughtful with others.
The difference is that I used to think that if I just did these things all the time, and I did them right, then I could keep all the crappy things away.
Which led to two big problems:
- I began to get anxious as I tried to predict every possible calamity, feeling like I had to keep a million “prevent-the-crap” balls in the air or else one would come down and I wouldn’t survive it
- When crappy things did happen, I felt ashamed, like I was at fault for not trying hard enough. Or I blamed others for letting me down
But, after talking to people who aren’t so freaked out all the time, I came to realize something we’ve all heard…but don’t all really believe.
Despite how hard we work to keep every crappy thing at bay. Despite how much we think ahead and plan. Crap Happens
It’s a fact. The earth goes around the sun. Rain falls. Crappy things happen. We cannot control this.
You have to really believe this. You simply do not have the power to keep all crappy things from happening. You already know it’s true for others. I swear it’s true for you.
Believe it and, ironically, find relief.
Simply accepting that crappy situations are a fact of life can ease up on our freaked-out-ness. The freaked-out anxiety that has us constantly forecasting every potentially crappy future…the freaked-out reactions we have when things go crappy…the freaked-out guilt and shame afterwards.
Let’s get specific, yes? Here are some guaranteed crappy things that will happen to all of us (assuming we’re around for a while):
- We will get sick…perhaps right before or during a vacation
- We will fight with people we care about…and it will hurt
- We will stub our toes, cut ourselves while shaving, roll our ankles or incur some other kind of minor injury
- We will stain or otherwise ruin our favorite shirts, jeans, etc.
- We will put on weight
- We will be rejected for something and/or by someone
- We will find that others are better than us at some things
- We will cast a vote for people or decisions we care about…and they will lose
- We will lose pets and loved ones, some of them far too soon
- We will die
Jeez Deirdre, you may be thinking…what kind of Deirdre-downer list is this?
But it’s NOT. Because the second you accept that crappy things happen, is the second you’re not so rocked when they do. It’s the second you don’t feel quite so guilty because you didn’t do your crap-deflecting job sufficiently.
Now…what I’m NOT saying.
- I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to prevent the crappy stuff. It’s important to treat ourselves and others with care
- I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to learn from and, when appropriate, fix/apologize for the crappy stuff…especially if we really are responsible in some way
- I’m not even saying that accepting the crappy reality of life will make all of the crappy stuff hurt less
What I am saying is that it doesn’t matter what we do to prevent the crappy stuff…some will happen anyway. And, when it does, all we can control is how we accept and/or respond to it.
Which, in the end, matters more than anything. To know that we have what it takes to survive and learn from the crappy things. Because we’ve done it plenty before. And, I promise you, those instances weren’t flukes.
So let this crappy news be your greatest news. Stop anxiously trying to predict it all. Stop being so ashamed when it happens.
After all, there are plenty of not-crappy things that are guaranteed to happen in this life…
…and you’ll want to be ready to fully enjoy them when they do.