I’m rounding out the end of a week from hell. Somehow, I contracted a mysterious gastrointestinal illness that quite literally knocked me on my ass, down on my couch, curled up in pain all throughout the day.
And though I prefer to write at least one piece or part to my book a day, that number has been a whopping zero since this illness came on. I’ve been too distracted by a stabbing pain in my upper abdomen to be able to put my ideas into words.
For someone who is trying to build her career in writing, this has been a devastating blow. I was sad for the first few days. I beat myself up; dismissed my pain in exchange for accusing myself of laziness. Pain? Ha. Writers can write no matter what. You’re just choosing not to.
But it hit me that I’m only making my situation worse by beating myself up. I know stuff like this, the parts of life known as the “lows,” is out of my control. By telling myself these things, I was choosing to make myself feel worse.
I accepted I was in a low and not going anywhere. I decided, instead, to take this fall down with compassion; for the situation and most importantly for myself.
Because this time it was my stomach, but next time it could be a job loss, a breakup (although I’d need a boyfriend for that one), or another sickness. Regardless of the fall, how we choose to handle them is up to us.
But here’s how I did it:
Accept that falling is part of life
If you walk around high and mighty, thinking you’ll never fail, you’re setting yourself up for double the disappointment because falling is inevitable. There’s no way around it.
The lows are where the lessons happen. It’s where we learn to pick ourselves back up and grow. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the highs when they came around fully.
So now that we’ve established they’re a natural part of life, what’s next?
Love Yourself Through It
Resenting yourself for something inevitable won’t help the situation. Neither will thinking that you’re a screw-up or that you could’ve done something differently. You’re in the position you’re in: choose to love yourself through it or make your circumstances worse.
And how exactly do you love yourself? Like you would anyone else in your position. How would you treat your friend? Your mom? A child? With undying compassion. Because you know their fall does not make them a bad person. And neither are you.
Allow Yourself The Time You Need
If you’re being taken down by a mysterious stomach virus, stressing yourself out that you’re not writing is only making things worse. I more so needed to type that out for myself to read.
But try applying this concept to any situation. If you’re going through a breakup, allow yourself the time you need to heal. A job loss? Accept that finding a new job takes time.
You’re not expected to pick yourself back up right away.
My sickness is what it is; it’s not going away. But I had a choice: love myself through the healing process or ultimately make myself miserable. I did the smart thing and chose the former.
And I suggest you do the same. Because life is hard enough, we don’t need to beat ourselves up along the way.