Coping With the Unexpected

Coping With the Unexpected

The title of my last post was inspired by an episode of Modern Family in which Jay gave the following quote at the end:

I’ve always seen life like a series of doors. Sometimes you get to choose the door you go through, and sometimes you don’t get that choice. But you still have to walk through it. So either you can go through kicking and screaming, or walk through with your head held high.

This is something that I’ve struggled with for some time now — the walking through with your head held high part, especially when it’s a door that I did not choose or a door that just popped up out of nowhere.

These are my current thoughts on coping with the unexpected challenges of life:

Self-awareness helps
To me, there are two sides to the self-awareness coin:

  • One views self-awareness as knowledge of my own personal strengths, weaknesses, and coping mechanisms. By having this awareness, I am able to assess a situation and implement habits and strategies for a favorable outcome.
  • The other is awareness according to non-duality: presence that is aware of “I”.

When I cultivate self-awareness through meditation and objective looking, I am aware of events that will trigger certain reactions within myself. I am aware that the event is temporary and I can look at the situation from a more logical and objective viewpoint. This is a practice that requires showing up to nurture this habit daily. It’s quite difficult as I allow various things to capture the mind’s attention moment to moment, but I see incremental changes which are definitely worth it in the long run.

Feelings are not facts
Many times, I have experiences where I know what should be done logically, however, I feel the opposite. When RuPaul says that feelings are not facts, he means that since they are constantly changing, they may not be the best indicator or advisor on what our next best move should be in a given situation.

Feelings feel powerful. Our minds magnify them by convincing us that they are true but one of our greatest powers is that we have the ability of discernment. We can recognize that we are aware of these feelings; the feelings are not us. Feelings come and go but we always have the choice to observe them instead of identifying with them.

This does not mean ignoring or hiding our feelings. When feelings arise, it can be an opportunity for us to introspect into our own latent beliefs and insecurities, allowing them to be addressed, worked through, and eventually witnessed. This is why I think meditation is so important — we develop the ability to discern between fact and fiction.