How to Survive this Scary Ride

Rollercoaster Tracks

I know, I’m a motivational speaker so I’m supposed to be the happy, ongoing face of positivity. But let’s be real. Of late, when people ask how I’m doing, I find myself answering, “I’m happy/sad/confident/scared/on track/off track/determined/confused/overwhelmed/breathing.”

And I got to thinking that maybe I am not alone in this. Facebook can be a shallow friend sometimes when she shows us her best of the best of everything. Or (in my case) any funny, fun, happy thing I can conjure up. So let’s talk reality for a moment, shall we?

If someone says that they are GREAT! That business is GREAT! That they are working more than ever and making piles of money…several things might be happening.

  1. At that very moment, they just might feel great. Check back in with them later that day. There might be a totally different experience going on
  2. It might actually be all-inclusively true (and if it is, they are probably an exception).
  3. They are actually feeling just as uncertain, confused or scared as the rest of us but they don’t want to reinforce the doo doo by putting the real story in print (thank them – they are saving us from having to wade through said doo doo.)

Here’s what I believe. We are currently on the wackiest, weirdest, most exhilarating, scariest roller coaster ride we could have ever imagined. There are times when we feel like we can handle it, and other times when we want to jump off, knowing full well if we do, we’ll land in the alligator infested waters below. And I’m not just talking about the coronavirus and all the serious craziness around that, or the volatile political climate, but also how those things are affecting our stress level and our health and our emotional well-being. I’m also talking about the loss of income in many cases, the loss of hugging people you love, the loss of what feels like freedom to do what you want, when you want and with whom you want.

But here’s the truth –  This. Is. A. Process. We are SO wired for outcomes, for results, for fixing things that are broken, that to sit squarely in an ongoing process with no idea how to make it stop is…well…reeeeealllly uncomfortable. And – it’s exactly what we have to do.

We WILL make it through all this and, when we do, we may find ourselves better in many ways – more enlightened, more compassionate and more resilient. And you know what will help make that a reality? Actually seeing that outcome in your mind. Yes, see yourself emerging from all this stronger, more grounded and loving. Focus on that picture instead of the one that wants to keep occupying your brain space playing out the absolute worst case scenario in living 3D, Dolby sound, technicolor.

In the meantime, just know that NO one has the magic bullet. NO one is skipping the light fantastic through all this. At times, the strongest of us want to curl up in a ball in the corner and just suck our little thumb until it’s over. That doesn’t make us bad or weak. That makes us human.

So cry if you want, laugh if you want, call your good friend (you know, the one who loves you, warts and all) and vent your little heart out, then invite them to do the same. Then immediately find an activity to engage in that makes your heart feel good.

Process. Link arms with it. Look it squarely in the eye and repeat after me, “It’s you and me, kid. We’ve got this.” 

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A Smiling Linda Larsen

About Author Linda Larsen, CSP, CPAE

I became a professional actress and – for actual money – I got to occasionally escape to magical worlds created by everyone from Shakespeare to Moliere; from Shaw to Simon. I became a member of Actor’s Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild and, as such, joined the ranks of hundreds of thousands of mostly unemployed starving actors. But I didn’t care! I was an actor!!! I had an actual Master of Fine Arts Degree that PROVED, by gosh, that I was supposed to know what I was doing.

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