I have great compassion for people who don’t handle stress well. There’s a famous singer now who’s been in and out of rehab as a “cutter”. If you’re hurting inside, sometimes it comes out, too. And, frankly, these are people with very strong emotions who don’t have the coping skills to deal with them.
The good news is: coping skills can be learned. Here are three of mine.
I had a very emotional day yesterday. Nothing really happened to make me upset, I’m just down. One of my newly learned coping skills that I have to keep reminding myself to practice is to ask for what I need. When I get circling, and “the idiots” are loud (see previous blog post), the very worst thing for me to do is be alone with my thoughts. So, I reached out to a friend, asking if she needed help with her pattern business. Not today, was the answer. No problem. I called another friend, who said I could come right over. We quilted a bit and ran some errands… but really what I appreciated was the company.
Here’s another coping skill I know works for me. Planning the next fun thing before the first one is over. I had a long-distance relationship as a high school senior. My boyfriend and I found that it was much less painful for me to say goodbye after a weekend together when we knew when the next one was. Those idiots tell me that goodbyes are forever. See you in six weeks is better.
The last one I’ll talk about today is asking for what you need. I complained to my husband yesterday that he gets many more foot rubs than I do… and then caught myself. I realized that this isn’t because he won’t love on me. It’s because he asks. I would get more foot rubs if I asked for them, too. Our cat Milo gets the most pets by far out of our four kitties because he’s the one who comes up to us meow-ing. It takes some maturity to end the whining-game and simply ask for what you need. The cutest example I’ve seen recently is shown in this photograph.
As you may know, swim class is scary for most young children. Having sat in on sessions for several families, I can attest that there’s a lot of crying and fear going around. The photo above depicts Katya, swim class veteran, and her brother Alexander who’s new to it this year. His coping skill? Asking his sister for hugs. Lots of hugs. She delights in giving Alexander the support he’s asking for. We could all learn a thing or two from this pair.