I could have (and perhaps should have) titled this article “What should I do when I can't take it anymore” because I admit that when really bad moments happen, even I don't always manage to face them with hieratic serenity and firmness.
In work, in study, in family and personal relationships, there are those situations of collapse in which we just want to just let go ...
To explain what you feel, the English term “overwhelmed” always comes to mind, which really evokes that sense of feeling too heavy a weight and simply of not doing it anymore.
But what should we do in these situations?
In this article I will try to analyze which in my opinion are the three steps necessary to face the small big crises that life holds for us.
To be clear, those in which we would like to "give up everything", whether it is small everyday things (like: today I should study but I really can't / I don't want to), whether it is more serious crises that are destined to accompany us for some time (loss of a job, the end of an important relationship, etc.).
So what do I do when I can't take it anymore?
The first stage: self-pity
It may seem counter-intuitive, but when I can't really take it anymore, I don't even try - immediately - to react.
It is clear that willpower and determination should ALWAYS be brought out, but it is not mandatory to do it IMMEDIATELY.
Sometimes, in fact, taking a moment to lick your wounds is just the right thing to do.
So instead of making superhuman efforts, try this technique: a nice exercise in extreme self-pity.
Empty the fridge, cry all your tears, think you are a hopeless case, throw yourself on the sofa and watch Netflix without restraint.
Don't even think that you shouldn't behave like this or that and don't try to do anything other than what you feel.
On the contrary, put your finger in the sore, concentrate and properly focus on how lazy / unlucky / unfortunate / failed / surrounded by bad people etc. you are. etc. etc.
Think hard about all the negative feelings you have in that situation. If you are angry with someone, think about what it is that causes you so badly impatient.
After that, write. That's right, write.
Make an effort and write down the reasons why you can't take it anymore.
Trust me, it is one of the few really effective techniques to get out of a decidedly black and apparently hopeless phase.
Write down all the worst that comes to mind in writing. It is really worth everything, indeed, the more aggressive you are with the words you write, the more the exercise will prove useful ...
But be careful, don't give in to the urge to take it out on someone in the world (in case you are in a crisis because of someone).
Here it is not a question of settling accounts, nor of taking away momentary and useless satisfactions, but of actually arriving at a turning point that makes you get out of this desire to give up everything.
So, write and vent your worst feelings. You will see how even just putting pen to paper the reasons for your frustration will somehow already lighten the burden.
Then, reread what you wrote, over and over, as often as you need to.
Finally, take the paper and destroy it. This will also be incredibly liberating and will take you to the second phase, that of analysis.
The second phase: the analysis
There is a phrase, called the "Serenity Prayer" and attributed to the German Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, which goes something like this:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference”
I'll also bring it back to you in Spanish:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference. "
This phrase has also become famous because it has become, since the 40s, the motto of Alcoholics Anonymous.
I personally find it one of the deepest, truest, most instructive phrases I've ever heard.
Think about it.
Think of everything that is making you unhappy, of everything that is making you want to let it all go, give it all up, just just give a damn.
Think of the long list of inconveniences, frustrations, difficulties, insults, bad events that you have written before.
And here I bring you another quote that personally for me is almost a mantra, this time taken from a famous and I would say mythical song by Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody:
“Gotta leave you all behind and face the truth”
That is, "You have to leave everything behind and face the truth."
This is truly a pivotal moment if you want to get out of the bad situation you are in.
So take your list of problems and ask yourself: of all these things, what can I really change? And what, on the other hand, does not depend on me or is part of the past and therefore is by definition immutable?
You will see that you will find examples of both.
There will be situations in which you can do little or nothing; maybe there will be episodes from the past that you certainly cannot change (and on this I invite you to re-read an article I wrote some time ago, which talks about the relationship with the past and how this affects our self-esteem, here is the link).
But then there is the whole list of things that you can certainly change: and here we go directly to the third phase, that of awareness
The third stage: awareness
What awareness am I talking about? obviously of the knowledge that YOU can do it.
That it doesn't matter how many times you've fallen, how many mistakes you've made, how many workouts you've skipped, how many weeks have you not studied.
You don't have to care, or rather, you have to stop caring and you have to convince yourself immediately and definitively that it is not a good reason to throw everything away (at most it would be an EXCUSE to throw everything away!)
Because you, now that you are crying on yourself, that you have given yourself the failure and the weak, now that you have sworn at your colleague (on paper of course) and that you have thrown a month of diet down the toilet, you will find the strength to simply pick up where you stopped.
Because the secret is all here.
In knowing that it doesn't matter what mistakes you've made and the times when you haven't acted as you should have: if you deeply understand that all you have to do is simply put everything behind you and restart exactly where you left off. , then you will have acquired one of the biggest secrets to a successful life.
So the point is not how you fall, or how many times you fall, or how long you stay on the ground: the point is always getting up, because the difference is there.
All the people of this world make mistakes, make mistakes and sometimes feel, as I said at the beginning of the article, “overwhelmed”.
Even those who seem incredibly successful and self-confident, believe me that sometimes they would like to give up everything and live, like all human beings, moments of fragility, anger, weakness, an extreme sense of failure.
These are situations that happen to anyone.
But if you have in mind what you CAN change, and that to do it you just have to start again from where you left off, you will see that you will truly become capable of not giving up. Never.