Monday, October 3, 2011

Making Gatorade Out of Gators

Disappointment is an inevitable fact of life.  We're human, we feel emotions.  And because we're imperfect souls with free will, we are bound to come across conflict and disappointment in our lifetime.  Depending on your state of mind at the time, that feeling can be hard to overcome.  It can be the straw that breaks the camel's back.  Other times, it can roll right off your shoulders, with little more than a mental shake.

It's the "last straw" variety I've been thinking about lately.  No different than anyone else, I've had times when I felt as if I'd been given a raw deal.  I've sat around, feeling sorry for myself, wondering "why me?"  Eventually, I'd pick myself up, wipe my tears, and move on.  I think pity parties are good and appropriate, when thrown in moderation.  Sometimes it's good to just let go and wallow for a moment.  And being the self-centered creatures we're inclined towards being, a pity party is the easiest kind to throw.  It's the picking ourselves up and moving on that we seem to have trouble with.

Which leads me to today's original thought.  I've got an idea that the key to managing life's disappointments is Control.  It seems like the most successful individuals--those who have triumphed despite life's disappointments--are those who have faced their challenges with an arsenal of coping skills.  Skills that allow them to take control of their disappointment and transform it into something productive or meaningful.  Without any sense of control, life's disappointments can become magnified and debilitating.  It is Control that allows us to rebound from life's curve balls.  Control allows us to feel empowered.  It creates a calm purpose, as well as a sense of hope.  And it motivates us to move forward.

But how do you transform those negative feelings?  I don't know.  Sometimes life gets so overwhelming that knowing what you need to do isn't enough.  Emotions are such weird things.  They can work for you and they can work against you.  How easy life would be if we could turn them up and down, like we do the bass and treble on our car stereo.  Then we could adjust ourselves to give us just enough kick in the pants needed to keep us moving forward. 

I like the expression "making gatorade out of gators."  My challenges feel more like alligators than lemons.  And since we're speaking metaphorically, Gatorade is also more replenishing than lemonade.  Now if only I knew the recipe...

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