Life can be crappy
A while back I wrote about why we shouldn’t compare our crap because it’s our coping skills that really matter. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do that now so that this guide makes more sense.
For those of you who are like “NO, I WILL NOT CLICK ANYWHERE ELSE!” I’ll just say this: Life gives us a lot of crap. Comparing our crap to other people’s crap does us no good because it’s not the CRAP that matters but our shovel. Simplified further, shovel= coping skills.
So now that we’re all on the same crappy page, let’s get shoveling.
Assess the crap
Look at, feel, and study the crap. Is it normal crap? Like needing to clean your house? Or is it a giant elephant crap that you’ve never shoveled before, like dealing with a life-altering diagnosis?
We all get overwhelmed by our normal crap from time to time. THIS IS NORMAL! DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP!! Maybe your shovel needs a tune-up, or it shrank due to never getting any rest. It happens. There are ways to manage the overwhelm crap. In fact, you can go read my tips here!
Now, if it’s new crap, HUGE crap, or crap that your shovel cannot handle you have to do the unthinkable: Ask for help. DUN DUN DUN!!! Help can come in many forms: physical help doing things, therapy, tapping out to someone else completely or delegating portions to be shoveled. None of this is bad, and we ALL have to do it from time to time when we get more crap than we can handle.
Acknowledge your shovel (coping skills)
This is the part you have control over. This is also the part where tough love happens and people tend to get all victimy. (I know because I used to.) It is ok to have an olive fork sized shovel if it is working for you. It’s also ok to have a bulldozer if it’s what you need. No matter what size your shovel is, it is YOUR responsibility to build it, keep it maintained, and adjust it as necessary. No one else can do this for you. YOU have to have coping skills.
You also have to accept the fact that you do, in fact, HAVE a shovel. Picture a 4-year-old whining for mom to put on his shoes and throwing a tantrum when she won’t do it. He is screaming and whining about his crap and ignoring the fact that he has a shovel of his own to deal with it. Sure, putting on his shoes might not be easy for him, but he DOES have the ability. In this case, he is learning to acknowledge his shovel.
It’s one thing for a 4-year-old to ignore his shovel and demand someone else come clean up his crap, but a TOTALLY different ball game for a grown ass adult to do it. C’mon, we all know someone like that. Uncomfortable right now? It might be you. I say it with love because it was me once too.
Assess your coping skills (shovel)
Are you chronically in crisis mode and unable to keep up with your ‘normal’ crap? Or are you so underwhelmed that you’re creating crap to shovel? Our shovels work best when they are rightly sized to deal with our crap. Sounds impossible, right? It’s not! We are capable of constantly adjusting our shovels! How do you ask? Let me count thy ways…
- Practice/ exposure. If you freak out at the thought of public speaking you can join a Toastmasters group. This is strengthening your shovel in terms of public speaking. This also helps with kid tantrums. Exposure. It’s like I don’t even hear it anymore.
- Helping others. Let’s say your shovel is a big ‘ole backhoe and you have spare capacity. If not put to use you might start picking fights/ starting drama to keep your shovel busy. OR you could use it constructively by offering to help others (Only if the help is wanted though!)
- Therapy. This can help you in general and will make shovel maintenance, ie. your coping skills development, A LOT easier.
- Make sure you’re only shoveling your crap. This is especially important for us women who take on everything. Is it really YOUR crap? If not, stop overloading your shovel! This isn’t a shovel adjustment per se, but a good evaluation. Your shovel might actually be just fine!
One. Crap. At. A. Time. Your shovel might not be perfect, but it DOES work. And any shoveling is better than none. It’s VERY easy to quit shoveling, especially when it gets hard, but if you keep going it will get easier.
I know this was a very long-winded way of saying ‘handle your shit’, but for me, it’s a lot easier to think of my coping skills as a tool that I have full control over. For a long time, I focused on whining about the crap I was given and ignoring my shovel. As expected, this made me a miserable person. No matter how loudly I complained or tried to show people my unfairly large pile of crap, things never got any better until I finally picked up my shovel and started doing my part.
Sure, I still have days where I revert to my victimy ways. We all do. But now that I’m aware of it, it’s a hell of a lot easier to take a deep breath and pick up the shovel again. For the times where the crap is gigantic, I find that more people are willing to lend a hand with their shovels IF you are working alongside them. Instead of demanding it be done for you.
- Assess your crap and determine if the crap is truly too big or if it’s your shovel that needs adjusting.
- Accept the fact that you have a shovel and decide to put it to work.
- Assess your shovel and adjust as necessary. I know, I know. Easier said than done.
- Start shoveling. Just do it.
That’s it! My guide to dealing with the crap that life gives you. It’s an ever-changing process, but if we are aware of it, we can handle it!