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Understanding Coping Skills To Thrive

How many times have you thought, what the hell? I should be able to handle this (insert any variety of situations) by now.

Self-doubt can be so toxic, can’t it? I know I have said that to myself. I’ve even gone on to have a full-blown conversation of “They let you drive a car, have a mortgage, and raise children! What were “they” thinking?” It’s a real little bugger.

I remember shortly after my husband passed, I was walking through my dining room and had a full-blown fall on the floor, lose my stuffing moment where I questioned my capability to handle all that was going on. His passing, having to buy my house from me (it’s a real thing), dealing with a dog with a torn knee and then a brain tumor, selling vehicles, running a business where people expected me (as they should have) to show up emotionally together and figuring out how to live on one salary and do ALL the things including figuring out why one man needed so many damn Allen wrentches. Seriously, dude!

As I was lying on the rug in the dining room, I realized two things: one, it was very itchy to lie on, and two, I better find my coping skills and unearth them quickly. So, as I am wired to do, I researched, tapped in, and got to the action part. After the emotional hangover passed a day later, I took a deep breath and began the learn how to support myself emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

“What did you do first, Vicki?”

Well, I reached out to a therapist I had met and liked her energy to see if she had space for me. Thankfully, she did, and I am forever grateful for her and our work together.

Then, I reminded myself of the three types of coping mechanisms that I had learned about in my coaching training and got to supporting myself, little by little. Do you know what they are? Allow me to share because they helped me greatly to know so I could use them and because it’s the topic of this week’s podcast!

  • First, we have problem-based coping skills, which focus on changing the situation. Consider a crappy relationship, a work situation that no longer aligns with you, or moving challenges.

  • Second, we have emotional-based coping skills that center around shifting how we feel. Knowing how you feel is important here, then you can adjust how the situation affects you. Also known as responding and not reacting.

  • Then we have meaning-centered coping skills. This helps us make sense of a situation and use our cognitive skills. This is not the “everything happens for a reason” spiritual bypass. No, no, it does not. Sometimes sh*tty things happen, and we have to process through them. It’s called life; nothing you “manifested” created the terrible situation. Think flat tire, cancer diagnosis, or someone being murdered.

“How did it help to know them when you were STRESSED?”

The emotional coping skills developing allowed me to feel my sadness, exhaustion, and confusion about feeling the relief of the caretaker on so many levels. It helped because they gave me the support I needed to navigate daily. I was alive, and I needed to live, not simply survive.

The problem-solving skills, my favorite if I’m being honest, helped me to make a ta-da list and begin calling in help from my bank, the therapist, the lawyer, and my friends—one step at a time.

The meaning skills helped me not explain away my desire to say, “See, this happened because his soul path determined it (true but not helpful in this situation)” but rather to honor how I was feeling, how I was doing well each day in some way, and to seek the meaning in my own life for the first time ever.

Life is going to happen. We are going to have moments that suck. We may even have weeks that suck, but it is our role as humans embodying our souls to ask and then act on how we can best effect the joy factor. It won’t always be easy and may require some deep digging, but I promise, with the skills on board, the process is one of discovery, and not all suck.

I still have my moments years later when I look at that time and think, WTF? I’m immensely proud of myself for following through on my commitment to me to feel my way through using guidance from my soul and brain.

I want that same feeling of pride for you, and I wish for you a belief in self to navigate life’s ups and downs and sideways, always striving for joy and love in your beautiful combination of soul and humanness.



P.S. If you'd like a transcript of the podcast, head over to Youtube for an exclusive visualizer and subtitles.

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