Pulling Myself Up by My Sexy Bootstraps-My Kids are Watching

I like to write about whatever is burning inside me at the moment, so unfortunately this post doesn’t have stories about vibrators or pictures of sexy women like my last post, “Good vibes for my Friends.”  Instead, this post is more therapeutic for me. 

My family was hit with some really bad news this weekend.  Nobody died but it honestly felt like someone did.  I have been watching my reaction over the weekend and I am certain my kids have been watching too.  It looked something like this:

  • Shock and denial which includes tears and statements like “Oh, my God”.
  • Anger which looks something like this, “How can they do this to us those f%#$$ bastards?”
  • Bargaining which includes making proclamations to a higher force like, “I promise I will be a better person and … please give us another chance.”
  • Depression rendering into sobbing tears, loss of appetite, sleepless nights, and wearing my pajamas till noon. 
  • Repeat
  • Repeat in a different order

Repeat again and again and again until you finally come to terms with the tragedy, the final stage, called acceptance.  This is known as the Kubler-Ross model for dealing with grief and so far it seems to be smack on.  I remember learning about it in my Death and Dying Class in high school.  Yes, I had a Death and Dying Class.  I went to a Catholic high school.  Of course back then they were just words.  Today, they are a fact of life.  Heart stopping news has become a regular experience around here.  Remember, it was only a couple of months ago that I wrote a post called, “Put One Foot in Front of the Other”. 

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross teaches that these stages should not be rushed, that we need to simply be aware of our feelings and we will eventually reach the acceptance stage.  It could take a day, a month or years.  Well, I am a very impatient person and I want this nightmare to end now.  I want to fix it so I can move on with my life and live happily ever after.  Of course, I know that’s a bit ridiculous (I may be in the anger stage right now), but let’s back up a minute.  Maybe it is not as ridiculous as it sounds!

According to Professor George Bonanno at Columbus University, he does not believe in these stages, he says it is all about resilience.  The Mayo clinic staff has some ideas about resilience as well,

 “When something goes wrong, do you tend to bounce back or fall apart? When you have resilience, you harness inner strengths and rebound more quickly from a setback or challenge, whether it’s a job loss, an illness, a disaster or the death of a loved one.”  In contrast, if you lack resilience, you tend to dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed and turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse. You may even be more inclined to develop mental health problems.”

Ok.  I choose resilience!!!  As I researched resilience it seems that it is more of a process than a character trait.  That is good news.  We can gain resilience over the years.  The bad news, it requires some blows.  So the old adage is true, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  The lesson here, it’s better to roll with the punches and take a few hits than to duck.  There is more good news though, we can teach resilience to our kids.  And the best way to teach resilience is by modeling it.  What better reason to get out of my pajamas, pull myself up by my sexy bootstraps and start working on a plan.  My kids are watching.

6 Responses to “Pulling Myself Up by My Sexy Bootstraps-My Kids are Watching”

  1. Raundi Says:

    This was so honest and touching. I am speechless. Thank you for sharing it. The great thing is that resilience seems to grow exponentially. Woot Girl! I’m getting my boots on, too.

  2. Cyndi Says:

    You have alot of resilience already, Lady! You are just going to get stronger and more powerful! If there’s anything I can do to help you know where I am.

  3. John Alvarado Says:

    Wonderful post! You’ve highlighted the fact that our actions (what we do) need not be dictated by our emotions (what we feel). Our emotions are a wonderful primal source of information about the significance of an event. But we can use our intelligence and reason to take that information, examine it, understand it, an still form a plan of action that is consistent with our goals and values.

    The grief cycle is about what we feel; resilience is about what we do. Developing strong goals and values is the basis of developing resilience–they provide us with the hand rail to follow and lean on when we are blinded or weakened by strong emotion.

    Emotions and actions are also two-way influences: emotions make us want to do certain things, but doing things also make us feel certain emotions. Taking positive purposefully-planned actions, in spite of negative emotions, can make you feel better. For example, you know you’re gonna feel great walking in those sexy boots!

    All the best to you!

  4. Deanne Says:

    I want to thank all of you that read my last blog and reached out to us. Your comforting words have kept us strong. For those of you that have been guessing at the bad news, it is not divorce, cancer or a shortage of beer and chocolate. Kevin is back on the job search. We may loose our house but we have an awesome family, amazing friends and I feel extremely rich in spite of it all!

    Thank you John, Raundi and Cyndi for your comments. I’m glad you guys liked the post. I definitely opened my heart on this one but I have learned such a lesson in resilince that I wanted to share it with everyone. John, I may use some of your ideas in an article I am writing. I will quote you if that’s ok. You are quite wise my friend.

  5. clare Says:

    The trouble is you have been having to be resiliant for so long and you had just let your guard down to relax at last. That’s why it hit so hard and made you feel unable to stand up to its immensity. Friends can fill in for resilliance when it fails and friends can provide beer and chocolate when supplies are low, but can I just say that I am so very glad that it is not cancer. You can’t brainstorm your way out of cancer, but we can all think outside the box and help you work this one out.

  6. Deanne Says:

    OMG! I spelled lose, loose. Totally unacceptable. A pet peeve of mine. Also, resilience. Hopefully you will all let it slide in lieu of our situation.

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