- We may go into denial, and convince ourselves that our life altering incident was someone else's fault, or that our problems are someone's responsibility to fix now.
- We may embrace the reality of that life altering incident, and believe it's a welcome story, that we can use when someone makes a movie about our life.
- We may choose to wallow in depression, and dwell on the ideal that incidents of that kind weren't meant to happen to important people such as ourselves.
- Or, we may take the crisis as a sign that we're no longer as important to the world as we once believed, and then completely change our view of our individual placement in this world.
When these types of incidents happen and ruin our sense of control over our future, it defeats our self confidence, and brutally confronts us with the fact that we're not the center of our universe any more, and it makes us feel like we're individually unimportant when we observe others who are happy when we are not. This process can cause devastating effects on our psychology, which too often leads to depression, mental illness, and even suicide.
There is a better way to make it through these incidents in our lives though, and to turn the emotions encountered by them into more positive energy and outcomes...
The fact of the matter is that we're simply not the center of the universe we thought we once were. As we loose our parents who may have adored and cared for us as children, and as we lose friends who used to always be around, we get humbled by loneliness and challenges that only we alone experience. We are only as important as those around us deem us to be. The things we experience in life seen from our individual perspectives may be bruising, but unless others have previously or currently are experiencing things the same way we are, it will always be hard for them to see the significance of our struggles.
Growing older allows us to witness our frailty, our limitations, and the trials others face. It also presents the opportunity for us to build families of our own, where we influence the lives of others, and hopefully have a positive impact on those we raise and teach. These life-altering events These experiences present many unique opportunities for us to show the type of character we possess. Perhaps we should see these life-altering and catastrophic events as inevitable, and as normal, and as opportunities that allow us to find our personal strength.
There have been so many catastrophic events in our history where not only the people involved in them suffered, but also people who witnessed or even heard about them experiences post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Far away history-wise there was the crash of the Hindenburg, The Sinking of the Titanic, the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King, major earthquakes and tsunamis, well you get the idea. More recently there has been a lot of plane and train crashes, economic crisis, school shootings, political and social turmoil, and many other incidents that have shaken us up as individuals, not even including the things we experience in our more local personal lives.
When 9/11 occurred, I watched interviews of people and took careful note of the insight. I was watching an interview with a NY Fire Department representative (did not record his name at the time), and he was providing advice on how to deal with deep personal grief people were experiencing because of the brutal experience of losing loved ones. He said simply that the grief is magnanimous and it's hard to see the ability to recover because people don't know how to process the crisis. He said the best way to regain functionality was to break each moment down to what you need to prioritize, which stuck with me all these years since. He said, break each day down to hours and even minutes where you ask yourself what you need to prioritize, for example - "What do I need to do right now", "What do I need to do 10 minutes from now?", then "What do I need to do in the next hour?". His advice was to not think far ahead during a crisis until the strength comes back to you to do so, and by the time you reach that point, you will have recovered from the shock. This advice was so essential in getting me through my own personal tough times and periods of tragedy, and it's stuck with me in everything I've encountered as a personal crisis since 9/11.
As we realize that we're less important to this world as a whole on our own, it should grant us strength to know that the connections we create make us more important... Studies have been shown that isolation presents us with health issues as we age. Our connections and responsibilities to family and friends that care about us not only grant us better health, but they also grant us responsibility that makes us feel grounded. By maintaining great relationships of trust among friends and family, we usually also create a network of people that exist in our lives to share in moments of stress, and the often pick us up when we go through crisis as we do for them.
Through life good people find strength based on those whom they're responsible for, as well as strength based on their personal constitution to live and be happy. You yourself have a right to the pursuit of happiness, you have the ability to achieve happiness, even though not every day will be lovely. Realize that if you are feeling down right now, that can't and won't last forever, and you have the ability to change your experience even when no one else is there in your life to. Realize that being the same as one of the good people that you consider or considered essential to your life is exactly what makes you more immortal, and vital to the lives of others like people you mentor, your spouse, and your children... This is what makes you the center of the universe for the people in your life in a much more humble way than being a movie star or pro athlete. Children don't cry for Jordan or Lebron when they get injured in a basketball game (just as one example), they call for their reliable family members to help them when they are in need, and you can be that person for them, if you live your life right. The one thing I can assure you of though is that you'll never make it there if you don't keep yourself engaged and build responsibility in your life, and you won't get there if you can't observe anyone else as equally and/or more important than yourself within your years living in this dimension.
May you find happiness in your journey in life and also realize that being famous won't save you from crisis, but being essential and positively influential to the life of others is what makes your life well lived, and makes personal crisis something you can and will always overcome with the right amount of time.