It is not uncommon for life to throw us a curveball, and for us to be left feeling emotionally distressed. Work pressures, relationship and parenting issues, and bereavements are all very hard to cope with. As a psychotherapist, these events, however, are rarely what I focus on, because the real source of distress is not in what happens to us, but how we deal with or respond to what happens to us. This is where the real work is done, and this is where your freedom from distress lies.
Two things can happen when life throws that curveball. Either you’ll respond in a way that moves you towards feeling better, and this usually involves getting support from others, making sense of and processing your emotions, and then finding a way to live your life in spite of what has happened. Or you will respond in a way that adds to, complicates, or even prolongs (sometimes indefinitely) the distress that you feel, which usually involves isolating yourself, ignoring and avoiding your emotions, and ruminating upon what has happened and worrying about something similar happening in the future.
Learning about these unhelpful ways of responding can help us avoid turning upset and even crisis into full-blown anxiety and depression, and can undo anxiety and depression too. But please let it be noted, I am not saying we can avoid these curveballs. We have very little control over what comes our way. The control we do have, however, is how we respond to what happens. And this is actually all the control you need to live a life where you are able to be happy and to deal with the upsets and crises that come your way.
This is what empowerment is, this is what the empowered person essentially does. They have mastered dealing with external stresses by focusing on and managing the way they respond. Because, again, you can’t do anything about what happens to you (or what has happened to you), but you can learn to respond in a way that is helpful to you when bad things happen.
It is not uncommon for us to be emotionally distressed. Relationship issues, work-place pressures, bereavements, etc., are all very hard to cope with. As a psychotherapist though, these events are rarely what I focus on. The real source of distress is not in what happens to us, but how we deal with or respond to what happens to us. This is where the real work is done, and this is where your freedom from distress lies.