5 Useful Steps to Take When You Think Life’s a Waste of Time

5 Useful Steps to Take When You Think Life's a Waste of Time

It is not the things that happen to us that give us suffering; rather, it is the things that we say to ourselves about the things that happen.

~Pema Chodron

You know the dreadful worry that we all have, the fear that something terrible will happen, and that our lives will never be the same again, do you?

My greatest fear is that something terrible will happen to our baby. She is the only kid that we have.

We struggled with infertility for many years before we were finally able to conceive of her.

I keep telling myself that it’s simply an illogical worry and that probably every parent has it to some level, but it’s a continuous companion that secretly follows me around wherever I go.

It’s a constant friend that silently follows me around everywhere I go.

As a result, on a Saturday evening when we returned after an evening out to pick her up from the playcare and were met with the sight of blood on her face and the sound of inconsolable sobbing, my heart simply stopped beating completely.

She had landed on her head after she had slipped from a playscape. It had taken place only a few minutes before our arrival.

The only information that the caregivers were able to provide was that a tooth was knocked out. We made a beeline for the nearest hospital’s emergency department.

After what seemed like hours, the doctors gave us the all-clear, which meant there was no head damage or fractures, and they sent us home with a prescription for painkillers along with orders to relax.

She was in excruciating discomfort and was vomiting up for the next twenty-four hours. Even holding water in her mouth was too much for her.

I tormented myself with thoughts that it must be a life-threatening brain injury that the medical professionals at the emergency department had overlooked.

Because she reported feeling better the next day, I decided to dismiss my concerns.

The next week was a frenzy of activity as I made many trips to the dentist to have broken and loose teeth extracted.

The misalignment of her jaw was brought to the dentist’s attention during one of the appointments. We wasted no time in getting to the oral surgeon.

The nurses at the emergency department did not notice that her jaw was fractured when it happened. And by this point, it was much too late. The bone had already begun to set in a crooked fashion when it was discovered.

In order to correct it, she would need extensive surgery. She was still too young to have the operation done, but by the time she is eighteen, the misaligned jaw will probably be bothering her to the point that she will have no choice but to have it fixed surgically.

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After a couple of weeks had passed and things had begun to calm down, I brought her to the park so she could get some fresh air and blow off some steam.

The unfortunate event that occurred was that she fell again, and this time she fractured her arm.

In her whole life, we had avoided any really life-threatening situations. And now, within the space of just as many weeks, we had two separate instances of shattered bones.

During the time that I was waiting for the orthopedic surgeon to apply the cast, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Right now, our life is terrible.”

And I can’t say that this was the first time such idea had crossed my mind.

A few years ago, while my husband was in the emergency department, my daughter and I waited outside with her, and the doctors had no solutions for us. During that time, I felt more worse than I do now.

And prior to that, in my place of employment, when a coworker was determined to make my life a living hell.

And when my closest friend, who had been suffering from depression, stopped picking up the phone when I called her.

And when I severed ties with my very first romantic partner.

And a gazillion times more besides.

These occurrences are common to each and every one of us. It’s simply the way things work out in life. What counts is how we choose to respond to such situations when they arise.

I feel as if I’ve spent the larger part of my life feeling frazzled and unable to deal with situations like this.

Over the course of time, I have the impression that I have worked out a few things that I can start doing to get back on my feet.

I’m passing them along in the anticipation that at least some of you will appreciate their use just as much as I do.

1. Instead of saying “Why me?” Replace It with “What next?”

It’s only natural that when anything goes wrong, one of the first questions that comes to our minds is, “Why me?”

The statement “why me?” is a sign of weakness, but here’s the thing: it’s a common one. It just helps to reinforce our sense that we are helpless victims and makes us feel unable to cope with the circumstance.

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When we make a conscious effort to catch ourselves thinking, “Why me?” and then replace that thought with, “What next?”

We not only restore our sense that we have control over the situation, but we also determine what it is that we can do about it.

After that, my kid would get very distressed if she had even a little mishap. I would always try to seem as calm as possible, even when I felt like screaming, “Why us?

Is it possible for us to take a break?” and remark, “Aww, poor baby. Are you hurt? Accidents happen. Do you believe that a sterile gauze pad would be helpful?” A boo-boo pad was always helpful, that much is certain.

We gradually regained our ability to bounce back from minor setbacks by increasing our level of resiliency.

2. Make it a Priority to Develop an Attitude of Thankfulness

When you are given a blow, no matter how great or how tiny, it is difficult to feel thankful. This is true regardless of the severity of the strike.

The diagnosis of a fractured jaw for my kid left me in utter disbelief. Gratitude was a discipline that I had to almost coerce myself into doing.

Every time I had a conversation with a new person, I would always start by saying, “Well, we’re glad it wasn’t a brain injury.”

After a few more times of saying it to myself, I began to believe it, and the feeling of appreciation started to come over me. And in the end, it was a factor that assisted in coping with the news of the misaligned jaw.

There is always, always going to be something to be thankful for, regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. Make it a point to repeat the phrase aloud at least a few times. Both your intellect and your emotions will eventually catch up to where you are.

3. Quit Blaming

When you are in pain, it is only natural for you to search for someone to place the blame on.

In my situation, I was inclined to blame myself, the staff at the playcare, the physicians at the emergency department, and so on and so forth.

But laying blame will only make the pain last longer. It makes it more difficult to let go of things. It stirs up rage inside us and eats away at us from the inside out. It introduces a negative element into our lives.

So simply quit.

When something is destined to take place, it cannot fail to do so. That sums it up well. Take care of it, and then go on.

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4. Refrain From Caving In to Your Anxieties & Giving Up Hope

This is a challenging situation. It is far simpler to just cave in and yield to the dread and anguish that one is experiencing.

However, despite the fact that we may feel that we are two feet too short, we need to stand tall.

It was really challenging for me to be confident in front of my kid while still concealing the fears that I was experiencing. But I’m so pleased I did.

During that time, I had genuinely began to question every once in a while whether anything was truly wrong. The ominous worry that accompanied me wherever I went told me over and over again that something terrible was taking place.

But little by little, she picked up on the confidence I portrayed and began to develop that trait herself. And then she went straight back to her monkey business. And they didn’t have any more mishaps after that.

And I found that my concerns were becoming less pressing.

When it comes to dread and hopelessness, you have to act as if you don’t feel them in order to overcome them. You will succeed in the end, whether it be sooner or later.

5. Never Give Up

We didn’t like the jaw surgery judgment. Even though it felt like a waste of time, we decided to get a second opinion.

The new oral surgeon followed traditional practices. She recommended going to physical therapy.

We reminded ourselves with reminders on our phones, and my daughter worked hard to do her workouts (god bless her heart, she’s such a trooper for being such a little child).

After a month, there was a noticeable improvement in the alignment of the jaw. Things are starting to look up in a positive way.

It’s possible that the operation won’t be necessary after all. We have no choice but to keep our fingers crossed.

Don’t give up no matter where you are or what you’re going through, no matter how bad things become. Just give it one more go; you never know whether it may be the solution you’ve been looking for all along.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over, as the saying goes.

While I am working on this essay, I can hear my daughter riding her bike in the yard.

Then, a resounding thump catches my attention. I take a deep breath and then I wait. Then, the words finally come out of her mouth: “I’m alright.”

Yes. I believe that everything is going to be well.

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