08.15.13 Truth & Wisdom

How to Put Things Back Together When It All Falls Apart

How to Put Things Back Together When It All Falls Apart

BY Victoria Cox

One minute life is running along so smoothly that you don’t even take the time to appreciate it, when all of a sudden you are blindsided by a lightning strike moment. In an instant that happy-go-lucky feeling vanishes into thin air. Life takes an abrupt u-turn and throws you for a loop. What’s a girl to do?

I am struggling to express this with pretty words and clever sentences, but why not just say it as it is? Life is seriously challenging right now. The world around me (as I interpret it) assures me that everyone is having a fantastic time and living their lives to the fullest yet I am not. No wonder! I isolate myself and then get angry at other people for isolating me. Blame all those around me for what they didn’t do and what they should have done yet the common denominator in this is me. After all, who wants to hang with the grumpy old lady who acts like she just had her latest issue of Knitters Weekly stolen?

I never wanted to become an unhappy person, but then again, I don’t think anyone sets out to do that in life. When asked in school, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” do you ever hear a child say, “I would like to be a Deeply Unhappy Person”? Not going to happen. Kids are optimistic little beings, and so they should be. They were born out of love and remain in that higher energy until eventually the conditioning that is part of adult life can start to grind them down. Children eventually grow up, they acquire adult responsibilities and learn the hard way that they have to take account for their actions and that sometimes life isn’t fair. Over time that child can forget just how great they used to feel when they were young, just hanging out in the backyard with their invisible friend & maybe a Barbie or two. One day that loving child looks into the mirror at her 40-year-old reflection and wonders, “Who the hell is this chick?”

So how do we avoid falling down the rabbit hole? Gratitude. Be grateful for what you have in your life, good bad or ugly. Especially ugly. Love the ugly, be grateful for the ugly. Learn that it will keep reappearing until you learn whatever ugly lesson it’s trying to teach you. Once you understand this, the ugly won’t seem quite so ugly anymore and all of its hairy warts won’t seem to have the same deterrent effect on you.

What we focus on in life manifests itself, so in focusing on the bad stuff you make a subconscious phone call to “Bad Stuff Dumper Trucks, LLC” who will come over to your house in the middle of the night and dump a whole new set of Bad Stuff onto your garden. Oh, you think it can’t get any worse than this? Here you go! Here is some more of that Bad Stuff! It’s actually a matter of quantum physics, just like that Einstein guy figured out: like attracts like. If you put negativity out into the world then don’t be surprised to discover that it comes right back atcha. Boom. How do you like them bad apples?

When battling difficult times, it can be helpful to try and shift your perspective, and maintaining a sense of humor can really help matters. “I can’t believe this is happening to me” becomes, “Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that. I wonder what this is trying to show me.”

It’s true enough that in life there are shitty situations that arise, but the trick is not to flip out when they happen, because they are not happening TO you. It’s just happening. Focus on how you choose to deal with the matter at hand. Laugh or cry. Shrug your shoulders or stamp your feet. You have a choice in how you react, and whichever choice you make doesn’t change the situation, it still will be happening. Express yourself, because repressed feelings will come back up to bite you when you least expect it.

One word of caution though, do learn to control the emotion. Don’t let those feelings that come up tag onto other, completely unrelated feelings. For example, “I am so upset that the sale of my house fell through” can be just that, a shitty situation. But when that then becomes, “I can’t believe that sale fell through” and snowballs into, “People are awful and untrustworthy” rolling into, “I’m never going to trust anyone again” until finally it’s an avalanche of, ”What is wrong with my house, what is wrong with ME?” And the beast rolls on and on. You get the picture.

Try to isolate the situation in your mind so that it doesn’t bleed into other aspects of your life that are doing just great and create a huge mudslide of awfulness. Nobody likes mudslides of awfulness, they are awfully messy and muddy too, actually.

This might sound like something you read on one of those cheesy greeting cards that are found in a darkened musty corner of the drugstore, but I’m going with it anyway. Life really is a gift. Live it, love it, and most importantly, learn from it. And always try to appreciate the Shitty Stuff. We really can handle it when it rears its stinking head, for we are never given more than we are able to handle in life- whether we realize it or not. Embrace the bad and learn the lesson, and if all else fails have a bloody good laugh at it.

When we lose our sense of humor in life, we lose our perspective. Now that should be a greeting card.

Victoria Cox is a British girl who now resides in the US. She initially lived in LA for a few years before making the move to NYC in search of seasonal weather and a good pub. Her sensible day job in the corporate world helps to ensure the rent gets paid but she loves nothing more than retreating into her creative world as an aspiring writer by night. In her free time, she loves to escape city life and travel with friends in search of adventure and inspiration for her next story.


  • The best words of wisdom I heard were from a very dear and wise friend who, being over twice my age at the time, in my mid 20s, then told me: “Learn how to put things into perspective”. I go back to this many times and it definitely clears my mind quite a bit. And, like DOES attract like and it is pretty powerful when you figure it out. Lovely article. Going to share 🙂

    • The Conversation

      Thank you for reading & sharing, Lizzie!

  • Babetta

    Everything is easier when you can keep your sense of humor. The past three months have been some of the most difficult for me personally and I allowed it to bleed over into my professional life. It’s easy to let life overwhelm you at times, and it is about flipping on the gratitude switch and really appreciating the people and moments that help pull your head back above the emotional chasm. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Helen

    Victoria, thanks for this article. I’ve been doing a lot of learning about myself over the past year following a family bereavement. I’m the first person to isolate myself and then start feeling bitter about being isolated. Bitterness is a super easy go-to emotion for me but i’m aware of it now. I read somewhere that shitty periods in one’s lives can be called ‘silences’ and to get through them we need to focus and learn from them, and then something good will come out the otherside. Ah! I think I read it in ‘The Shamen in Stilettoes’ this is a good read- it touches on the point about quantum physics and energy. H x

  • Victoria, I absolutely LOVE this! Thank you so much for writing this article. Gratitude is so essential in life. When we reach these low times, we have to brace it & push through it, because oftentimes we reach a ‘breakthrough’ on the other side. I love how you hit upon the topic of waking up one day & asking ‘Who am I?’ We often lose what I like to call our ‘inner child’ when we grow up & we do lose that carefree sense of optimism because we feel ‘forced’ to become responsible. But in what rulebook did it say that this has to be the case? Thought-provoking article. Thank you! I’ve also tried to address this top on several occassions myself & have come to believe that many 20 & 30-something’s nowadays are going through what I like to call Quarter-Life crises. The pivotal moment before the breakthrough. (http://wp.me/p3HuQG-5F)

  • Nyx

    Thanks for this post! Story of my August! Gratitude is so important, but hard to have when all the craziness happens. Good to let out all the emotions though, even if it is behind a locked bathroom door…and then make the choice to get out of the bathroom and keep on living. 🙂

  • Sue

    Wonderful every one has these trips good& bad !! Some people don’t know they are going through it!! To talk is so important!! To laugh to cry!! Sence of humour gets you through life ! Great writing Sue. Uk

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