I often ask myself when life situations become difficult, is it bipolar related, or just life related? I think that’s a distinction we all need to make from time-to-time. So what do you do when it’s just a simple case of life throwing lemons at your head? Often times I find I’m just floundering with emotion and there’s nothing to “do” with my anguish during a crisis. Today I was searching for an actionable answer, and this is what I came up with. Perhaps many of you came to it long before me….
The only thing you can really “do” with grief, that helps in any fashion, is to turn it into generosity. Take for example, a terrible experience you’ve been through, now find someone (preferably who you don’t even know) in a similar situation and just do something nice for them, something simple but thoughtful. The result is profound. I’ve found that it’s possible to basically relearn your emotions surrounding your traumatic event. Instead of dwelling on the suffering, it’s more natural to hold onto the positivity you created. I don’t know… maybe it’s far too simplistic of a notion but it seems very powerful to me.
It’s not exactly “paying it forward” because that means someone did something nice for you, and now you repay the good deed. That’s tit-for-tat, karma driven kind of behavior. This is more transformative. It means offering someone your hand when they’re in a hole. We’ve all been in holes, some of us have been in really deep ones that we dug ourselves. So, if you see someone in a deep hole, even if you don’t know them, why not offer some advice, a kind gesture, or a gift? Why not look at the vision of your former self and send out a life raft (preferably a life raft full of presents, cake, and smiley faces)?
Maybe we can all try this as we go over life events in our past? It doesn’t let you re-write your history, but it does put a very positive spin on how you live your future. Your generosity, kindness, and empathy might really change things for someone who has not had the benefit of your personal experience. Everyone has something to offer another soul, especially in times of turbulence.
There’s no way to predict how your actions will affect that other person, and it’s really not entirely the point. The gesture of generosity is the part that eases the pain of trauma. I did exactly what I’m describing just this week, and it left me feeling refreshed and relieved, happy and thankful.
I guess I keep coming back to this other point also: Just because you have bipolar doesn’t mean you have less to offer humanity. It doesn’t mean you have limitations in a soulful sense. If you believe you do, figure out how to surmount that. Where is your hang up and how can you move through it? Be committed to the life you want to lead and make a plan. Act on that plan. Others will feel the positive influx of your special (and hopefully quite quarky) spirit.