I Can Cope

Written by: Miri
September 3, 2021
 | One Comment

Given what is to imminently unfold in front of us, this has got to be the maxim and the slogan that all of us commit to heart - and we've got to truly mean it.

I get a lot of messages via my various platforms, to the general effect of, "I can't cope with what's happening. I can't cope with the schools shutting down again. I can't cope with working from home. I can't cope with the difficulties I'm having with my partner / relatives / boss" - etc - but this is not true.

You may indeed find all of these situations extremely stressful, upsetting, and a huge drain upon your resources, which is, of course, entirely understandable - but you CAN cope, and you must tell yourself this and you must mean it, because if you don't, you are going to break with what's coming. I am not trying to scare anyone, purvey "fear porn", "focus on the negative", or any of the usual cliches people come up with when they don't want to face an unpalatable truth, but this is the reality: we are right on the precipice of a very difficult and dark winter, and we need to steel ourselves at every level for what is coming. We must master resilience, adaptability, and personal responsibility. You are not responsible for what is happening around us but you are responsible for how you respond to it.

I see far too many people saying, "this is too much for me. I can't deal with it. Help me, save me,", and you must snap out of this mentality immediately, because we are all in the same storm and therefore we must all focus on learning how to swim, not expecting others to save us from drowning - because all too often, expecting others to save you from drowning means the weight of expectation drags you both down.

You are an adult, with all the emotional and intellectual resources of an adult. You are not a helpless, powerless child. There are, however, millions of children and others with serious vulnerabilities (the very elderly, the profoundly learning disabled, the chronically unwell) who are dependent on you adulting up and being strong enough to stay afloat yourself, and ensuring they do, too. We capable adults can certainly support each other, and should, in an appropriate, proportionate way - but we must not forfeit our own agency and expect other adults to save us. We need to save ourselves.

For example, I run a free resource with lots of information and letter templates which people are welcome to use to help them with their own situations (www.miriaf.co.uk). Many people do this, in an entirely appropriate way, and I am very pleased indeed when the resources I offer can help - especially when people are kind enough to offer a donation in return, to enable me to keep making these resources freely available to all. But individuals must take initiative and responsibility themselves. I get so many messages from people who just want me to do everything for them, whilst they offer nothing in return - find the relevant letter template for them, make adjustments for them, tell them where to send it, offer my sympathy and guidance and help and advice - and this attitude is no good. I am swamped with these messages all day, every day (and evenings, weekends, holidays, etc). I can't hand-hold everyone.

Adults need to practice and prize self-sufficiency and doing as much as they can for themselves, only reaching out to others for help when they've fully explored and put into practice their own abilities, and only asking for things from others in an appropriate way - which includes taking that other person's situation into account, and considering whether this person is perhaps giving enough - or too much - already.

If you happen to have a "saviour complex", which I and most people involved in "helping professions" do, it's very difficult not to feel deeply compelled to "save" every person who places their problems at our feet, by giving, giving, giving - but, ultimately, this is nothing but a toxic recipe for disaster - draining dry the resources of the helper, whilst enabling (rather than empowering) the person wanting to be saved - who never learns how to "self-soothe", an absolutely critical ability, now more than ever.

I cannot overstate this enough. You (all of us) need to adult up right now and save yourself, to make sure you're strong enough to survive what's coming and help those who genuinely cannot save themselves (e.g. children).

I am reading a book at the moment about needy people and the toll they take on those of us who feel driven to "save everyone". The crucial point the book makes is about maturity and mental health - that maturity IS mental health. That needy, dependent people who always seem to be in emotional crisis haven't grown up. None of us had perfect childhoods and many people have endured some epic traumas, which take some time and work to get over - but it is incumbent on everyone to do that work and not look for surrogate parents in other adults (which is effectively what the "help me, save me" brigade are doing).

If you need a therapist, get one (therapists not only get paid but also get plenty of professional supervision and support to ensure they don't burn out with the weight of other people's problems). But do whatever you need to do to grow up now and become the autonomous, self-sufficient sovereign being you were born to be.

I CAN COPE. That is the mantra of those to whom the future belongs.

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One comment on “I Can Cope”

  1. True!

    I found myself wanting to not take part in this insanity, but realized that I cannot control what is happening around me, nor can I control how people react.

    I remind myself of what I CAN do - exercise, sleep well, go outside in the sun and fresh air, sing, read, and most of all, keep my eyes on the Lord.

    It's a challenging time to say the least, but you provide an excellent slogan - I CAN COPE.


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