Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Empty Inbox


After being laid off from my full-time job two weeks ago and reluctantly enrolled in what I term The White Box Club, I found myself wading through waves of phone calls, text messages, and emails from friends and family expressing their words of wisdom, love, and support. People I didn't even know were sending messages of hope and encouragement through social media. The outpouring of support was amazing.

Then this past Friday—exactly two weeks after that shocking and unexpected event—my inbox was empty. Hardly an email, phone call, or text message. It suddenly felt like the whole event had never occurred. Until I remembered that it had.

So what just happened?

The moment I told my Mom about this unexpected condition, she recalled the time when our home was lost to a fire back in 2002. "There was such an outpouring of support for quite a while. But then there was a day when it all came to a screeching halt. Another note for the time frame, but also another twinge of the heart."

I was reminded that every life event has a process—a beginning and an end—and so do the people touched by it. When others near to us are swept into the emotional waves of a personal life event, they, too, become a part of it... for a short time. But then they return to their own lives. They come, they love, they leave.

So if other people can move on so quickly, why can’t I? How come I can’t just process the sadness and disappointment and get over it? 

Because it happened to me.

Other people process faster because empathy can only take you so far. Even when we extend support to others, we will naturally have an inherent need to nurture ourselves. And when the event happens to us, our own process will always be different from anyone else—especially since we're the ones who are most affected. And that’s okay.

As a life coach, I encourage my clients to receive—and not be afraid to ask for—support from their friends and family when facing tough times. I also teach them to rely on themselves for encouragement. Learning to becoming your own coach can serve you for the rest of your life.

Starting to reflect upon the lessons I'm learning during this layoff process is, yet again, another opportunity to me to learn how to coach myself—another chance to "drink another cup of my own coffee." Whereas the encouragement came from others during the past two weeks, it now needs to come from me. My friends and family reminded me how important my gifts are to the world, and now I need to remind myself.

If I believe that every life event has a process, then this, too, shall pass. Sometimes in the most difficult times, the glimmer of hope becomes the light at the end of the tunnel.

My challenges this week?
  • To allow myself to keep processing, and be very kind to myself as I do
  • Keep bringing clarity to these moments
  • Acknowledge all of my thoughts, feelings, and intuitive "nudges"
  • Continue to practice patience and trust the process
  • Keep focusing on internal and external alignment

Throughout this process of grieving: anger, confusion, sadness, and acceptance, I will stay true to myself and my integrity. And while my hands are staying busy doing logical things (arranging finances, networking, searching for new opportunities), my heart will continue healing and my next opportunity will, indeed, come into alignment with me.

To Our Better Balance,

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg is an educator, best-selling author, and certified life coach. His passion is to help people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life. You can follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter, or find out more at michaelsunnarborg.com

Need some inspiration? Pick up a copy of 21 Days, Steps & Keys, or one of the other books in the balance series, and start off 2015 by finding better balance in your career, relationships, and life.

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Photo courtesy of me :o)