August 3, 2018

This Will Be Interesting

Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Ok, that was a rhetorical question, I am sure you have, as have I, many times.

Life is hard. Sometimes it feels like stuff is thrown at us with lightning speed. We are filled with questions regarding the future: How will we manage? What if…? What if not…? The worry, or angst, can be paralyzing, not to mention times when we are overcome by grief, sadness, or depression.

I have often wondered at how we are born and instantly just thrown into the chaos, left to make our decisions as best we can. I certainly didn’t come with a manual that warned about my hidden congenital heart disease, or the depression that I would experience because of it, or the nearly crippling fear before my open-heart surgery. I didn’t have a handbook called “How to Raise Toddlers When Your Body is Ninety Years Old and No-one Knows Why”.

But I want to share one approach that I have found to give comfort in any circumstance we might find ourselves in. I have at least not yet encountered any situation where this approach wasn’t useful or comforting.

When my first book, the Wall Street Journal bestseller Beautiful Affliction, was about to be published, I was thrown onto a roller coaster of emotions that I wasn’t prepared for. It was a mix of anxiety for how the book would be received, the fear that often comes from walking into unknown territory, the uncomfortable feeling of exposing myself, and constant decisions that needed to be made, with no way of knowing for sure how the decisions would impact the book’s success.

My way of coping with this prolonged stressful situation, was to repeat the mantra that had helped me through the challenges described in the book: This will be interesting. I chased away thoughts that worried about success, and let myself rest in the assurance, that either way, the journey would be interesting. The assurance that I would learn a lot. The belief that things would work out for the best and even if they didn’t, it would at least be interesting.

It might sound simple, but the truth is we can always grow, always learn something. If nothing else, we can examine and learn from our own emotional response to the situation we are in. That is, I have found, often extremely interesting. Because we are not so different after all, and anything we can learn from our own experiences, can help us connect with others in a more profound way. Every time we feel something, which is all the time, we grow to better understand humanity.

As writers, we can use what we learn in our work, but every person is a creator–a writer of sorts–of their own story, and we can use what we learn in our interactions with friends and family, and thus grow, and learn, and grow even more. Even in times when we feel like our lives stand still and we learn nothing at all. Perhaps especially in such times.

Then, whatever dark place we find us in, the view can still be interesting, and even spectacular.



Comments (19)

  • Det är ett riktigt bra mantra, fungerar vid alla sorters situationer. Jag tror också att det gör så att man blir snällare mot sig själv, känslotopparna planar ut o man ser klarare vad livet för med sig. Och som du skriver, man lär sig av både + och -. Kram

    • Eller hur, jag tycker det ligger något positivt i det, som kan lyfta de mest utmanande situationer. Och även hur man själv reagerar kan ses med nyfiken, undersökande blick med vilja att lära. Kram, kram.

  • Känner igen mycket av det du skriver. Jag har genom åren använt ordet spännande oftare än intressant. Det är spännande att se hur “det går” med ……. Men det är inte alltid jag har lyckats tänka så förstås. Du har rätt att din strategi “intressant” är ett jättebra sätt att se på livet. Kram Eva

    • Ja, jag tycker det fungerar extra bra när man är orolig eller går igenom något svårt, kanske under lång tid. Om inte annat så kan det vara intressant och rentav spännande som du säger, att iaktta de olika stadierna av känslor man går igenom. Kram, kram.

  • Camilla Fogelberg

    Underbart att läsa detta Lene! Du är fantastisk som klarat tänka så genom dina svåra erfarenheter. Jag läser just nu en bok av Maria-Pia Gottberg som heter medkänslans pedagogik. Hon presenterar ett nytt ord för mig: Självmedkänsla (self-compassion). Handlar om att underhålla en varm och vänlig relation med sig själv, oavsett om livet erbjuder medgång eller motgång. Precis det du beskriver. Själva acceptansen av jobbiga känslor gör det lättare att släppa taget och ge plats för mer behagliga upplevelser.
    Massor med kramar! ❤️

  • Jag skulle kunna läsa något skrivet av dig varje dag, kära Lene! Underbar inställning och perfekt mantra att använda när man känner att det går motströms. Önskar dig en fortsatt bra helg! Kramar

  • Jag har några stulna mantra som jag tar till när det behövs – mer sällan nu än förr: .) Come what may and love it. .) This, too, shall pass. (“And it came to pass.”) Orden har stor makt.

    • Tack fina Harriet för att du delar med dig av dina mantra (som jag också gillar skarpt). Jag blev påmind om ett annat som också hjälp mig mycket i all sin enkelhet: “Things will work out”. Det är verkligen sant att ord har stor makt i att förändra vår tanke och inställning och att påminna oss om det hopp som burit genom tidigare svårigheter.

  • Once, when I was hospitalized and gravely ill, my brother took my hand and said, ‘No matter what happens, it will be all right.” He wasn’t saying, “Don’t worry, you’ll get better,” or “There’s nothing to worry about,” but simply that there would be a way of moving through whatever was ahead. Your mantra, “This will be interesting” has the same feel to it.

    • Thank you for sharing that experience Nan, I love your brother’s response to your situation. His words strike me as empowering, like you said; that there would be a way of moving through whatever was ahead. I understand why you’ve kept his words with you, they also strike me as relevant and comforting in all kinds of difficulties, big or small. Such a wise brother!

  • We have all been in these kinds of situations where we simply do not know what to do or how we will cope. And yes it has been interesting to say the least

    • Thanks Dana, I loved your words “we have all been in these kinds of situations…” because I believe that is so true, and that there is great comfort in sharing our struggles so we can feel less alone. Thank you for sharing ❤️

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