What to Do When Life Craps on You

by Steven Wright

 

Concentration camp

This weekend, I started re-reading A Man’s Search For Meaning, by Victor Frankl. I’ve read it at least twice a year, for the past 3 years.  When I start to feel lost, burnt out or confused about life it always helps.

One of the themes that hit me hard today: “It’s never about what happens to us, it’s always about what our reaction to it is.”

This is coming from a man who’s lived through Nazi hell – one who arguably lived through the worst that man can do to another: having everything taken from him and almost worked to death. I love the perspective the book gives to me.  If he can keep going in those conditions, what do I really have to complain about?

What to Do When Life Covers You in Crap

Saturday morning, I woke up to a flurry of texts from Jordan. Our site was hacked again. Everything we owned was shut down and had been offline for over 8 hours at this point.

Not exactly what I was hoping for on Easter weekend.

Being hacked feels the same to me as when my sweet CD player and senior pictures were stolen out of my car. It’s a violation of personal space, it costs a lot of money and is emotionally draining.

But more importantly, in this case, the information on this site that saved my life and has helped thousands wasn’t available to be read by others who need it. They need it now – not tomorrow, but right now when they are searching for it.  And if the resource isn’t available because of some hacker, that sucks.

So, what do you do when you realize that you’re being crapped on? Well, if you’re like me, my first instinct is to fight back and to make it stop. But in this lawless place called the Internet that’s not really an option. All we could do was reach out for help.

The same is true when it comes to health. It seems like when you don’t have “time” for it, health problems rear their ugly heads. And then there is a flood of emotions from anger, sadness, confusion, annoyance to hopelessness. The fastest way to stop these negative patterns and take control of the situation is to seek help from someone who understands it.

When being crapped on, step one is asking for help.

Then, Take the Next Step

Why am I saying a line like that? It’s not to insult you or treat you like a child.  It’s actually because when I’m in a crisis, I know it’s really hard to keep my head on straight (and the hormones are raging).

I’m writing this as an action plan for you as much as it’s a reminder for me. I’m not immune… it happens to me more than most.

Step two is to turn the anger into gratitude, which is not always easy.

If you were just robbed, raped or broken up with, it might take a long time. We were robbed again this weekend. It cost us several thousand dollars and more of Jordan’s precious hair to fix it.

The man saves our company all the time. I’m so grateful for him right now.

I’m saying this because sometimes we get a spoonful of crap flung at our face (like getting cut off in traffic) and other times a dump truck will back up and unload it all on our head at once.

Such is life…

In all cases, the faster I can move from anger, self-pity and frustration into seeing what is right about the situation, the faster I will recover. Seeing what’s right about this is becoming grateful that it happened. And once I make this pivot in thinking I know I instantly become stronger.

In this case, we’re investing more time and money into protecting all of our assets and in preparation for our upcoming “Solving Leaky Gut” launch (more on that in the coming weeks). This is preparing us for much higher traffic and increasing security.

When it comes to health, there is a huge emotional component to it that no one likes to talk about. I’m not sure if it’s too new-agey or abstract or what, but as soon as you go there people are quick to write you off. But I’ll tell you this, the faster you move away from any thoughts about shame, blame and pity for being sick to thoughts of blessings, small joys and gratitude that you can do something about it the faster you will get better. And if you never adopt this attitude I’m not sure you will ever get well.

It’s really hard to do when your stomach has you on your knees in pain, but figure out a way to express gratitude. Even if means calling a few loved ones and just telling them how much they mean to you and how they’ve helped you. Over time, with daily practice you’ll be able to turn that gratitude inward toward your body.

Look, going from anger to gratitude isn’t something I was really even capable of a year ago but I’m finding now it’s very much like a muscle. Practice, do it more, flex it more, and the transition can happen much faster. This leads us to step 3.

Cleanup Your Face and Move Forward

Okay, so now that we’re grateful this giant pile of poop is actually going to help us be stronger let’s move forward and take action.

See, it’s not good enough to just be grateful. The next step is to ask yourself this: “How can I move forward and make this lesson part of my life?” Sometimes it’s easy to stop at gratitude, but if you do… then you might not actually make the change to prevent the same problem next time.

In our case, it was making some tough calls about security and how we set up our website in the future.

It’s painful for us (and for you) to make this decision, but it’s the best way forward and to keep it from becoming a recurring problem.

So, let’s say that your gut is really hurting right now, and doing anything seems impossible. What do you do then? Well, the first step is to write down a record of what you’ve been doing that’s gotten you to this place. What have your food, supplements, sleep, stress and emotional habits been in the last 30 days? Now, look at the list and pick a few areas to change. Maybe you’ve been extra stressed, so start some yoga. Maybe you’ve been wondering about starting some new supplements; do it. Maybe your sleep has been okay but not great; improve it. The point is: think about all the areas and try a few new things to help out.

Einstein said something like, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So, these problems can turn into opportunities in life, and give us the ability to change. But to change we must take action and do things differently.

Do this! Don’t think about doing it, but actually do something different. It will be worth it in the end.

We All Take Crap Sooner or Later (so Expect it)

The truth is we will keep getting angry, frustrated and crapped on our whole lives. It never stops.

In my opinion, it’s always going to come down to how we react to it. Victor Frankl ended up writing, teaching and changing history because of how he responded to the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

And in the past I might have spent much of my weekend mad and trying to fix things myself. Instead, the 3 steps above helped keep me sane. And Victor’s writing helped me realize that this too shall pass, and no matter how stinky and awful the pile of crap feels, it can always be worse.

The same is true for health; there will be setbacks. Sometimes you’ll be focused on loving others and forget about yourself. Other times fun or stress will derail health. It’s been happening to me ever since I started this journey 5 years ago and I fully expect it to keep going. The key is to see the pattern faster and start these 3 steps as fast as possible.

Remember Frankl’s message: it’s not what happens to us, it’s how we react to it.

Hope you had a better weekend!

– Steve

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About the author

Steven Wright Steve Wright is a health engineer and author. In 2009, he reached a breaking point when IBS took over his life and the doctors didn't know how to help. Since then, he has transformed his health and started SCDLifestyle.com to help others naturally heal stomach problems. You can check out his story here and find him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet Works

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Mala T April 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm

So true. And exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you.

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Debbie April 21, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Man’s Search for Meaning helped me at my lowest point many years ago. I have a few copies so old the pages are brown with that weird smell. I have always wondered why Logotherapy didn’t take off. I think it’s because it’s too philosophical and requires people to think and work and take charge of their own thinking too much. People want magical, fast cures, more so now than then, and for other people – the therapist – to do it for them. I love hearing someone else has heard of Viktor Frankl and his work. It’s deep stuff. Can’t wait to hear the podcast. For me, I struggle to not become absorbed in the health issues. Life can’t take a backseat – it can go on while I heal. Thanks for this post.

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Elle April 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Please watch the documentary “Nicky’s Family.” It will restore your faith in humanity and gladden your heart. Best, Elle

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Pat April 21, 2014 at 5:52 pm

WOW! I am facing a doctor appointment tomorrow that could be…anything. Talk about timely!! Thank you for this, thank you very much.

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Kat April 21, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Awesome post today Steve!!! You hinted this to me in a one on one session about a year ago and I never really understood until the last 4 months. Releasing the stress/anger/resentment/anything negative is the only thing that will help you get to that point of reduced stress that all of us with IBD truly need. Thanks for continuing to spread the word on healing by keeping our faith and hearts on the up and up.

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Kathleen April 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Thanks for sharing your story from the weekend, Steve! It came at the perfect time for me personally, and served as a reminder that it really is all in how we respond. And I agree, it does take practice to respond in a way that is productive and that helps propel us forward toward what we seek.

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donjon April 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm

What a great article! Thanks for your insightful and mature insights. Good luck with your problem.
DJ

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Jeanne Powell April 21, 2014 at 11:42 pm

I do really appreciate your wellness philosophy, psychological and physical. Thanks for all you have done to help others! And Happy Easter!

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Heidi April 21, 2014 at 11:47 pm

Awesome reminder and thanks for the encouragement. I will put that book on my list too.
Sorry about the trouble you guys have to go through with the hacking problem. I’m impressed that a body would even know where to begin with such an issue.
Any chance that this hacking thing was the reason why I couldn’t get through and take advantage of your offer via Sean Croxton?

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Trina April 22, 2014 at 8:45 am

Reminds me of the story, “The Donkey in the Well”
“One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a Well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the donkey was old, and the Well, needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he *quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey did something amazing. He shook it off and took a step up.

As the farmer’s neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, *never giving up! *Shake it off and take a *step up.

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Jennifer April 22, 2014 at 9:38 am

So sorry to hear about your troubles this weekend. Thank you for sharing your perspective on how responding to troubles effects our health, even when the trouble is our health! Suffering has taught me to be much more grateful for all the little blessings that come my way. I make sure to thank God for them every day. I also thank Him for you and Jordan and all your work in helping sick and suffering people like me to work at getting better.

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Deb April 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for your emails. They give you that push, that gets you going again.

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sharon lucas April 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Hello Steve,
Sorry to hear about the site being ‘hacked’ 🙁 But, it is so true what you and Victor Frankl say about how we “react”. I was thinking about this very thing all day yesterday and even spoke to 3 people (strangers) about it! What I was saying was no matter how ‘crappy’ my life is, I have a choice about how I respond. It’s either to be angry, bitter or just plain pissed off! Or, I can choose to keep smiling. For me, it too has taken a long time and a life filled with a lot of CRAP to finally understand the choice I really do have! Because, the bottom line is the event or pain of that life experience will still be a fact, whether I am angry or pleasant. When I choose a more pleasant and calm approach, I can make better decisions and others are more willing to help and support me. When we are angry, emotions are in the drivers seat. So then, we are not ‘consciously’ in control…the real sad part about choosing bitterness, is that it hurts us and everyone around us….

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sharon lucas April 24, 2014 at 4:21 pm

PS. Thank you Trina for that story about the donkey! What a powerful visual!!!
We can learn a lot from nature. 🙂

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Health Problems May 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

Thank you so much for this post! Very moving and inspires me to keep moving forward despite all the crap I’ve been getting in life lately. Moving forward with your positive thoughts with me. Thank you!

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