What does it mean when we say we are ‘coping?’ We say we are coping with situations, jobs, relationships, even the weather! But what are we saying, exactly?

A lot of pressure is thrown at us daily to be thankful, grateful, prayerful, and positive. Striving to meet the meaning of these words is what most of us try to do, most of the time.

What about the days when you’re just too worn down from situations, your job, your relationships and the temperatures that are now soaring into the 90’s? What do you do on those days?

Do you reach out to a therapist, clergy, family, friends? What is it that you do to drag yourself out of the doldrums that life is inevitably filled with? What works for you? What doesn’t? What’s your advice to yourself, or others that come to you for a ‘pep talk’?

Therapists can be of great help. They are uninvolved with your day-to-day. They can offer unbiased advice, opinions, suggestions, and empathy. I must say I respect those that can filter the problems of others and leave it at the office at the end of the day!

Co-workers can be amazing too! Many people spend more time with co-workers than they do with their own families. Sometimes co-workers are a family for people. It’s nice to have others to lean on, and to lend them an ear when they need to talk.

Friends. If you are lucky enough to have a close friend or two, work on that relationship. Feed it. Listen when the other person, or people need you to really listen. Offer thoughts, perspectives, hope. The more we listen, the stronger our relationships become. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to friends, than it is to talk to family. Respect the friends that are in your life for however many seasons they are there for. Some friends you think are there for the long haul move on, leaving bittersweet memories. Treasure them still. They were in your life for a time, for a reason. Remember the lessons and conversations. Seasons will pass, and you never know who you’ll meet.

Family. The love-hate, as they say, relationships with family plays tug of war with each situation that presents itself! How is it on our wedding day, we feel we know the other person inside and out, up and down, back and forth, and completely? I don’t think any of us truly know all there is to know about anyone else. Time passes in a marriage, what was once intense, fades into the background as the day-to-day events, move into routines. Memories of the two of you united and undivided move apart as careers, other family, and children expand the circle of you and your spouse.

Some of us are very conscious of our marriages. Others throw in the towel, move out, and move on. Some let it become mediocrity. I often wonder if those marriages could have been saved, had both people truly wanted the marriage to last. Some marriages, weren’t made in heaven. They were made in haste, in untruths, in fantasy. Some marriages are filled with many types of abuse. I think it’s better when those marriages end. Life is hard enough to navigate, but if you’re spending it with someone you don’t love and respect, it’s much more difficult.

Families all have drama now and then, here and there. While they are our main source of support, sometimes you do reach out to friends, or others for help and guidance.

It’s ok. Sometimes it’s something someone says or does, that manages to shoot you back on track. Helps you to refresh and sort through the muck of whatever has brought you down in the first place.

Don’t just cope with life. Reach out, there is always someone who will listen. Life is to be enjoyed, whether it feels like it or not sometimes. Instead of existing, find ways to LIVE! Be thankful for others in your life. Tell them what they mean to you, so they know they can lean on you too. Compliment someone you don’t know. Just the other day, someone told me I looked pretty in my sundress. It was just what I needed to hear at the time. It made me smile. It made me feel good.

In the midst of this heatwave, fires, wars, politics, and everything else the news throws at you daily, unite with others. Your people are out there, you simply have to reach out. They’ll reach back. Things will be good. Kindness begets kindness. I promise.

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