Just when you think everything is going fine, life can take a sudden and unexpected turn. That’s what happened in the Super Bowl last week, watched by millions of people around the globe.
We live on an Island a short distance from downtown Seattle, Washington. Like most people in this area we have become Seahawk American football fans. With seconds to go in the Super Bowl game last week, it appeared Seattle would win and enter the folklore of great teams. With an unexpected play turning out poorly for the Seahawks, they lost the game and championship. It was a shocking and sudden turn of events.
It has been fascinating to observe our own response to the loss as well as witness the collective and community experience. We appreciated a statement by one of the Seahawks players who was trying to make sense of his sadness and the inexplicable defeat. He said that he was going to take his mother’s advice and see “value in the valleys” of life.
When things don’t turn out the way you expect, how do you find value in the valley of your experience? We are learning that the valley will be its deepest the more we are attached to an expected outcome such as winning the big game, getting that perfect job, or landing a significant relationship.
But here’s the deal—we don’t have to be a victim to our experiences. Sure, we feel a range of emotions from anger to sadness to even grief in the face of a loss, but we do not have to allow our emotion to take over our life. We can feel our sadness and learn to be with it rather than allow it to overwhelm us.
If we allow ourselves to be a victim to life’s events, we will slip into the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ and the Victim mentality will dominate our thinking. Once we become intertwined with the drama roles, we have no choice but to focus on blame and judgment. We might hear ourselves saying, “Who caused this? Who or what is to blame?” We personalize the situation and feel our life and dreams are over.
At any time we have the power to choose our response to life’s events.
We can choose to shift into the more resourceful TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™ roles. Rather than feeling persecuted by the situation, we can respond to it as a Challenger. We can ask, “What surprise might be in this turmoil that I didn’t expect?” Or, as the football player said, “How might I learn from this valley experience even if I didn’t like it or want it?”
In times of loss and sadness, we encourage you to treat yourself with kindness. Allow yourself time to feel what you feel and learn from it. As you climb out of the darkness you will have a greater chance to look back and appreciate the value in the valley.