Growing Through a Crisis

Written by on January 26, 2015 in Adaptability, Breaking Barriers, Self-Care

Growing Through a Crisis


It can happen in an instant. One moment, you’re happily living your life and the next it feels like the ground beneath you has disappeared.

It could be the end of a relationship, loss of a job, a health issue or physical injury, the passing of a loved one; whatever the nature of the event, in the blink of an eye your world feels as though it’s been turned upside down and you are up to your eyeballs in your very own personal crisis.

No one is immune from adversity, and yet it’s human nature that we rarely give much thought to our ability to cope with a serious problem until we are actually faced with one.

In no small part, this is because we are already pretty busy trying to keep up with the day-to-day demands of modern life, but there is also an element of avoidance because we want to assume that when and if we are ever faced with a serious problem, the resources we need will somehow be there. Sometimes they are, sometimes not so much.

Start shaping your own life. This journey is yours, take charge of it. Stop letting your life be shaped by fate, circumstances and the whims of others. ~Marquita Herald

One of the most persistent misconceptions about choosing to develop resilience is that it’s like preparing for a crisis that may or may not ever happen. In reality, it’s about accountability and accepting the power you have to take charge of your life.

When you are in charge of your life you take responsibility for making choices about how to view your situation at any given time. For example, people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own have a choice: they can see themselves as victims, or as being presented with an opportunity to find a job or career they love.

While the perspective they choose does not change the circumstances, it does determine how they experience them and influences the outcome. Those who choose to be victims will see misery and find it everywhere; those who choose to see the opportunity will discover it all around them.

To see what this process of accountability looks like I’ve outlined specific actions you can take to help you grow through a personal crisis.

7 Steps to Grow Through a Crisis

Face Reality

Denying or minimizing the circumstances of your situation or the pain you’re feeling only postpones having to confront your new reality. Repressed feelings never really fade away they just remain in the shadows until the next time you are faced with a problem or loss of some kind and then they resurface stronger and more painful than ever.

The only way to get to the other side of your pain is to push through it by accepting the reality of your circumstances and giving yourself permission to express the hurt, anger, and pain that you’re feeling in a healthy way.

Take Action

While this may not be the best time to begin mapping out your entire future, assessing your options and taking small steps forward will help you to regain some feeling of stability and control in your life.

Above all, try to open your mind to different possibilities. When your world has just been turned upside down it’s very tempting to cling to anything that feels safe and familiar, but it’s very easy to miss out on opportunities this way.

Confident decision-making and problem-solving abilities are key attributes of highly resilient individuals that enable them to greatly shorten recovery time and explore possibilities for growth, and anyone can build these skills over time.

Avoid Self-Blame

Self-blame is an insidious emotion that can quickly overwhelm you, especially when dealing with a crisis. It’s human nature to feel that somehow you should have known, or been able to prevent the situation.

In life a certain amount of pain is inevitable but suffering is optional, and self-pity is very addictive and capable of destroying lives. Whether you focus on recovery and moving forward with your life or opt to linger awhile and suffer is a choice only you can make.

You Are Not Alone

Talking with someone can help to relieve the burden, and provide assurance that you are not alone. Sometimes, it is just a matter of having somebody listen; other times it helps to have a different perspective on how to navigate through the healing process.

If you find yourself in a situation where there is no one to talk to, try writing in a personal journal or, depending on the situation, you may want to seek professional help, at least during the early transition phase of a major life change.

If what you really want is to just get your mind off your situation, even for a little while, consider volunteering. It’s amazing how helping someone else who is going through a crisis can put our own situation into a different, often more positive light.

Take Care of Yourself

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of prioritizing self-care. You may not feel like it, but it is important to maintain as many of your routines and regular schedule as possible. This means getting plenty of sleep each night and eating a balanced diet.

You may also need to teach your body to relax again. Try spending some time each day simply relaxing and focusing on your breathing and you will notice a positive difference in your state of mind and the amount of tension you hold in your body.

Taking care of yourself during stressful periods will not only help you retain your energy and stamina but the calmer and more centered you are the better you’ll be at making decisions during a transition period.

Don’t waste time on mental reruns about what you could (should, would) have done differently. Just because you’ve hit a few rough spots on your journey, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined. ~Author Unknown

Look for the Lessons

It’s normal to want to put problems behind us as soon as possible so we can regain forward momentum. But as tough as life’s lessons sometimes are, each holds the opportunity for growth and to reach a better understanding of our strengths and weaknesses and what matters most to us.

Choosing to ignore these lessons may well mean we find ourselves facing the same “opportunity” again and again.

Have you ever known someone who has the same bad experience repeats itself over and over? Maybe they keep getting into car accidents; they’ve been repeatedly laid-off or have had multiple marriages. When the same thing happens over and over again, then it’s time to start looking deeper for the root cause.

Learn to Trust Again

The harsh reality is that we are often blindsided from what seems like the safest places – a relationship you thought was strong is destroyed by betrayal, a friendship suddenly gone with no explanation, a job you invested your whole heart in taken from you in a flash. Being blindsided by a crisis can leave you feeling insecure and vulnerable.

Learning to trust again may be the most difficult part of recovering from a crisis because we will do almost anything to keep from experiencing the pain again. But the world needs your gifts and your love and if you close yourself off you’ll be wasting a very precious life.

To put ourselves out into the world is risky. It’s impossible to avoid getting hurt from time to time. But the reward for taking the risk is a well-lived life.

The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered there is an opportunity for growth. ~Author Unknown
Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here.


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  1. Great article on personal crisis we all have one at one time or the other. It makes us stronger. Life is what we make it.
    Christine Adindu recently posted…These Facebook Marketing Tips Can Really Make Your Business Take Off!My Profile

  2. lynne

    Hi, personal crisis is a part of life that we all must face, your insights can really help a lot of people who are going through the same phase of life. I love your post, it is very motivating. Thanks for sharing.
    lynne recently posted…Are You Making These 7 Mistakes In Your Business? (Part 1)My Profile

  3. Really good points, Marty.

    Reading a post like this one always takes me back to the death of our son James, five years ago — even though it was only one of many such losses for me.

    You know how they say, “It could always be worse”? It really is true. Our family of Ian and me and our six remaining children were not pulled apart by our huge loss, but drew closer to one another. We are not a demonstrative family, but even reserved people have ways of reaching out and knowing when someone else is reaching out toward them. It helped tremendously to talk about James — something we still do today. It’s never been a case of needing one another in an unhealthy way, but of being mutually supportive of one another.

    Another thing that helped was there was there was no self-blame and no blaming of anyone else, because there was no one TO blame. The accident was no one’s fault… it was the dense ice fog on that bitter cold December night. AND there were no regrets. All of us had a great relationship with James, and though we miss him a lot, there were no “If only’s”.

    The worst thing I need to deal with is the fear of losing another precious loved one. That fear goes ‘way back to when I lost my father when I was 7, and has been reinforced with each major loss since then. The older I get, the harder it is to bounce back. Because of it, I clammed up some years ago, no longer able to express myself through writing. Not a good situation, because writing has been my healing process since I was a teenager. That’s what I need to work on, in order to grow.
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Week 17a (HJ) – R.I.P. and The Hero’s JourneyMy Profile

  4. Marty, this is an amazing post on resilience in a crisis. I feel you have really covered all the steps here to help recovery, for most people in many different crisis situations,
    It is so true that we never know, until the next minute, when a crisis will occur and the abyss will open with a huge wave of shock. and it is not really something we can prepare for.
    But we must somehow go on! I have enjoyed relating your steps to my life and I will be saving this post because I know I will want to refer to it again 🙂
    Jacs Henderson recently posted…Shop SMART!My Profile

  5. Hi Marty,

    Fantastic post and awesome tips to help one grow through a personal crisis 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

    I know the tips that you have shared here will help so many cope and do it in the most positive way possible…which is the most important 🙂

    Thanks again for always bringing the value, my friend 🙂

  6. A.K. Andrew

    Really great tips on how to survive. I think if I had to choose one, then look after yourself would be the most important. It’s probably the hardest one, as we often feel bad about ourselves – self blame as you mention – but if we don’t look after ourselves then it will make everything so much worse. Investing time on yourself is very self affirming. Good post!
    A.K. Andrew recently posted…Margaret #Atwood #Writing New BeginningsMy Profile

  7. A very good article and very good advise ,Marquita
    Personal crisis is ,like Donna said ,part of life and I went though some of them and even got unwanted in situations more than once ,where I had to help others with this. Looking back I can say we grow stronger though this.
    What helped most was trust and faith that “This too will pass”
    And like you write ,look for the lesson ,there is always one .
    Thank you
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted…Why Is The Law Of Attraction Incomplete?My Profile

  8. donna merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    A personal crisis is part of life. When it hits we have to deal with it as best as we can. No matter what it is, never blame yourself. I’ve seen my husband do that when we were taking care of his dad at home with hospice care.

    Seven months of care taking takes its toll, even when we had hired people to get a reprieve. Staying up late nights, cooking, feeding him and changing diapers.

    We were totally engrossed in this process and when he passed, I watched my husband feel guilty “I could have done more” all those self blame things one comes up with in a situation like that.

    He needed help badly but refused to go. Until one day I did have to put my foot down and tell him I was miserable. I knew that would get him to get help he hehe. So he did.

    Things will always happen and usually when we least expect it. We must always remember there are others out there that we can lean on and learn from.

    Thanks for raising this issue.

    donna merrill recently posted…Earn More Affiliate CommissionsMy Profile

  9. Patricia Weber

    Love this post Marquita. And while I won’t speak the numbers of last year because I vowed to myself “we will never speak of this year again,” it was a year of crisis all around me. What I found, serendipitously, is that the second and quite similar crisis, helped me to navigate things more calmly and come out of it in about the same amount of time.

    What worked was being open the second time around. Asking myself questions like, “What did you already learn? What worked that you can employ again? What didn’t work that you can discard?” were incredibly grounding and kept me as mindful as I think I could have been.

  10. Erica says:

    It really can be a challenge to go through the hard times. I went through a crisis a few years ago, thought I was doing everything right by keeping busy and moving forward, and realized a year later when I started getting sick that I hadn’t dealt with it properly. I agree that taking care of yourself is so important. It is so easy to forget yourself when the world has been turned upside down.
    Erica recently posted…Are Toxins Hiding in your Healthy Home?My Profile

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your story Irish, and I have to tell you I was not aware of your experience. You truly are a very resilient young woman! Always appreciate your thoughtful contribution to the conversation. 🙂

  12. Excellent point Dave. While there are some events that could be considered a crisis by any standard of the imagination, it is true that some people will view something as a crisis that others would consider relatively minor – and of course that goes for the other extreme as well. Glad you found value in the article and thanks for contributing to the conversation! 🙂

  13. Dave Cenker

    There are probably different levels of personal crises depending upon the individual. What may be considered trivial to one, may be a major crisis for another. Either way, these suggestions certainly set you on the right path towards meeting that crisis head-on and pushing through to the other side of it.

    I find that not only does this article help those who are going through a crisis. It also helps those who are around others that are dealing with a personal crisis. It helps to be the person who just listens and encourages that person to take each of these steps towards a more healthy perspective on life and the situation causing the crisis.

    Thank you Marty, your words are always inspiring 🙂
    Dave Cenker recently posted…Choice wordsMy Profile

  14. Irish Carter

    Hi Marty,

    What an article to connect with. You hit the steps right on my friend. I truly believe that whatever crisis we are exposed to, they lead us to some positive strength later in life. I guess kind of like the whole yin/yang thing. Negative and positive ya know.

    Some online know my story of my childhood where my mother was brutally stabbed and attacked and I was the one who was her first responder that night. I was a mess after that and could have easily gone down the wrong path but I say a higher power had different plans for me to where he led me to positive people supporting me, pathed my way into what turned out to be environments that placed me into becoming the advocate I am today. I now know my life has not been hard at all. As a crime victim advocate, I have heard so many others stories that my story was minimal. My heart and soul now know why I speak positivity and living with hope, faith and grattitude. It was all the other voices in the court rooms, crime scenes and crisis lines who helped me to become the voice online I am today.

    Wishing you many blessings my friend and thank you for writing this today and letting me share my story. I haven’t shared it lately and every once in a while it is great therapy to speak it outloud.

    Have a great week my friend. Keep rockin and inspiring so many like you do.


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