You never know when something or someone is going to come at you out of the blue. But what is a crisis? It’s something that challenges you to use all of your thinking and emotional skills. I know, of course, that there are a lot of definitions and it would be a good idea to look them up if you are interested.
Personal crises are becoming more common in this ramshackle economy. People are running out of money. Their health is giving in. Crime is rampant. I was thinking this morning on my run how many things we need to do, steps we need to take, to keep ourselves safe in a country where you can be killed in an instant.
The first thing to recognise is whether the crisis is about you or if you are being led into someone else’s crisis. It’s a big distinction. Some people try to drag you into their mess somehow, believing that you can help save them.
Well, everyone has to take responsibility for their own lives.
Our instinct, well, for many of us, is to help, to give advice, perhaps draw on our resources. But before you do that, think about what is really happening. Is the person all the friends of the person merely trying to give you the bad news story?
In any crisis situation, I believe that we have a few seconds to make instant decisions. In this window of opportunity, we can decide what our course of action should be. But this can be enigmatic. In a crime situation, when your life is threatened, your course of action might be to move swiftly or to slow down. It depends on the situation. Fourteen years later, I’m still trying to figure out how I managed to save my life in a situation where I acted foolishly at first, panicked, and then totally submitted. It was horrifying, but let’s not dwell on the past.
Another pointer is to do the right thing. In extreme haste you might agree with something that is not ethical. Even split second decisions need to take into account ethics. You could, of course, hear the person out and say that you’re going to get back to them. Confronted with this, it can be more diplomatic to point out in a non-direct way that the course of action that is been laid out is not right.
The next point might seem mercenary but remember that your economic survival comes first, and that of your loved ones and dependents. If you rush into providing money all that really happens is that you have a recurring debt without a deadline for its conclusion. Or the situation could involve small amounts at first and then balloon into the large payments. Loaning other people money often means that you become their prisoner.
Personal crises often involve running other people down. Some people even hang their dirty washing in public. For some it may be tempting to get involved but stay out of it. It’s best to safeguard your morals. Your personal dignity and integrity comes first.
There’s nothing wrong with being a supportive family member, relative, friend. But be careful when your support ties you into a situation where someone else’s crisis eventually becomes yours.
There are probably many other traps to avoid. But hopefully, these pointers will remind you and prepare you to handle a crisis from whatever source it comes.