Hey Guys? What’s new? How’s your week been?
Yes, I know I’ve been MIA – let’s just skim over that and get right into it.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering what exactly an ‘L’ is. For those of you not down with the lingo, an ‘L’ stands for a loss. And as young people the losses we experience as we ‘adult’ tends to take a bigger toll on us and perhaps longer to recover from. So, I wanted to talk about the various lessons I learnt from my losses and how you can too…
Aight boom, let me start off by explaining what exactly an ‘L’ is (I bet you missed my definitions!) But anyway, as I said in my intro, L’s are actually short for losses.
The usual phrase is ‘Ahh man I’m taking a huge L for this’. This normally means someone is experiencing a difficult outcome from something they didn’t see coming (or maybe they did). The point is, L’s are a part of everyday life, the gravity depending on what exactly we are losing and the consequences of that loss.
And having gone through this experience several times before, and in increasing frequency as I go through adulting, I realised that we don’t talk about dealing with ‘L’s enough.
But I’ll be more specific on what ‘L’s are. This can be things like serious financial loss from a project that you invested so much time in. Or getting a steep fine, losing your job and even the breakdown of a relationship. These are all ‘L’s that happen often as we grow up.
I remember when I ran out of money while renting my university accommodation and I defaulted on my tenancy agreement. I ended up being kicked out during mid-exam season and having to lug my belongings all the way home. It was a nightmare!
I was also very broke from the move back and literally had only £40 quid to my name. Where all my money was haemorrhaging to is still unclear to me, but that L is an example of how quickly things can spiral out of control and the hard consequences that follow it.
Obviously, with that L, I could’ve avoided it with better money management. With others though, it’s not so easy. You don’t plan for it to fail, it just does. And you feel extremely hard done by. Like what have you done to deserve all these L’s?
Simple truth is nothing. Nothing at all. As I’ve said they are a part of life, but how you deal with them makes all the difference.
And how do you do this you ask?
Well, there are several ways to deal with an L that stop them from engulfing your life and probably messing with your mental health.
For me it’s not about focusing on the L itself but what it may have been showing me. When I found myself with no money or a place at uni, that was because I had shit money management and so my eviction was inevitable.
And many of us do this, we focus on the big L, but what were our actions in the lead up to it?
Were we seeking good counsel, looking at it from all aspects or having basic self-awareness of our lives?
Probably not, but now that the L has happened basically what can I learn from it?
More so, L’s do not just go away. Sometimes the consequences stick and stress you out. Especially when it comes to money, experiencing a financial loss can often feel like your world is crumbling.
But you’ve got to face it head-on. Many times I’ve just buried my head in the sand and got on with life while the problem gets worse around me. Sometimes this could be a sign of avoidance coping which is very unhealthy when experiencing an L.
According to Very Well Mind, this is: “also known as avoidant coping, avoidance behaviors, and escape coping, is a maladaptive form of coping that involves changing our behavior to try to avoid thinking or feeling things that are uncomfortable. In other words, avoidance coping involves trying to avoid stressors rather than dealing with them.”
“When people use this strategy to consciously or unconsciously avoid something that causes them anxiety, they usually create a situation where they need to face it more. This can and should be avoided through active coping, even if this feels difficult at first.”
I did this at uni and look where it got me! I remember feeling utterly distraught but refusing to deal with the looming L. We all do this sometimes, but it definitely causes more harm than good.
And finally accepting that you will always experience L’s.
In Oliver Burkeman’s article in the Guardian on coping, it said: “we make various everyday problems worse with our implicit indignation that we must deal with them at all – as if we imagined we might one day get to live a problem-free life.” And I’m inclined to agree.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot eradicate every single L from our lives. They are part and parcel of the human experience. They are the result of many moving variables and factors that are usually out of our control. A perspective that helped me get on with things rather than wallow in self-pity.
Instead, it’s the picking yourself back up and realising that nothing lasts forever, not even an L. It too shall pass and maybe there’s another around the corner, maybe not.
But you’re still here, aren’t you?