Heartbreak. Trauma. Grief. Tragedy. Just when we begin to expect the unexpected in life, a tidal wave of chance floods the foundation of our lives. I have always believed that it is not so much what happens to you in life that is important, but rather, it is how you respond that makes a world of a difference. When the unanticipated strikes, however, reacting is often the first answer.

Maybe you're the type of person who cries at the end of every romantic-comedy, cares and puts forth effort in every relationship you maintain or is hurt easily by the thoughtlessness of others. There is no shame in being one, two, or all three of these. Or maybe you're someone who has been hurt in the past and refuses to feel such pain again, so you maintain a wall that no emotional spear can penetrate. This is okay too.

Regardless of what kind of emotional being you are, know that it is acceptable to feel that feeling. Sit in it for a while, marinate in the feelings of fury, fear, sadness, pain, or betrayal for a bit. These feelings are valid simply because they are. No one feels such strong, seemingly debilitating emotions for no reason. Whatever or whoever ignited your fire gave you that reason, or possibly multiple, for a purpose: for you to realize that it is not what was done or said that ultimately determines the future, but it is what you are to do with this lesson, loss, or learning that will.

Feel those feelings. Own your shit. Cry, scream, throw your phone, go for a drive, work out, eat your favorite food, do whatever you need to do. Then move forward. Don't move on, per se, because the small and big events that change who we are cannot and should not be glazed over, but move forward. Ask yourself, "What can I do to let go of this feeling?" Do not carry hatred, pain, or sadness with you. If you never get it off your chest, you'll never be able to breathe. Instead, carry fond memories of what was, appreciation for the lessons that now are, and plans for what is to come. If you wronged someone, apologize from the heart, and forgive yourself in the meantime. If someone wronged you, forgive, yet, never forget the lessons the wrong taught you. If you lost someone who meant the universe to you, look for them in the small things in your daily life, and keep them by your side in other ways. If you find yourself asking "Why?" in the midst of tragedy, look at what good came immediately after it, and what it did for the hurting.

"Bossing up" does not have to mean acting as if nothing ever happened. Instead, it is the acknowledgment that you are not the same person you once were. You are likely much wiser, more self-aware, understanding, or cautious; and your eyes, heart, and mind may be more open or wary. Whether crying or remaining stoic is your preferred processing method, appreciate those moments, think about what you do or say before the fact, and take your next step confidently, because you never needed to "boss up" anyway, you already are one.