On pages 600-601 of President Nixon: Alone in the White House, Richard Reeves talks about the time that President Richard Nixon was about to ask his close aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, to resign. Nixon did not like unpleasant interactions, so this was especially hard for him. White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler told Haldeman before Haldeman met with Nixon that Nixon himself had decided to resign. But Haldeman did not believe that. Haldeman said: “He’s just steeling himself to meet with us. He’s creating a big crisis he can’t meet, so that he can meet the lesser crisis of dealing with us.”
That’s actually an interesting way of coping: to create a big crisis (even if it’s in one’s mind), to cope with a smaller crisis. Indeed, big crises can put small crises into perspective. Whenever I have had a crisis that was big (for me, that is), that has tended to alleviate my petty resentments and bitterness. Of course, those things return once the crisis is gone! I wouldn’t create a big crisis to deal with a smaller crisis, but I would remind myself that, however hard life may be now, it could be worse.