10 Steps to Fight Your Way Out Of Despair and Find Happiness Again
When everything has gone wrong; you’ve lost someone you love, you’ve lost your business, you’ve lost your money.
You want to give up. But you won’t, you can’t.
You need to find a way to fight back.
What do you do to find happiness again?
This is the way to do it‒in 10 steps.
When I touched bottom, I had a 10 point To Do list on my refrigerator. Every morning I wrote at the top, in position number one: “BREATHE.” That was it. For months there was nothing else on the list.
Even though it sometimes seems impossible, there will be a brighter day. But to get there you have to remember to keep doing that one thing: BREATHE.
2. Remember this: all things must pass
It’s the basic law of life. Good times, bad times, nothing ever stays the same. A run of bad luck can’t go on forever. The tide will come back in; it always does. It’s a law of life. Until then, keep breathing.
3. Look for the light at the end of the tunnel
You may not see it today, you may not see it tomorrow. But if you stick to steps one and two, you will finally see that glimmer one day. I promise you.
4. “Poco a poco”.
It’s a saying where I live in Spain. They use it all the time; it means “little by little.” You may want this nightmare to be over today, but it doesn’t work like that. Grief, financial meltdown, divorce; these are things you walk through one small step at a time. When you finally see the light, chart a course towards it and start walking, one small step at a time.
5. Be gentle with yourself
If you ever played Snakes and Ladders as a kid, you’ll know how frustrating it is to get halfway up the board then come hurtling back down again. Well this is going to be like that. You’ll think you’re almost out of it; you’re feeling a little better, or you cut a break in your career and you think the worst is done and then you find yourself back in the pits again. That’s okay, that’s how it works. Go back to step 1 and breathe.
6. Don’t think that time heals all wounds
Because it doesn’t. People tell you this, and they’d like it to be true, but really it isn’t. It’s been ten years now since I lost everything‒I mean everything‒and some days it still hurts. Grief is nuclear, it has a shelf life of thousands of years. Believing that it will magically go away one day will just keep you mired in the past. What you want is for the pain to subside so that you can start again‒that’s not the finishing line, but for now it’s your starting post.
7. Be tough with yourself
Allow yourself to grieve; if you’ve lost someone you love, then don’t hold back the tears. If you made a mistake that’s cost you your business, your house, the farm‒okay, indulge yourself, beat up on yourself. But sooner or later you have to stop. You’ll know when it’s time. But when that day comes, you have to raise your eyes and discipline yourself not to keep looking back.
8. Don’t make big decisions
Sometimes it’s tempting to grasp for the first life vest someone throws us: a new investment that will make good of our losses or a new lover to heal our pain. We want so badly for this to be over. But be warned‒the time to make any big decisions is when you’re not hurting.
9. Don’t expect things to be the same again
When the tide comes back in, whatever was written on the sand before is gone. Accept that what you are going through is a life changing event. Your new life may look nothing like the old one. Wear the scar and move on to that new life, whatever it is. Write new things in the sand.
10. Remember to like what is left
This is the most important step of all. If you can do all these things and not break, then what is left is a remarkable person. What has happened to you is not a good thing, but you have walked through fire and come out the other side. That makes you a truly remarkable person. Never ever forget that.
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