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5 Things You Should Keep In Mind When You Are Overcoming A Hard Time

5 Things You Should Keep In Mind When You Are Overcoming A Hard Time

Sometimes in life things don’t work out the way you want them to.

Things fall apart, unforeseen events occur and sometimes it just feels like too much to take.

Life is cyclical in nature and it’s important to understand that whilst the bad times may feel never ending, eventually the good times will roll into place. The key is to reach a place of understanding with whatever situation you are facing, knowing that this too shall pass. Far easier said than done, but in maintaining a sense of perspective (and a sense of humor) this can be the very thing that can pull us through one of life’s tough spots.

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When things fall apart and you can’t seem to figure out a pathway through the situation, it’s important to remember that there is always a choice. You can choose to let it destroy you, define you or you can choose to let it strengthen you. Knowing we have a choice in how we react can provide a sense of empowerment, a knowledge that life struggles can provide a deeper understanding of life. It’s also of vital importance to remember a few powerful, yet easily forgotten, truths that might just help you to break on through to the other side of whatever sticky situation life throws at you.

1. Acceptance

This can be one of the toughest lessons to master when faced with adversity. We spend so much time and energy resisting what is, dancing with denial, that we ignore the very first step in overcoming any situation. Acceptance.

Whatever difficult situation you find yourself wading into, it’s of paramount importance to accept that it is actually happening. This is no easy feat since the power of pretending it isn’t happening is utterly alluring. This is also called sticking your head in the sand- it simply doesn’t achieve anything. Whilst it can feel incredibly tempting at the time, it’s essential to understand that denial simply keeps us stuck. For if we don’t accept what is happening right in front of us, how can we find the means to move on and heal from it?

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2. Maintain Perspective

When we feel like life’s punching bag it can be incredibly easy to fall victim to the situation. If we are feeling angry, hurt or grieving a loss we want to find something to blame, and demand an answer to the age old question: why is this happening to me? It is much harder to take a step back from the situation and acknowledge that whilst it is indeed happening, it’s not happening to you. As tough as it sounds, taking it personally just leads into a cul-de-sac of blame and resentment and if you want to start healing from a tough time its time to stop circling the cul-de-sac and get back on the open road. This is where a change of perspective is needed, a willingness to see the situation differently.

If you’ve recently lost a job or are going through a difficult break-up, for example, whilst it might feel utterly devastating at the time, know that you will eventually dust yourself off, get through it and actually learn something about yourself. Just as hard times can sweep in and knock you off your feet, so can the good times. A willingness to try and see a situation differently opens yourself up to the possibility of a fresh perspective and a motivation to move on with your life.

3. Learn The Lesson

Life is a training ground and we are actually here to learn, grow and evolve as human beings. Unfortunately most of us tend to learn the most from adverse experiences rather than the positive ones. Some of the toughest situations I’ve personally been through have taught me the most about myself and as a result I feel transformed and even thankful for the experience (though if you told me that at the time I never would have believed you).

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Whatever the problem is, no matter how big or small, try to identify what lesson it is trying to teach you. It may take some digging but the lesson will be there, patiently waiting for you to uncover it. For example, if your relationship came to an abrupt halt and threw you out unwittingly onto Single Street you might discover that the relationship was acting as a training ground, a place for you to uncover and ultimately heal an unhealthy relationship tendency, so that when the next relationship appears you are ready for it. In being a student of life we learn that all experiences are necessary, that the story of what happened doesn’t really matter in the end, it’s what we learn from it that counts.

4. Stay Positive

When faced with adversity it can be incredibly tempting to throw a pity party for one and close down from friends and family. Whilst isolation may feel like the right response during a tough time, it can be a slippery slope down into the depths of depression or developing a belief that you are being a burden. We all need people in our lives, especially when the going gets tough, and our loved ones can act as a veritable life raft, pulling us out from the depths and lifting our spirits. In times of strife it’s also of paramount importance to surround yourself with friends or family who are positive minded, those who will be there to listen to you but also to reassure you that you can get through it. Whilst it can be comforting to have your loved ones give you the space initially to rant about how terribly unfair the whole thing is, it’s also important that they help you focus on finding a solution or simply a focus on the future rather than the past. Spending these difficult times with positive-minded people can remind us that we all need someone to lean on, or at least someone to have a laugh with, as we work our way through the mire.

5. Don’t Give Up

At times like these it’s of paramount importance to understand that nothing lasts forever. Some of the curveballs that life throws at us might seem insurmountable but there is always a way through and we are never given more that we can handle. At the time we might not think we have the requisite tools to navigate a tricky situation, yet the fact that we invariably come through the other side can actually be a source of empowerment. Being pushed beyond the boundaries of what we believe we can handle is never fun, yet in viewing whatever situation life throws at us as a potential life lesson, ultimately we can learn from it.

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As a result we become stronger so that the next time life deals us a difficult hand we don’t get thrown off course as easily and we don’t give up as easily. Making a commitment to stay strong in the face of adversity can foster us with a sense of resolve. We might not like what we are having to deal with but we can eventually get to a place where we emerge stronger, wiser and hopefully with a few life lessons tucked in our back pocket.

Featured photo credit: PhotoPin via photopin.com

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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