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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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