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Why You Shouldn’t Force Yourself To Be Tough (Especially When You’re Sad)

Why You Shouldn’t Force Yourself To Be Tough (Especially When You’re Sad)

Life’s challenges force us to harden up. Relationships, work, children, family and finances all combine to put us under a lot of pressure and the way we are expected to deal with these is to develop resilience and to some extent indifference. We are required to be tough. To teach our kids to be tough and with each blow life delivers to knock us down, we need to get up, dust ourselves off and pick up where we left off. The more times we start again, the colder and more jaded we become.

Perhaps what’s needed is a shift in attitude. To become stronger and resistant to the tribulations of life, maybe the answer is that we need to become softer not tougher. Maybe what the world needs is more nurture.

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Lose control sometimes

Without injuring others or placing your own life in danger, it’s healthy to let go sometimes. You don’t have to be irresponsible to release responsibility and embrace freedom for a change. When life is becoming too burdensome and the weight of obligation and duty seems suffocating, do something that allows you to release yourself from what can feel like a prison. Do something that pushes your boundaries, something that you wouldn’t ordinarily do. Take a calculated risk and allow yourself to crumble a little. Be answerable only to yourself.

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Get in touch with your emotions

Discover how you really feel about things. It’s easier said than done. Instead of maintaining the status quo and keeping the peace; instead of following the herd and making the predictable and reliable decisions that you are expected to make, ask yourself what you truly desire. Imagine what you could accomplish, if failing wasn’t an option. If there was no fear of being judged and no adverse consequences, what would you really choose? More often than not, the worst case scenario is only in our mind and fulfilling our desires are more possible than we can imagine. Learning to acknowledge and express our emotions freely may seem like weakness in a culture that requires us to be tough, but in actual fact it takes a strength far more valuable and honorable than living in denial.

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Soft is the new hard

When you think that a situation requires you to be tough, to stiffen your upper lip and puff out your chest in the face of something difficult or even traumatic, consider if you have another option. Maybe for a change it’s time to wallow in the tragedy of your experience and really feel what it is to be human. Striving for mental toughness may close you off to a world of emotional development and progress that you may otherwise live through if you let yourself open up for a change. Softening your perspective towards yourself and others; allowing yourself to experience tenderness and nurturing instead may seem counterproductive, but in the long run, may reap more abundant rewards. You may feel sadness more intensely, or anger. Disappointment, fear, grief. The flip side is you may discover joy like you’ve never allowed yourself to feel before. You may laugh harder, feel more inspired, encounter wonder and awe at things you previously took for granted.

Tough is just bravado. Softening up is a new normal you should try.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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