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20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities

20 Things to Tell Yourself When You Are Facing Adversities

Sometimes, things are hard. Whether the challenges are small or big, looming or present, or some stressful combination of all, adversities tend to pile up until we feel overwhelmed.

Get a handle on yourself and your circumstances with these twenty reminders:

1. Accept it.

Things happen, and sometimes they are really, really bad things. Sometimes you will eventually learn “why;” sometimes, you won’t. The faster you can accept that whatever has or is happening, has or is occurring, the faster you can channel your resources toward healing and finding a solution.

2. Know that how you react is what matters.

A quick internet search will turn up dozens of motivational quotations about how it’s the reaction that matters, not the incident. These quotes are correct, and not only because they were written by gurus. You can’t control how other people act, or the current situation, even if you did have control over the process that led you to this point. You can always control how you react. If you have not thought of it in these terms before, there’s good news: it’s never too late to start.

3. Allow these challenges to make you better.

No matter what lies before you, your current challenges present an opportunity to make you better. You have a chance to learn to react with positivity, grace, and creativity; to go through a process that will expand your mind, body, and spirit; and to develop lasting solutions from this new, stronger place that uphold the new, stronger you. Take this opportunity. Take all of these opportunities.

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4. Take a breath.

No matter what the circumstance, you have time to take a deep breath, pause, and think calmly about what your next move will be. Even and especially in an emergency, you will be more effective and efficient if you proceed deliberately. In the process of discovering how and why you got to where you currently are, you will likely ask yourself some “big” questions. Schedule and take time to explore and reflect during the healing process. If you neglect this stillness, not only will your solutions be half-baked, but you are more likely to repeat your mistakes.

5. Throw away the clock.

We live in a “quick fix” culture. We expect our problems to be solved overnight. Realize that even if your problems were created seemingly instantly, they may take some time to correct and fix. As you develop plans, be realistic about how long execution and implementation will take, and candidly asses how much change you can make in a given period of time. Are you thousands of dollars in debt? You likely won’t fix that in a month. Faced with a significant health condition? If it took your body years to manifest illness, it will take some time to right the course. Refer to #4, take another deep breath, and give the recovery process time.

6. Nourish yourself.

If you are confronting a challenge that is long-term, or will take time to resolve, it is important to nourish yourself during the recovery process. Eat well, rest, drink water, take breaks to get outside and pursue relaxing activities. Recovery is a journey, and you won’t be fit to trek the entire way unless you take care of yourself. You are your most powerful recovery resource – treat yourself accordingly.

7. Try something new.

You may, or may not, have the coping skills to deal with your current situation. Be proactive in exploring new options. Never tried meditation before? Plop yourself down. Always sneered at yoga? Pull up a mat. Always eat lunch at your desk? Clear 15 minutes to take a walk and get outside. You never know what will help you, until you try it.

8. Draw courage from others.

Spend some time talking to folks you know, seeking out support groups, or spending time online to connect with others in your current circumstance. There is someone out there who has been through what you are currently facing and has come out of it better than alright. Might some of their methods work for you? If not, at the very least their example will serve as a source of inspiration as you face your challenge.

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9. Surround yourself with positive people.

Like attracts like, and there is no substitute for surrounding yourself with positive people to buoy your own spirits. They’ve faced their own challenges, too, and they’re just fine. Even if they don’t have solutions, positive people have spirit, and sometimes, that’s just as good.

10. Praise what is going well.

Something in your life is going well. Do you have a beautiful child? Were you able to put food on the table today? Did you see anything that made you smile? Did you make some progress towards your healing goal? Uphold and celebrate every positive thing you can identify in your life, including the progress you make as you overcome your current challenges.  There is always something to be grateful for. If you’re alive, there’s energy and space for improvement and change; if you can’t cling to anything else, start with that.

11. Wrangle your emotions.

When the going is tough, you do not have time for grief, sorrow, depression, or wallowing, especially if you are responsible for children, animals, or other souls. Sometimes emotions must be pushed to the side while we buckle down and do what needs to be done. Be tough. Get the job done, and process once you are on safe footing again.

12. Fake it ’til you make it.

Having a hard time figuring out how to act positive when hard things are happening? Go to your mirror. Look yourself in the eye. Smile. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little bit of a grimace – do it. Then paste that look on your face and go about your day. At some point, you won’t be faking it quite as much, and that is called “progress.”

13. Acknowledge that you are responsible for your circumstances.

Time spent blaming others is wasted. You are responsible for your life and the way you live – the good, the bad, the joyful, the challenging. Finding and implementing lasting solutions is up to you, as well. Own it. When you own it, you can control it. When you control it, you can change it.

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14. Invest in yourself.

Developing tools for healing and change will likely require an investment in yourself. This investment could be financial, in the form of encouraging and uplifting books, audio tapes, or relaxation tools, or it could be measured in time, such as going to the library to check out a self-help book, then actually reading it. Most likely, the investment is a combination of both, but it’s worth making. Not only will you uncover new tools for success, but your confidence will rise as your psyche responds to the very tangible message that you are worth it.

15. Be gentle.

No matter what happened, no matter how much you believe you should have seen it coming – you didn’t. You did, or did not, do the things that created your present circumstance. Put down the whip of self-flagellation, and commit yourself to making progress and moving forward. If you need help with the concept of self-forgiveness, seek out friends, mentors or counselors, a psychiatrist, or the self-help section of your local library. Forgiveness of oneself is a big undertaking, but a vital one to complete before you can move forward.

16. Recognize patterns.

Are your challenges usually financial in nature? Health-based? Related to a particular emotion that crops up again and again? Spend some time in the self-help section of the library, with a journal, talking to a mentor, or whatever it takes to get some honest self-reflection accomplished. What part of your challenges can you control and head off before they grow? If you’re always late, for instance, and this is hurting you professionally, what processes can you put in place in your home to help you get out the door? Do you need to lay out your clothes ahead of time, or do you need to move so your commute is shorter and more predictable? There is an emotional component to the way we behave, the way we live, and the standards we uphold (or don’t). Are you dissatisfied at work and dread going to the office each day, subconsciously sabotaging yourself? Be honest during this process, and take as much time as you need to reach clear answers.

17. Ask for, and accept, help.

Everyone has had tough days, weeks, months, even years, and chances are there are people in your life who can identify to at least some degree with what you are facing now. Ask for help when you need it. Accept help when it is offered. You can and will pull through, but the bigger the challenge, the easier it is with a village.

18. Hang in there.

Healing, change, and recovery can take time. Stay at the path, and keep moving forward. While some days will still feel tough, you are moving forward. You are making progress. Eventually, that hurdle that seemed so huge will be in your rear view mirror.

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19. Keep looking forward.

Do you ever want to face this challenge, or set of challenges, again? No? Then cut it out! Kick the habits, lose the people, ditch the things that got you here. Rebuild a healthy life that works for you. Take what you’ve learned, and move on and upward.  Don’t look back.

20. Help others.

The “pay it forward” initiative is an increasingly popular one these days, and for good reason – it feels good to help others. Pay your wisdom, experience, and strength forward by helping others confronting similar challenges to those you have now overcome. Whether through a formal program or simply by encouraging the next person you meet who seems a bit sad, you will make a difference. Sometimes, that makes all of those challenges worth it.

Need more advice? Check out these thoughts on How to Endure and Overcome the Worst of Life’s Hardships.

Featured photo credit: so lovely may via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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