I often hear people say that life is hard or that people are out to get you or bad things always happen to good people.
Even though life can throw us on an erratic roller coaster, I prefer to think that it is trying to communicate something to us. Something that will not just benefit us as individuals, but everyone on our path.
I found that it was easy to blame the people in my past when things were not going my way. With that, I was unknowingly giving my power away instead of taking responsibility and finding the golden nugget in the experience.
God knows I have taken the trip to hell a few times. “Why me?” “Not again.” “I’m a good person.” I used all the recycled excuses going around, but what I wasn’t getting was the lesson trying to come through for me in the moments of despair.
When no one was available to “hold my hand,” I could either be upset or look deeper and learn something from it. It was in that moment that I realized I absolutely had everything inside me to deal with what I was facing. We all do.
Everything happening in our lives is there to unlock gifts and treasures we don’t yet know exist—but it took a long journey of self-discovery to realize that.
Here are a few things I learned when I thought my world was collapsing:
1. It’s never as bad as we think.
When we are facing adversity, often times we make a problem bigger than it is by inviting fear-based gremlins into our heads. When we invite fear to live in our minds it makes sure to bring its closest friends too: worry, anxiety and panic. Worrying is a waste of energy and doesn’t serve any purpose. It weighs us down and carries no certainty for the future outcome. As humans, we have vast imaginations and these visitors only cause us to use our creativity for destruction instead of using it to create a desired outcome.
Instead, focus on what you can do now, not on a future you have not yet seen. You are strongest in the present moment, because it is where all your power lies.
2. We are not our circumstances.
Our circumstances do not define who we are. They are merely a reflection of our choices, not our essence.
It’s important not to base our self-worth on what is happening in our external world. We came here to experience an array of emotions, experiences, friendships, love and joy—all to discover our full potentiality. And with that, our circumstances are ever-changing, but our value and essence should not fluctuate in response to this scale.
3. There is more of what’s going right than what’s going wrong.
Look around. When nothing matters anymore and things seem dreary, there are at least 10 things happening that are better than the problem at hand. It could be that we have a meal on our plate every few hours. We could have a job that keeps us going. Our health may be impeccable, even though John or Jill decided to break up with us. There is always something to be deeply thankful for.
By focusing on the things we already have in times of trouble, we train ourselves to have a strong mindset. Our minds go where we tell them to go and a good place to start training them is in seeing the good. Once we do this we habitually see the good in any situation, no matter how challenging.
4. We know more than we think we do.
When times get hard, I get quiet. Getting still and tapping into that place inside us not only calms us, but it makes our next step clear because we are connected to everything. Some call this meditation. Others call it soul seeking. I call it being tuned it.
I ask why the challenge showed up and what it is there to teach me. And then I listen. This is often the hardest part. Hardship causes us to go deep and search for those solutions we may otherwise not have been interested learning.
Be alone. Get quiet. Minimize any distractions. Close your eyes and ask. And then be open for an answer. By learning to ask for guidance, we open up to the possibility for deeper knowledge. Chances are we already know what to do or the answer will come in the quiet moments when we are heart-storming. That said, we can never truly be alone and therefore, will always know more than we think we do.
5. We must love ourselves during the difficult times too.
It’s easy to forget our strength sometimes, and often the battle is within us. But during this stressful time it’s important to have even more compassion and kindness toward ourselves. The mere fact that we exist says that we are worthy of love, and loving ourselves simply means being a friend to ourselves no matter what life looks like. Keeping a healthy mindset is also a form of self-love and it is equally important we don’t neglect our body’s needs.
Some things we can do are reading a book we enjoy, treating ourselves to a long bubble bath or starting a feel-good journal. Learning to focus on our strengths and what is positive is a good place to start.
Our body loves to move. Do some yoga or go for a walk, even if it’s only 15 minutes a day. It releases happy hormones and reduces stress. Get a massage. Not only is it a relaxing treat, but it moves energy that is stuck in the body.
Recognize what feels good for you and do that.
There will always be another challenge. It’s part of the dance. Embrace it.
Once I learned to embrace the challenges, I started to live life with anticipation. I now know that when another arises I have past defeats under my belt. Experience alone is an indication that we are more than equipped to deal with anything that comes our way.
Author: Ulenda Tom
Image: Global Panorama/Flickr
Editor: Nicole Cameron