There are times in our lives, where nothing would feel better than curling up in a ball and disappearing. The problem with that is, that it’s an illusion. You don’t feel better, nor do your problems go away.
I have been through my own share of very tough times, from my divorce, to massive financial distress, to serious illness. All times that really had a strong impact on my emotional state. Over the course of the years I have learned some important lessons that have helped me navigate those challenging times, and I would love to share them with you.
If you are at a crossroad in your life, or dealing with a difficult situation, these tips will really help.
You are NOT the problem: At times when we experience turmoil in our life, we have a difficult time disconnecting ourselves from the problem at hand, and often internalize it. Know that you ARE NOT the problem, but rather you have a problem in your life for which you are working towards a solution. When we see ourselves as the problem, it is difficult to be solution oriented, and we start feeling crappy about ourselves. So if you are going through a rough patch in your marriage, or struggling in any other area in your life, take a step back and know that you are not the problem, but there are some issues that need to be addressed and worked on. This approach makes solutions more attainable, and problems less overwhelming.
Set yourself FREE: The only way you will ever set yourself free is by letting go of your past. It doesn’t matter what your past was, it does NOT define you or your tomorrows. For years I was tormenting myself, punishing myself, by living in my past. When I met my current husband (best friend) he told me: “I don’t care what you did or didn’t do, your past isn’t who you are. All I care about is the woman you are, and you are your essence”. I will forever be thankful to him for saying those powerful and liberating words to me. From time to time, when I get stuck he lovingly reminds me that I am NOT my past. Let go!
Stop Worrying: Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Isn’t that so true? I mean think about it, if you CAN solve the problem then what is the need of worrying? And if you can’t solve it, then what is the USE of worrying? Uncertainty is one of the biggest fears we all face, but guess what, if you fear uncertainty you fear LIFE, for life is uncertain. Shift your mindset from worry to excitement towards the unknown possibilities ahead of you.
The truth about life: Most people go through life looking for that perfect magic pill, where all will be alright. The truth is there is no magic pill, nor is there perfection. The beauty of life is the counterparts it offers. How can you experience real joy if you have never felt sadness? How can you celebrate your success if you haven’t had failures. The ultimate satisfaction you will experience in life is growth, and growth comes through setbacks and failures. Your failures and imperfections are the stepping stones towards success and happiness. So stop chasing the “perfect dream” life that doesn’t exist and instead embrace the beauty of life as it is: “IMPERFECT”.
Be a friend to yourself, and a kind one: One of the things most of my clients have in common is the lack of compassion and kindness towards themselves. It is amazing to listen to someone who sits there berating or judging themselves for who they are or things they do or don’t do. When I ask them: “ what would you say to your friend who just shared this with you?”, they would say: “well I would try to comfort them and tell them to be kinder to themselves”. The irony is that when it comes to us we rarely step into the “be your own friend” state of mind. Next time you hear yourself say, “I am a bad mother”, or “I am not good enough”, challenge your inner dialogue and ask yourself if your judgement is really true and fair and rephrase it to something kinder, as if you would be talking to your friend. Example, “I was having a hard day with barely any sleep, so I wasn’t the most patient with the kids. Tomorrow is another day”. Doesn’t that sound a lot kinder?
Let go of expectations: If I asked you what are the things in your life that you are happy with, and what are the things that you are unhappy with, you will notice they have a common denominator. The things that make you happy are things that followed your blueprint, the ones that you are unhappy with didn’t. What is a blueprint? A blueprint is the way we think our life ought to be. They are expectations of who we should be, how we should be and when. For example, maybe you always wanted to have kids before you were 30, and own a house. If you have a house you are happy with that part falling into place, but if you don’t have kids you might be very sad and disappointed with not having that checked off your expectation list. The key is to work on accepting your life as it is. If your blueprint doesn’t match the reality, change your blueprint, by accepting that you are exactly where you need to be. This is not to say that you shouldn’t have goals and dreams, you should, yet when things don’t fall into place according to your expectations, learn to embrace what is and accept that to be what is best for you right now.
Remember, in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. Focus ahead, keep your eyes on the prize!