If you’re going through a tough time at the moment, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know how it feels, I’ve been there myself, but a little positive encouragement during these times can be helpful.
Here I explain some tools that I have personally used to pull myself through the most difficult times, and I hope they help you to.
1. NEVER GIVE UP
Whatever is happening right now, will change. Nothing stays the same, that’s one thing we can all be sure about. And that is a good enough reason to never give up. You might be so close to getting to where you want to be, but you’ll never know if you give up now.
My life is a million miles away from what it was just a few years ago, which is when I went through the hardest times of my life. I was so close to giving up, I didn’t see the point of it all anymore. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and all I saw was darkness. (I’ll explain more in a future post.) But somewhere deep down, there was a glimmer of hope, and that’s what I held onto, and that’s what eventually pulled me through.
No matter how hard it gets, don’t lose hope. You might come close, but if you hold onto even the tiniest bit of optimism, you will get through it. Never lose your capacity to see the light in the darkness. Without hope you have essentially given up on life. But with it, you are able to move past the difficult times and welcome the good times.
2. ALLOW BAD TIMES TO STRENGTHEN YOU
“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”
Times of suffering can be pivotal moments in our lives that shake us and force us to look at where we are headed, and decide if we are going in a direction that is right for us.
Suffering can be the biggest eye-opener when it comes to self-awareness; without it, we wouldn’t know acceptance, compassion, humility, tolerance and many other enriching qualities that make our lives more fulfilling and meaningful.
Recovering alcoholics and drug addicts are a good example of this. Following their turbulent, and often near-death, experiences with substance abuse, they get to such a low place, that the only place left to go is up. Those in recovery use their pain to propel them to sobriety, and they are offered something that not everyone is fortunate enough to experience – purposeful living; the ability to live with eyes wide open.
The truth is that suffering can either make you, or break you, and it is your choice to make. You can either blame the past for your continued suffering, or you can use the pain you’ve been through to propel you in the right direction.
3. ACCEPT AND TRUST THE PROCESS OF LIFE
One of the biggest errors we make in life, is expecting it to be perfect. Of course, our expectations are never met because life isn’t supposed to be perfect. We are not supposed to be perfect.
Instead, we must trust the process of life; it is one big journey of ups and downs; pain and bliss, sadness and happiness, loss and gain. No one can avoid tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one; it’s part of what we signed up for when we embarked on this thing called life.
Having said this, we cannot be fearful or anxious about what is going to happen in the future, nor can we dwell in it. We must accept that difficult times will come and go. Acceptance makes us better equipped to deal with them.
When things are going well for you, don’t dwell in the future or past, embrace the joy and happiness. Embrace the good moments. When times aren’t going well, allow yourself to deal with what is happening, but don’t cling onto it for too long. When we are flexible in life, we are able to experience a smoother ride than if we were to resist change.
The key is to accept that bad times will happen, learn to deal with them, learn from them, and then grow as a result.
4. CHANGE YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE
Anything is possible for anybody; the only barrier ever standing in your way is your mind.
Your current destination might be filled with pain and suffering but when you change your view of what is possible, you open the barriers for change to take place. If you can only see trouble ahead, only trouble will be ahead.
You must stretch the mental boundaries that you’ve put up around what is possible for you, and you must begin to believe that you are worthy and deserving of living in way that satisfies every aspect of your entire being, even if your current situation speaks otherwise.
Some of the world’s most inspiring people experienced tragic circumstances and came from traumatic backgrounds, before they began living their purpose.
Think JK Rowling; she had a young baby when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. At the time, she was a single mum surviving on benefits, and had been through the trauma of having to escape from her baby’s abusive father. She describes being at the time, “as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.”
Regardless of her hardship, JK Rowling was able to see the possibilities that lay before her. Had she been unable to see past her current situation, she wouldn’t be the best-selling author we know today. She had an idea and she believed in herself, and she saw the possibility.
One of the most inspiring philanthropists of our time is Oprah Winfrey, who was subjected to extreme physical and sexual abuse during her early years, and was continuously told that the colour of her skin meant that she wasn’t as important as other people, and didn’t have the same opportunities available to her as everyone else.
Thankfully, Oprah didn’t listen. She looked past her difficult childhood and any barriers standing in her way, and saw them as opportunities and stepping stones from which to grow. Today she is the most well-known philanthropist and has gone from child poverty to a $3 billion fortune, much of which she uses to support charitable projects.
Both of these women experienced immense suffering, but it’s possible that they wouldn’t be in their current position if they hadn’t been through those bad times. They saw that there was more out there for them, they stretched their view of what was possible, and you can do the same too!
Remember, your current situation isn’t your final destination; it’s your starting block and it’s never too late to start over!
Stephanie is a professional writer, blogger and the co-founder of Soul Analyse.
While she always tries to live in the moment, she feels it's equally important to look back at past experiences with open eyes to connect the missing dots and work out what we can learn for the future. She uses writing as a way to share her story with others in the hope that her past experiences can help someone else moving forward. She's also keen to gain knowledge from others' experiences and believes we can learn a great deal from one another!