You are in pain. You are having a tough time. Nothing seems to be going your way. You just want everything to end. Unfortunately, no matter how miserable you are; life will go on. If it is any consolation, think that you are not alone. All of us, at several points in our lives have to go through challenges.No one is exempted even if you are the smartest and wealthiest person in the world. That’s just the way life is. The good news is that if you feel like you have already reached the lowest point in your life, then there is nowhere to go but up. Take inspiration and some lessons on how to rise above difficult circumstances in life.
Life always waits for some crisis to occur before revealing itself at its most brilliant.– Paulo Coelho
Low points are the turning points in life. What you make out of them will define who you are and what you will become in the future.
An Inspiring Story
Here is an inspiring story of how a woman overcame her lowest point in life. She was a wife and a mother. Her day-to-day activities revolved around her family. She was financially dependent on her husband. She was also too much emotionally invested into the relationship. Her whole world crumbled when she got separated from her husband after being together for over a decade. It was not just one aspect of her life that ended, it was practically her whole life – her relationship, her dreams, her financial support and worst of all her self-worth. It was devastating.
Today, she is an investor and an entrepreneur who manages several businesses. She employs people especially women who underwent the same experience as her. Her free time is spent helping some marginalized people in society. She is also active in her spiritual community.
It is easier to just give up. Instead, this lady fought back and rose to the challenge that life has to offer. She succeeded in making her greatest crisis as the starting point in turning her life around.
How To Rise Above Difficult Circumstances
She shared with me the steps and some lessons on how to rise above difficult circumstances in life:
1. Embrace the Negative Emotions
The first step to healing is to embrace the negative emotions. Yes, it’s okay to not be okay, at least at first. Anger, frustration, fear and helplessness are all part of life. Avoiding, denying, ignoring and keeping them inside will only make matters worse. Pain demands our attention. Whether it is a loss of a love one, the end of a relationship, business failure, or whatever painful experience it is; we need to acknowledge them first before we can move on. Avoiding these emotions in the short-term will only lead to stress and long-term pain. Escaping the negative emotions through alcohol and drugs are never a solution, it will only lead to self-destruction.
Acceptance is understanding and realizing the reality of your situation. There are just some things that are beyond your control. There is no point to continue blaming yourself or other people for the things that happened. Know that things happen for a reason.Just let go. It is difficult to understand why it had to happen to you at that particular moment but later on as you look back in life, you will understand why certain events turned out that way. Just accept the fact that there are things that we need to experience in order to grow as a person.
You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that somehow the dots will connect in your future.– Steve Jobs
In order to get back in track, you need to start your journey towards self-discovery. Self-discovery means finding yourself again. Meditate and ask yourself, who are you? What makes you happy? Think about your hobbies and interests. Then, ask yourself, what are you good at? Look for the genius within you. It involves recalling your childhood days and remembering past events and experiences in your life that shaped you as a person. It is about knowing who you really are and what you want to accomplish in your life.
As part of your journey in figuring out who you are and who you can be, it is important to not just look into your heart but also to include God in your journey towards self-discovery. Pray. Read God’s word. Meditate. Include God in your plans. And then, surrender.
4. Set Goals
Once you have decided what you want to do in life, it is now time to set some goals. Goals are your stepping stone towards a new version of you. Having goals will give you a sense of meaning and purpose in life. You are done crying over your past. It is now time to look at the future and plan the direction of your life. In order to succeed, you need to make SMART goals.
5. Reconnect with Friends and Make New Ones
Being alone at the beginning is necessary in your journey towards self-discovery. However, long periods of isolation is no longer healthy. Once you have set your goals, it is now time to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. There are people that you need in your life. Extend your social circle. Join support groups. Attend trainings and seminars to help you meet new people in your chosen field of interest. But remember, choose the people that you hang out with. Stay away from toxic individuals. Instead, hang out with people that will motivate you to achieve your goals for you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.
6. Serve Others
Serving others will lead to deeper healing. When you serve others, you don’t think about our own pain. Instead, you think about other people’s situations. Once you think about the needs of others, you begin the process of healing. Thus, you end up actually helping yourself. It will also help you identify all the blessings in your life and feel grateful. The fact is even at your lowest point, there will be others who are in a worse state than you. Spending time with them will help you realize how blessed you are.
First published in Pinoy Smart Living on 10.2.2019.