What to remember when tough times come

Life has an incredible ability to turn around within a matter of days. One day the problems you have might be imaginary problems with how you are thinking and feeling, the next day you find yourself facing a real life issue. Tragedies, grief, heartbreak, pain, illness and suffering are all experiences we will face at some point in our life. When such tough times arrive, what is there to do? I know people who say that you can change your attitude and use a few simple techniques to keep yourself feeling good in such times. I disagreed with that idea many years ago when I first heard it and I disagree with it now. I do not believe in any panacea that will take massive pain away in a moment. I do believe that we can get through anything however. It requires a shift in perspective. First, feeling okay that you are struggling I think is important. Beating yourself up because you are feeling devastated by something is pointless and fruitless. Indeed, it is a good idea to accept what you are going through as normal. Once you do this then you can get to understand a few universal truths that exist.

  1. The pain will get better eventually. Grief gets easier. Heartbreak you get over. Illness in most cases is temporary. Things will change. ‘This too will pass’. You have to ride the storm.
  2. You will get better eventually. This experience will make you a stronger person. You will come out of it a richer person in the sense that you will become more whole, more human and more understanding of the nature of life.
  3. Things won’t change much. Life will continue to go on outside of this despite everything. The world will turn and you will return to where you were.
  4. There is always a choice. A choice in the meaning you decide to give to what is happening. A choice in how you decide to deal with it. A choice in who you decide to be during it. It is up to you.
  5. Life is tough. It can be cruel, unforgiving, lopsided and seriously messed up. The only thing to do is accept what is and work for what can be. You must focus on what you can control as that is the only thing that ever works.

Tough times are storms. You must navigate your way through the storm the best way you can and survive it. One day the sun will come out again and things will get a little better bit by bit. There are lots of other people going through storms and lots of other people who care about you and want you to get through yours. Know that.


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