Ten Things to Keep in Mind When You Are Having An Especially Challenging Time
Sometimes life sucks!
If you’re having a hard time, please know that your friends at Twenties + Adulting get it, relate in our own ways, and feel for you.
Read on for some food for thought to help you as you navigate your challenges.
Ten Things To Remember:
1. You are a human being having a genuine human experience.
Every single person on the face of the planet has excruciatingly challenging times (relative to their experiences and circumstances) at one point or another in their lives. Whoever you are or wherever you may be, at some point life will challenge, pain, and try you. It’s a fact of life in this world that we live in. You cannot escape it.
I actually do find comfort in this, because it allows me to just accept that part of life is getting yourself through the hard times and being okay with the fact that they happen.
2. Even if you feel like you are alone and like you are the only person on the face of this planet feeling what you are feeling, you simply are not.
It is very easy to be having a hard time and find yourself feeling isolated in that.
Furthermore, if you are experiencing a new kind of challenging circumstance, you may be feeling things that you have never felt before and you may be feeling alone in the foreignness of those feelings.
The truth is this: we live in a big world with a lot of history. No matter what your situation might be, there is somebody else somewhere who has gone through or is going through something similar to you.
Look-up their stories for comfort and camaraderie, and when you are ready, tell your tale.
I recently told a friend about a terribly weird situation that I went through; he told me that when he was a kid, he had a babysitter who went through almost the exact same thing that I had just experienced. I was instantly shocked and comforted at the same time! It was one of the first times that I had opened up about my story, and it reminded me that even in your darkest hours, someone out there likely understands your pain.
3. Do not beat yourself up if you aren’t operating at full-capacity in your life.
It is not uncommon to go through a difficult time and notice that you aren’t as productive as usual, organized as usual, or as energetic as usual. Do not judge yourself for this, or criticize yourself for this. Wake up, focus on understanding what you need to do for you in order to feel better and feel more like you are getting your life on track, and do the best that you can on any given day to work towards a better situation for yourself. It is okay and expected that some days you are going to be able to do more and some days you are going to do less. Your life will not change in one day, and if you need to make changes, the way to give yourself the best shot is to take away self-imposed judgment or pressure and make small steps every day in the general direction that you are trying to go.
4. It is okay to be alone and to feel lonely. It is also okay to cry and be a mess sometimes.
Another fact of life: we all feel lonely at one point or another. You are not alone in feeling lonely.
I think that there is a lot of pressure to always have someone to lean on, to always have a go-to person…work on making yourself that go-to person. Learn to face and accept yourself in the quiet and lonely moments, and you will never regret it. You have the strength that you need to love and validate yourself already engrained inside you; it’s there for you to discover if you haven’t yet. I recently discovered that when I am feeling upset and lonely, I can actually give my own self a hug and it does legitimately make me feel better. Some people might laugh at that, but it’s my secret weapon and it allows me to trust that no matter what happens to me, I literally have my own back. I think it is great and it definitely has increased my confidence. Try it sometime.
Also, crying and being a mess does not make you weak, weird, or unlovable. In some cases, it can actually help you clear your head in a positive way, and lead to strength. Own your tears; own your messes.
5. It is okay to ask for help or accept help; it is also okay not to be ready to do that yet.
When my grandmother passed away, my mom and sister preferred to be around friends and family as they grieved our loss. On the other hand, I preferred to be alone and did not want to speak to anyone. Everybody handles their emotions differently, and it is okay to let yourself handle your emotions how you feel like you need to in order to help yourself in a healthy way.
If you feel like you want to be around other people or need outside help, ask for it from people that you know you can trust to help you. Do not be ashamed of asking for help when you really need it, even if you need a lot of help right now. We are, after all, social creatures.
Conversely, if you are wrestling with a lot and are at a place where you feel helpless, know that it is okay to not be ready to ask for help with your situation yet. It is okay to want to be alone.
Just remember that– especially with the Internet– when you are ready for help, help for nearly anything is findable. You do not ever have to feel like no one will ever help you with your current situation, because that is not true. Let yourself have the time to process what you need to process on your own, but do ask for help when you are ready and if you do need it.
6. Release expectations of resolutions within a certain timeframe, and open your mind to how this life chapter might end or evolve.
Do your best to stay open-minded about how this chapter of your life might resolve or evolve.
Oftentimes, we get caught up in what we think has to happen/when we think it has to happen by to the point that we overlook what actually needs to happen or is going to happen in order for us to find whatever it is we are ultimately looking for.
Stay open to the different solutions and outcomes that might present themselves. Listen to your gut instincts, and do not be afraid of flowing in the direction of change even if that change might scare you or be unexpected– especially when, deep down, you know that the changes are necessary to reach a desired end goal and to help you feel like you are more you and more on your feet again.
7. Find small things independent of others or the situation that you are in that bring you joy.
When you are going through a hard time, it is really important that you identify and engage with simple activities that, even if just for a few minutes, bring a little smile to your face.
For instance, I adore taking photographs of flowers. This is a perfect activity for me when I am really struggling because it is something that I can take myself to go do no matter what other people might be doing or what the situation I am in might be (with very few exceptions).
I encourage all of you to find that special little something, that you, yourself, and you alone can go do when you need to step away from the chaos.
8. Know thyself, and treat yourself accordingly.
Understand who you are, what you are about, and what makes you feel better, and act in ways that demonstrate you care about yourself. If you know that taking on an extra side project right now will overwhelm you in ways it normally wouldn’t, don’t sign up for it right this second. If you know that talking to one friend versus another makes you feel more positive in your mindset, choose to hang out with the friend who helps give you a little positivity over the one who doesn’t. If you know that taking a hot bath will help you relax more than going to a social hour with your coworkers, go home and take a bath.
It’s the time, more than ever, to choose your own self-care above anybody else’s expectations or invitations. It’s okay to say no when you know deep down that you need to say no; it’s okay to say yes when you know deep down that you need to say yes.
9. Do not get hung up on imperfections; at the same time, do not romanticize something that actually is bad for you.
Many times, if we feel like we are experiencing a lot of change or loss, we will cling on to anything that remains with rigid and relentless grips, obsessing over any imperfections to ensure we don’t lose something or have something change again. Try to embrace your life’s rhythm. Understand that imperfections in your life are okay and will happen, and also understand that things do change — in some cases, no matter how tightly you hold on or how much you try to fix any imperfections that you fear may threaten whatever it is that you are trying so hard not to lose or have change.
In other cases, you may have imperfections in your life that are driving you crazy. If you have discovered imperfections in your life that are making it hard for you to be who you want to be or to do what you want to do, the key here is to develop a plan of action; do not focus on the imperfections or complain about them to the point that you are stagnant and you cannot even develop a plan with micro action steps to help you help yourself change the situation.
On the other hand, work to be honest with yourself about the people or situations that you may have been sugarcoating in your head. Sometimes, we find ourselves in bad situations because we have looked too much on the bright-side; in reality, we have effectively neglected to acknowledge something detrimental to us and our wellbeing that is lingering in our world and headspace.
10. Opportunities exist everywhere.
If you look hard enough, and are willing to get creative, you will find that there are opportunities everywhere (big and small, both count) that you– yes, you!– can take that will completely change your life for the better. Understand that life’s situations and challenges are not permanent. Get outside of your box and your head, entertain various solutions and possibilities, and follow your gut instincts to move towards the quality of life and mental wellbeing that you are desiring.
With Infinite Good Vibes,
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