Thriving in Times of Difficulty
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
I know many of you think this past year being quarantined taught us all a thing or two about difficult moments, but I kicked off my 2015 with separating from my ex-husband and then a week later becoming my mother’s full-time caregiver. The next 3 years were pure HELL. My mother was rushed to the hospital at least 10 times for various ailments, falls, and UTIs. I moved myself, my mother, or my mother’s stuff 12 times in less than 3 years. I was constantly getting phone calls from whatever assisted living facility my mother was at informing me mother was “spicy.” I was constantly having to confront nursing home staff for negligent care. Then there was my divorce; I was in and out of meetings with divorce attorneys as divorce proceedings dragged on, constantly being bombarded with all kinds of divorce “busy work.” Physically, I was a mess. I had two teeth that needed crowns. I broke both of my pinkie toes. I was barely able to sleep 3 hours a night with a prescription for Ambien. When I was able to afford to go to hypnotherapy school, I had a serious personality clash with the instructor. Socially, I endured several shitty dates, and the 3 that made it to “boyfriend” status ended up in heart wrenching break ups. One of my dearest friends was killed in a freak accident. And then my mother passed away.
Anything that came with Corona Virus was a nothing-burger! Wear a mask? Okay. Stay 6 feet away from others. Fine. Close my office and move my work home? Sure, no problem. Bring it, b*tches!
The difficult times life throws our way wouldn't be so difficult if we could see them coming. But we don't. They always come out of the blue. It's when you least expect it. When you're least prepared for it. I know I didn’t see ANY of what happened to me coming! You’re riding on cloud nine, then the giant storm swoops and not only knocks you from your perch, but destroys your home and sometimes your entire foundation. You’re surrounded by the shattered pieces of your life.
Every day, millions of people walk into difficult moments. Their partner sits them down and asks for a divorce. Their boss sits them down to lay them off. A debt collector catches up and wants their money now. They lose someone close to them. They perform poorly and it influences their standing.
None of these things are enjoyable, but it’s the difficult moments that teach us who we are and what we’re made of. We do our best to find hope and do what we can to hold on to it. No matter what happens, it is hope that will carry you through and keep you focused on the positive. There is always a silver lining, you just have to find it and be okay if you have to search a little while to find it. Hopefully - that positive sliver lining comes sooner than later!
Ultimately, nobody wants to deal with struggles. However, they are an inevitable fact of life and while these bad phases are just that, phases, you still have to get through them. The tips below will help you ride out any difficult moment you may face.
When you are in a difficult situation you experience a range of emotions from anger, upset, guilt, and even shame. If this goes on for a long time it can negatively influence both your mental and physical health. It can also result in the situation growing much worse. That's why acceptance is so important.
You can't hold regrets over why it happened, you can't ruminate on what led to this moment, you can't obsess over what you could or should have changed. You can only accept that what is done is done. You can only move forward from this point. Acceptance will help relieve tension and manage stress. Rather than resisting it, accept it to maintain your calm and remain positive.
While it's important to process all of your emotions and allow yourself to feel even the most negative of them, it's just as important that you do not allow those emotions to overwhelm you entirely. You will only navigate these difficult moments successfully if you take a step back to observe and analyze.
Looking for the root of the problem you are dealing with can help you manage it more effectively. It also helps you learn more about who you are. How you respond to the difficulty is indicative of who you are and how you navigate these times will show you more about the person you are.
Change and difficulty are natural parts of life and as upsetting as they can be, it's fleeting. It may be difficult to remember how temporary these issues are when you're in the midst of them, but remembering “it’s only temporary” is the key to getting through them as quickly as possible.
When you're driving and you hit a patch of ice the last thing you should do is hit the brakes. You have to just let the slide happen and steer into it as best you can. That's what difficult moments are, a slippery patch of ice, and this is your opportunity to lean in and learn what you're made of.
You can't buy happiness, you can only find it internally. As difficult as it is to find happiness when you're going through difficult times, doing so will help you manage the stress that comes with uncertainty.
Refer to your happy journal when you find yourself in difficult times. By doing so, you learn about what gets you through when the chips are down. It may be important information or a source of inspiration for future difficulties as well.
It's easy to get caught up worrying about your future and then doing “nothing.” It’s important to keep moving. Do something. Ground yourself. Do the best you can with your situation! Your future depends on it. Instead of spending precious mental energy on asking yourself “why did this happen to me?” ask yourself the more productive question “what can I do with this?”
If life gives you lemons (and dyslexia), then find a way to make melons! You can’t always choose your challenges, but you can certainly choose the right attitude to over come them and learn what you’re really made of. When I remember what I went through in 2015-2018, it really makes me appreciate the life I have now. I’m settled in my home, I have a wonderful life partner, and I am back in the driver’s seat of my life. As much as I hated going through everything I went through, it made me tough, strong, and resilient!
I’ll leave you with this quote: You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.
How have your hardships prepared you for an extraordinary destiny?