4 Reasons to Hold On a Little Longer

4 Reasons to Hold On a Little Longer

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child.  Listen to the don’ts.  Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts.  Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…  Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

―Shel Silverstein

If you feel like you’re at the end your rope with little slack left to hold on to, realize your mind is lying to you.  It has imprisoned you by reciting self-defeating stories in your head – stories about your mistakes, what you should have done differently, and so forth.  Your mind has built a mental cell out these negative thoughts and you’ve begun to believe you are actually living in it.

But you’re NOT.

You are alive in an immense world with infinite destinations.  Take a moment to remind yourself of this fact.  Go outside.  Look up at the sky and the clouds or the stars.  THIS is the world in which you really live.  Breathe it in.  Then look at your current situation again.

Remember that adversity is the first path to truth.  Your defeats often serve as well as your victories to shake your spirit and let your glory out.  You just have to hold on tight, embrace the daily pain and burn it as fuel for your journey.

Here are four things to consider before you let go of your rope and give up on yourself:

1.  You are growing from your struggles.

Life can be a struggle.  It will break you sometimes.  Nobody can protect you from that, and hiding alone in a cave somewhere won’t either, for prolonged solitude will also break you with an endless thirst for connection.  You must dare to love.  You must dare to feel.  It is the reason you are here on earth.

You are here to sacrifice your time and risk your heart.  You are here to be bruised by life.  And when it happens that you are hurt, or betrayed, or rejected, let yourself sit quietly with your eyes closed and remember all the good times you had, and all the sweetness you tasted, and everything you learned.  Tell yourself how amazing it was to live, and then open your eyes and live some more.

To never struggle would be to never have been blessed with life.  It is within the depths of darkness that you discover within you an inextinguishable light, and it is this light that illuminates the way forward.  (This process is something Angel and I discuss in the Adversity chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

2.  Your heart still burns with love.

Adversity is like walking in to a turbulent windstorm.  As you fight to push through it, you not only gain strength, but it tears away from you all but the essential parts of you that cannot be torn.  Once you come out of the storm you see yourself as you really are in raw form, still holding the passions and ideas that move you, and little else.

Ultimately, there is only what you want and what happens.  When you don’t get what you want, there is only grabbing on and holding tight to the passions and ideas that move you.  These are the lusts that matter – the inner love that defines you.  It is this kind of love that drives you forward and even when the going gets tough.  It is this kind of love that should never be dropped.  (Read Daring Greatly.)

3.  You aren’t crazy – just a little stressed out.

Sometimes when the going gets really tough, the world seems like it’s spinning too fast and you feel completely out of control.  It seems like you’re losing your mind and going crazy, but you’re not.  You need to pause and take a deep breath.

Just about every emotional issue imaginable, from fear to anxiety to the onset of depression, is triggered by a mounting build-up of stress.  Stress impedes your ability to think straight and see the world as it is – a world that is not spinning too fast or burning to the ground.

Being extremely stressed-out and feeling overwhelmed is not a sign that you are psychotic or “going crazy.”  It’s just that stressful experiences make it harder to think clearly and can make you think you’re more out of control than you actually are.  The craziness you feel is stress.  It’s not time to give up, it’s time to regroup and hold tight to your sanity.  The more you relax, the saner you will feel.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I working too much with not enough downtime?
  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • Am I eating healthy balanced meals?
  • Am I spending enough time with those I care about?
  • Am I involved in relationships that cause me excessive stress?
  • Am I drinking too much alcohol or relying on other (non-prescribed) drugs?
  • Am I constantly worried about some other time and place?

If you are experiencing any of the above issues, you know what you need to address to reduce your stress.  The vast majority of us never go crazy; the vast majority of us simply fear, at some point, that we may go crazy based on stress factors we allow to reside in our present life situations.

So make sure you fill your time with meaningful activity, get enough sleep, eat well and manage your stress so it doesn’t mange you.  (Read Full Catastrophe Living.)

4.  You have something special to offer the world.

You are only destined to become one person – the person you decide to be.  Do not let your own negativity walk all over you with it’s dirty feet.

You feel a unique gift burning inside you that you want to offer to the world, to help move it in the right direction.  It may be covered up by years of waiting, doubting and defeat, but it’s present and as bright as ever.  If you look deeply enough, you’ll find it.  There is a capable person inside you that wants to soar, to create, to build, to love, to inspire, to do far more than just exist.

Your everyday chores and tasks can be a prison or a pathway.  It all depends on you.  No matter how far ‘down’ you think you’ve traveled, there is always a road leading to higher ground.  There are always great possibilities in front of you, because you are always able to take a small step forward.

Stay true to yourself.  Hold on to your values and passions.  Never be ashamed of doing what feels right.  Decide what you think is right and step in that direction, right now.


Do you feel overwhelmed?  Do you feel like giving up?

There’s no shame in it.  You are not a robot; and even if you were, you’d still need to stop for maintenance once in a while.  There is no shame in admitting to yourself that you feel tired, doubtful, and low.  This is a natural part of being human.  The simple fact that you are aware of this means you are able to turn things around.

Your turn…

What helps you hold on to your hope and determination when times get tough?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Photo by: Jake Bellucci


  1. says

    Lovely post. The phrase that gets me through tough times is:
    “This too shall pass”
    It reminds me that I have been through tough times before and survived, that things get better and that this won’t last either. It also reminds me to enjoy the good times and be in the moment so I can enjoy them to the fullest.

  2. says

    I go to the sea when I am overwhelmed.
    But I am often afraid to fight for what I want and let my dreams and wishes be subsumed by others – this post has reminded me to fight for my deepest dreams and not always compromise. Thank you.

  3. Mark says

    I enjoyed this article, as I do with most on your site.

    I’ve been feeling anxious and on edge for some time now, having recovered from burnout a couple of years ago. Unfotunately, work seems to be the root of my stress, with me never quite able to pinpoint why I feel so out of esteem. The dilemma for me is this: work at a job that provides a good income but makes me crazy, or significantly reduce the income but find something that feeds my spirit?

    It is something that I continue to ponder…

  4. says

    @Braja Patnaik: Angel can completely relate, she ran a half marathon recently. On race day you’ll be so happy you trained and overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. Baby steps, you’re doing great!

    @Andrea: It really is all about action – small steps. Start with this list and choose a 1-3 to start checking off over the next 30 days: http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/12/25/30-challenges-for-30-days-of-growth/

    @Amandah: Love the attitude and honesty; thank you!

    @Nancy: Very true. =)

    @Dawn: You are incredible!

    @Jen: Great advice and feedback. Your input is greatly appreciated!

    @Suzanne: It’s inspiring to hear that you are holding on and being strong. Your willingness to share your pain and vulnerability leaves me speechless. Please stay strong. If it gets worse, please speak to a professional.

    @All: Remember, you are not a robot. There is no shame in admitting to yourself that you feel tired, doubtful, and low. The simple fact that you are aware of this means you are able to turn things around. Take time to rest, breathe and then continue to take action – even if it’s a baby step, it’s progress.

  5. Cait says

    Thank you for this! I’m doing something right now (unpaid internship – that’s how it goes for new graduates nowadays unfortunately) that I need to get me where I want to be in life, but it’s a year of unpaid hard labour that never gets explained to me (beyond ‘___ needs doing’ said to a third party by a boss that never even so much as looks at me, let alone tells me anything directly) all day every day with people who are unhelpful, obviously hate where they are themselves and don’t like me/appreciate me/even acknowledge I exist (plus I’m tied up applying for jobs in my limited free time so I don’t sleep enough)… It’s been 4 months and today I called in sick because I just couldn’t face it any more. I’ve never done that before for anything. I feel so guilty but I feel so heavy – I slept for 12 hours. Yes, I am going to hold on, but only for another month, and then if it’s still making me feel this low, then you’re right. It is OK to let go. I want to get somewhere in life, but seriously, there must be another way.

  6. Linda Hyams says

    This post was just right for today. Feeling a little overwhelmed with medical issues and stress at work. It is good to be reminded that it’s just a speed bump. It will pass. Your messages always seem to come when I most need them and I share them with all the people I care about.

  7. Julie says

    Thank you for this reading, Marc. It felt like you were speaking directly with me, since my world
    felt or feels like it’s been collapsing since April. I have yet to find that one trusted person to share and tell all. I called a talk crisis hotline bc I felt like I was going crazy bc so many life events, hurt, sorrow, grieving, you name it. Unfortunately, my family is part of my stress and provide no emotional support since they keep telling me that they want to listen and when I have tried, they just tell me to “suck it up”. I cry everyday in shower and try each day to find joy. My perfect storm keeps swirling and I keep hoping that I can be out from it one day at a time.

  8. Valerie says

    Yes, I know I’m stressed. Yes, I know I beat odds but when external factors are keeping my life gripped & I feel ripped … well this year makes a sick waste of effort I don’t know what to do anymore. Nobody is as hyper vigilant about advocating for themselves & changing the situation, & I believe if any effort was correct it would fall into place. So I’m feeling the rejection of not belonging anywhere… not a career minded job, not an in the mean time job, poverty in a city setting is exhausting – no quality in surviving. I know I have a future & I am so greatful every day for the things I do have but extremes are taking their toll.

  9. VeseLina says

    “You are here to sacrifice your time and risk your heart. You are here to be bruised by life. And when it happens that you are hurt, or betrayed, or rejected, let yourself sit quietly with your eyes closed and remember all the good times you had, and all the sweetness you tasted, and everything you learned.”

    I really liked this part. It reminds me of a dear friend, who once told me “At the end you’ll remember only the good stuff.” We’ve been through so much sh** together that I thought I’ll never forget the bad moments and the bitterness, but now when I look back I don’t regret a second of them. And I smile every time when I remember all those amazing moments we’ve had together. I think one smile like this worth all the sacrifices and the pain we go trough in life.

    The people we let in our lives, every struggle we have and every joy shapes us. Everything leaves a mark in our soul and we have to cherish those scars, because they’ve led us to where we are now.

  10. says

    If you’ve ever done any kind of internal work – call it meditation, spiritual, energy, searching, etc – you know what this article is talking about.

    Sometimes there comes a point during this work when you think “I can’t do this any more”, “I can’t be sad” or “face these demons”, “these hardships” any more. I can’t go through the heat or the pressure of it all.

    I know I’ve been there – recently lol. But guess what happens ALWAYS after the rain? Yup. You guessed it, Sunshine!

    In business, love and in life, just when you think you can’t go on any further or you think maybe it’s time to change direction or switch gears, the clouds begin to part and you see the sun shine through.

    Believe it or not, with each struggle we grow. The more monumental the struggle, the more exponential the growth. If you aren’t struggling at some point you aren’t growing – period.

    Whether it’s struggling to understand a new subject from an educational perspective, struggling to find common ground with a love interest, or grow a business endeavour, diamonds are only formed at high temperatures and great pressure and depth.

    The key in these high temperature, high pressure situations is to remember what is happening.

    Remember that you are growing and healing.

    Remember to hang on – that just around the corner, your diamond is waiting to be discovered, the sun ready to shine through.

    This is what has worked for me and the points in your article have further helped to reinforce this.

    For that, I thank you.


  1. When times get tough, I take a break and meditate. Meditation eases my mind and helps me hold on to hope and peace.

    Thanks again for another dose of inspiring reminders.

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