post written by: Marc Chernoff

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.

Afterthoughts

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

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64 Comments

  • This is a very motivating post. When circumstances challenge and overwhelm us, we want to give up. It helps to remember how similar challenges were overcome in the past. Reading inspirational quotes, posts and books keeps the motivation high.

    There is a small technique I use not to become overwhelmed by huge audacious goals: I try to break it down into small, bite-sized, achievable goals. Thus when going gets tough, I do not focus on the larger goal, but just on the next bite-sized milestone.

    These days, I am preparing for a marathon. Some days it is very difficult to run my target distance. I try not to think about how much I have to run next week or the subsequent week. I just focus on today’s run. Even during the run, I just focus on the next lap. I am happy if I am able to finish that. Thus, I try to collect small wins which help me propel towards my larger goal.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

  • I always have my moments of feeling like crap and these come every so often. They can last a while too.

    What gets me through it is the reminder and realization that I ALWAYS bounce back. No period of struggle lasted for long and no matter how bad I thought it was, time proves to heal all. Something better always comes along or my mind allows itself to rest for a bit and I realize things aren’t as bad as they seem.

  • What helps me hold on is to breathe the air of dawn. Then I am alone, and nobody and nothing cuts me down yet also I am not alone, it is the World and me and I connect to the limitless skies. My dreams take shape at this time.

  • Searching for posts like this that remind me of what I’ve forgotten or struggle to bring to mind. Thanks.

  • Great post. A real post for living life day-to-day. Thank-you.

  • Thanks Marc for the wonderful post. It in facts helps me focus more on my resources rather than complaining about the downsides and get depressed.

  • Connecting with nature helps me with my stress and out of control thoughts. Take a walk, sit quietly and listen to the birds, count how many butterflies you see. Remember that the thoughts are just that…. thoughts. Relax….breath… and let them pass through you. Know that we are all part of so much more than just ourselves. Connect with your higher power by taking a quiet moment to pray or meditate this too will calm your mind and bring peace to your mind, body and spirit.

  • I was just telling myself I’m tired and have to let go .. you always seem to post what i need when I most need it.
    Thank you.

  • Exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it.
    Thank you, Marc & Angel.

  • Life IS a struggle! The question is what to DO about it. Just like Braja Patnaik, I break things down into small steps…after taking a deep breath of course. :)

    I literally live by the following quote, which I have displayed prominently to remind me:

    “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step”. ~Lao-Tzu

  • Love these encouraging lists (definitely more than the “9 lies to unlearn” type posts) - Love that they focus on abundance and positive thought. Thank you.

  • This was great to read, thank you. I have a tendency to want to leave romantic relationships “before I get hurt” and half the time I feel like I’m only half in them. One foot out the door ready to bolt the other foot in it. Looking for signs to run. This was timely as I woke up thinking those thoughts, again and … as I said very timely.

  • I just love all the great advice but here is my question. My emails are overwhelmed by spiritual teachers of all walks of life and it’s always the same message: don’t give up, follow your dreams but seriously how does that all begin? Don’t say “with one small step” because I don’t understand that either. Sure, there is something I would love to do but there is no way it is possible so yes, it would seem I fill my days waiting for some kind of help but it doesn’t come. I really am stuck. Now what?

  • This is a great post for a Monday, especially after the Super Moon. Then again, Mercury is retrograde until July 20. You may experience a bumpy ride. Hold on to your soul. :)

    Ask yourself:

    “Am I working too much with not enough downtime?” Yes, I’ve been working extremely hard without enough downtime.

    “Am I eating healthy balanced meals?” I’ve been slacking on this one. And I’m a vegetarian!

    “Am I spending enough time with those I care about?” I’m spending too much time with those I care about. Sometimes the people you care about can bring you down. It’s all right to step away and love them from a distance.

    “Am I involved in relationships that cause me excessive stress?” YES!

    “Am I constantly worried about some other time and place?” I have a tendency to be in the future because my present isn’t as I’d like it to be, even though I understand that we create our future by staying present.

    Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed and want to give up. But I remind myself that I have free will and can choose differently.

    I can choose who I hang out with on a daily basis.
    I can choose what I do and where I live.
    I can choose to Let Go and Let God.
    I can choose to be happy and free, NOW!

    Make it a great day and week! Don’t give up, yet. Focus on the light and it will shine brightly in your life.

  • A wonderful post what I needed to hear. I am facing adversity and sometimes it looks like its winning and I read this and know I sm not alone and it is part of humanity. Thank you

  • I loved the note of surviving the storm and emerging with little else then raw being. I am in the storm I know. Thank you for the message; I will hold it close.

  • This post reminds me of the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time! It is true. Take life one step at a time, sometimes going back a step or two to be able to more forward. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Needed this today…thank you :)

    At times like this I count my many blessings and give thanks for everything I have, and everything I have accomplished in my life.

    And I try and remember that things always work out in the end. And if they haven’t worked out, well, then it’s not the end :)

  • Great post…
    Sometimes am fed up of life.sometimes,I ask myself what am I doing in this world?sometimes I feel like giving up my dream.But I thank God,for using you to give me the strength to hold on,to my belief.Thank U.

  • Hello! Greetings from Philippines.

    I have this problem going on. I don’t know if I call this a problem but this bothered me always. My office mates who are very close to me are resigning, and it makes me feel sad to see them go. They are the ones whom I can be myself with and who also help me in times of difficulties. When I think about them, it just makes me feel like I want also to resign but I was hired just last year and I need to have more experience…Is this feeling normal? :(

  • Marc and Angel- This was a good one for me today. I’m working a job that requires more physical work than my body can handle. I’ve never felt old or short and this job makes me feel both! I know I’m working here as the pathway to where I need to be-and I’m open to that awareness. Today’s post reminded me that I’m not crazy, it’s not hopeless and God’s purpose for me is beyond my own limited thoughts of today.
    Once again you two have touched my heart and mind, thank you.

  • Thank you for this wonderful post. I so often forget that I DO have something to offer the world…no matter how I am feeling in the current moment. I feel restored this morning after reading yet another of your wonderful articles. Thank you again.

  • Great post. I am with Andrea though. I am in a lose lose situation right now. I need physical help to get out of it, and have no one or no money to hire someone. I am disabled. I need to sell my house before I end up homeless, and after I sell my house and pay back my Mom for the upgrades needed to sell it, I will be homeless. I have a few more things to do to put it on the market, and because of my disability, I cannot do it myself, and do not have the money to hire someone. If I don’t get these things done, I won’t be able to sell the house at a price high enough to pay my mother back. So…where do I start. I don’t qualify for help from Habitat for Humanity. Local churches are too busy helping others, and I understand that. I can’t take out a loan to have someone help me clean walls and paint. I’m already in debt up to my ears. What do I do besides take a small step?

  • Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that maybe we need to go get a massage too, sometimes we need another person to help us, remove the old and bring in the new, sometimes we just need someone’s hand on our shoulder, sometimes we just need someone to say, “I understand”. Those things can take stress off our minds so quickly! We must also remember to do this for others, when we see them or know that they are stressed.

  • Great article, and so fitting for me. Especially about the giving up, and feeling down (I’m bipolar) and my ups & downs (or yoyo moods) seem so extreme at times.
    Sometimes it’s good to hold on a little longer, but ONLY a little longer. I held on once hoping and praying that the wrongs in my relationship would just go away, and things would get back to “normal”. They never did… and that’s all on me. After far too many lost years of hoping and holding on; until I was in such an endless abyss that there wasn’t even a pinpoint of light, I finally gave up on hoping for that miracle, and just blindly jumped into the void of life. Yes, it was difficult, it was terrifying in fact, but I made it. I survived the bad times, and hopefully came out stronger in so many ways.

    I still at times have intense regrets that it took me so long to admit to failure (on both our parts), and can’t help but wonder “what if” about so many things during that void of time. Had I been wise I’d have just walked away long before I finally did, but so many can claim that as well, I’m sure. That hind-sight can really come back and bite a person, sometimes again and again. The biggest problem I’ve had with the hind-sight terrors is when I tend to dwell on those “what if’s” too much. None of us can live in the past, none of us can really escape those memories. All we can do is learn from them, and keep looking forward. It’s hard to look forward, to have hopes and believe in dreams when we’re focusing too much on the might have beens. But it is possible. Long ago I read an inspirational article (not sure who wrote it) that said “Each morning when you wake up, think of 3 things in your life that you are grateful for. And each night think of 3 things that you did, and/or 3 things you are grateful for. That has really helped me grow in so many ways.

    The main thing is to always believe in yourself, and at times you may have to give yourself a kick in the backside. Always have faith in your beliefs, your skills, your value and your dreams. Buddha said ” There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth. NOT going all the way and NOT starting.” Whether it be truth, or any other element of your life, Buddha was so right.

  • Thank you Marc for such a wonderful message! Today started with a bad flare up of a chronic autoimmune condition and it seemed almost unbearable to get out of bed. Living with this condition has brought so many negative changes that trigger the cycle of feeling depressed and alone. After reading your post, especially point #3, it motivated me to get out of bed and stop the “poor me” cycle to move onto having a more productive day. Thank you for the insights and generous sharing of wisdom.

  • MARY: I too am disabled, and find it hard to ask for, or find help. But there are organisations, agencies and people that can help you. Sometimes it takes a while, but don’t give up hope.
    Small steps are just that STEPS! It’s like the Buddha quote I posted here just a bit ago. (Paraphrasing: Not starting is a mistake), at least you’re doing what you can, no matter how small an effort it seems to be to you.
    I hope you can find the help you need. And in the meanwhile, please keep on believing in yourself.

  • “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.”

    This is what struck me most about this post. It took me a long time to realize that stressful experiences were so stressful because of that helpless feeling it gave me. Thanks for clarifying a solution by finding a way to relax to maintain sanity. Very helpful!!

  • 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.

  • Each day I read your messages as part of my morning routine. I do this before I make one phone call, step outside, or read any other mail or blogs. Just doing that helps me to start my day on a positive note. I especially like this one because I have
    often felt overwhelmed with life’s very bumpy road. Thank you for your suggestions and wisdom.

  • Another great post and it fostered some great commentary. For those disabled folks, keep asking about charities, organizations, volunteer groups, etc. They are out there.

    I like the “raw form” anaology. Michaelangelo was asked was the statue of David in the Marble, or did he make the David out of the Marble. He replied “Neither, I took away everything from the marble that was not David.” Oddly, he had passed that massive piece of marble every day for 3 years before he finally “noticed” it. I wonder how much I am walking by everyday, never seeing the potential behind the work.

    I have never truly loved myself, nor will I probably ever truly believe in myself despite of my “accomplishments.” But a good friend reminded me that my son is watching my every move, and I have to at least try to be these or appear to be these things, or he learns a bad pattern. So I will fake until I make it, that is my small step.

  • Each day begins with reading your messages. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Sincerely, Christine

  • I am in the middle of a storm created by my husbands Midlife crisis. It feels so out of my hands.
    I focus on myself each day. I work in my gardens and try to be thankful for the littlest of things. baby steps! Thank you for this post.

  • Great!

  • Geez, I NEEDED to read this post and all the comments thereafter. I have been feeling so weighed down and down trodden.

    I have been a caregiver for my mother who I love dearly and who is one of my best friends. She is in Stage IV heart failure (last stage, I hate this term) and has been given “maybe a year” to live. This has devstated me beyond beliefe. I just lost my dog last year who I had for nearly 18 years, and yes, I was grateful for those years! Losing him nearly killed me. Now my dear mother.

    I am also launching a business with my fiance and I’m doing most of the administrative work. It’s not his fault that this is so. He’s a work horse - but he will be doing the actual “work” for the company. I’m doing the paperwork and we are preparing for a presentation tomorrow morning - live in front of many people. I’m so tired and worried about my mother and for being up all night to check on her my spirit was just sagging. I also work full time job as well.

    I read this post and it seemed like a message from the angels. Thank you, I needed this. I am eternally grateful for what I have, I just need a break!! I’m glad I’m not crazy, and just stressed. My boss at my current job also doesn’t care that I need time off with my mother either. That was hard to swallow since I have always respected him.

    I guess we just have to make the most of each day and not let other people’s energy/belieft affect us adversely. I love this blog, it keeps me going - it’s so positive that without finding this by “accident” (are there any?) I’d probably be somewhere in a grassy meadow based institution with a thorazine drip in my arm.

    Thanks Marc and Angel!

  • I needed this reminder today! Thanks.

  • Your post asked what ways each of us use to break through these moments of self-doubt/self-defeat, and it seems like the ideas from everyone are very similar. I probably subscribe to much the same, all stemming from the most stressful time of my life when my husband/high school love/soul-mate (yikes, mushy but true) was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer. He was only ill for 6 months before he died, and I was thankful it was short; he was living a hell no one should, and I was doing my best to get through it all with him. The experience convinced me I am superwoman with the strength/brains/ability to do ANYTHING I WANT TO DO. But, I forget these things, too. It seems that the little things can really get to me when the big things are raining down on me, like not finding a job after 17 months of looking! So, as I always tell myself, take one step at a time. Here are some steps:

    1) Decide it is time to make a list of steps you can take. To make the list, start from what is, not from what is not, in very concrete terms.
    2) Find the right friend to help you through the time, then through the list. This should be a great friend whose only care is your happiness; it may be a family member. But remember, give and take, and don’t do all the taking.
    3) Report back about the success or actions you have taken on the list. To do this, break down each item and see if there are baby steps with that item. Keep breaking it down to manageable sized steps.
    4) Celebrate the steps being accomplished - even if the celebration is crossing the item off the list!
    5) Work hard on the list 4 1/2 days a week, Monday - Friday at 12, say, and then give yourself “me” time. During that time, do something that makes you feel terrific. I garden, even though it is necessary as well as relaxing for me. I love to fish, and since I had to sell our vacation home in the mountains in 2012 when I was laid off I haven’t gone fishing. My list includes finding a place near me to fish, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.

    I believe it is impossible to NOT succeed if one puts these things into action, with sincerity and effort. It doesn’t mean right away necessarily, but no one can work this hard at something and not make things happen. But here is another list to keep in mind:
    1) What you start as a goal may shift over the time during your efforts to get there. BE OPEN to the shifts, as they may be more important than the original goal.
    2) Go outside of yourself, as scary as it may be, to make it happen. Example: if you read an article about something or someone that seems to fit what you are trying to do, find out how to contact that person mentioned, or that organization, and as to meet to talk about it. This can be another item on the other list, a small step to get there. The important thing is to say I CAN, by making the effort to contact.

    For Andrea, Mary, and Bridget:
    I know, easier said than done. But explore every and any opportunity of help. There are numerous unadvertised efforts in play to help people keep their home.
    1) In California there is a movement for unemployed called Keep Your Home California. They may know of a similar effort for disabled in the same economic predicament.
    2) Go online to the city website where you live and see if there is anything offered there.
    3) Clubs like Rotary and Kiwanis are often looking for hands-on project to help people in need. Although they usually like to help a larger number than 1, they may see this as a chance to create a city-wide project for you as well as others in your same situation.
    4) Put a free ad on a city web posting for help in exchange for something you can do. You probably have talents you forget others’ don’t have, so think deep and offer the help in exchange for what you need.

    Just a start, and I am sure other people here have other ideas. But the first step is taking a step. Take it.

  • This article hits home today I’ve been in burn-out mode for the last 3 months.

    I’ve realized that my body, health and mind needs complete rest.Work and studies as always is taking it’s toll so a few days to escape from the chaos is on the cards for July.

    My faith and spiritual connection is key to my survival without it I’m an empty vessel and feel completely lost. Quite time in the word, prayer with praise and worship music each day/night uplifts my soul. I’m also thankful to be blessed with loving, supportive and praying friends.

  • Great post. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt my life was too much of a struggle, only to find that I’m really happy only a few months after being in the pit of despair. At the time all you can think of is how awful everything is, but it really does get better.

  • Thanks for this post. It was something I really needed to read right now.
    Here’s to making it another day!

  • Joann Henderson
    June 24th, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Today i felt like giving up on my dreams. I seems as though i take one step forward and something knocks me back to square one. I want to succeed at something. Seems like everything and everyone is against me, thanks for the email today.

  • Thank you for a great post. I love all of your posts. Today I called the Hospice Crisis Hot Line for the second time in a week. My beloved Mom passed away two years ago June 20th after a very long painful battle with pancreatic cancer, I never left her side. The same week my mom died my house sold in another state while I was in Hawaii caring for her, and my step father. My husband and I were separated, while this was going on and I ended up staying in Hawaii for two years cleaning up 40 years of an unfinished life, while continuing to take care of our family business from a distance. My husband moved us cross country to California from Florida while I was still cleaning up the aftermath of my mothers life. More than half of my possessions got stolen during the move and our truck blew up.

    I ended up falling in Love with an old friend in my home town while I was in such a weakened state. Five months ago I finally got on a plane and came home to live in a rented room of a crazy woman’s home after living in my own 3000sq foot house all of what was left of my positions packed in box’s. My husband has been hired and quit 8 jobs since he moved to Ca. Much of my life savings was spent to support him while I was still helping my step father. I am still in Love with my friend and he is now making an ultimatum.

    Needless to say I am at the end of my rope, I am paralyzed to move and can barely function. The death of my Mom is finally sinking in and I no longer can see the point to life. I considered ending it and spent a day staring at my husbands loaded gun just wanting the pain of loss to stop, this is when I reached out to the crisis hot line. I am 53 and all who know me consider me one of the strongest people they know always lending a helping hand and money when people need it. I have helped so many in my life and oddly when I just need a shoulder to cry on suddenly no one was around. I am a Mystic in training and practice a Mystics Path each and every day. I have lost all but three people that I love in this life. I have never had many friends. I have lost all of my pets and my Mom who was the love of my life. I have read about Joy I can count on one hand how many times in my life that I have actually experienced it. Today I choose to live another day even though I can hardly stand being in my own body because of the pain I am experiencing.

    Thank you so much for the post today. All I can say to anyone reading this is…reach out when you can to someone who is hurting you never know you might save their life. Peace and Love and Gratitude, just for today.

  • Being stressed out can sometimes feel like you are “going crazy.” One thing life has taught me is that difficult times usually pass. I try and make sure I come out of difficult times having learned something. It just make you better at dealing with difficulty in general.
    -John

  • Thank you so much for that post, it was just what I needed. Whenever I feel like I’m losing control/confidence, your posts always strengthen me and come right at the perfect time. Thank you for everything you guys do!

  • Marc, thanks a lot for these tips and your wisdom!!! It made a huge impact in my life!!!

  • Thankyou for the words , being older then most it takes me longer to bounce back. Each year a little longer. When happiness fades we search for more.
    Maybe the answer is somewhere between our stars
    and ourselves…

    Never stop searching…

  • Great post. When I have those feelings it’s usually an indication that I need to slow down. Slow down your breathing, your mind, your activities and your emotions. Busy is a great escape from experiencing the emotion. When you slow down (and you really can, the world won’t stop, I promise) and take time to think, feel and reflect, those negative thoughts take a back seat to the reality that you are doing the best you can in this moment.

  • Thanks so much for this great reminder. You’ve helped me realize that I am probably not going crazy, but I should try to reduce my stress.

  • I think what helps me the most is remembering that situations and emotions are temporary. While it may be or may feel like this is the worst moment of your life, the world keeps moving and so do we. Eventually hurt will dissipate. Its important to embrace your current emotional state and allow yourself to feel your emotions, then your body and mind will allow you to move on. If you constantly ignore what your body is telling you, you are making things worse for yourself. It is our successes and failures that shape us; its our happiness and our pain that shapes us. Every experience is a learning experience. I just try to remember that even being hurt means I’m connected to something. And I’d rather experience that than be withdrawn.

  • Great post! We so often get ATTACHED to our view of the way things SHOULD be, that when they don’t go that way (which they so often don’t) it takes great fortitude to redirect our thoughts, beliefs and visions. I find so many things in the Buddhist philosophy and in Taoist beliefs that deal with this so effectively for me. It is all about letting go and flowing with the nature of things and not offering resistance (which is NOT the same as giving up, but rather doing what you can and letting nature take it’s course). So much human suffering could be alleviated simply with an open mind and heart—acceptance.

    ~jw

  • Great post. I had shoulder surgery 4 months ago and am trying to keep up an exercise regimen even though I have quite a bit of pain in the shoulder. Your post gives me inspiration, motivation and hope. One of my mantras is: “The pain you suffer today becomes the strength you have tomorrow.” Again, thanks for this post. I read them all. Your site is one of the Internet’s high points.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Marc, besides for the air at dawn, You are the inspiration that keeps this community believing it is possible to hold on.

    I just came across this great video.

  • 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…

  • @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.

  • #1 is completely true. Pain is temporary! Pain is weakness leaving the body!

  • Carolynn Varner
    June 27th, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I think this is very informative and helpful advice.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • “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.

  • 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.

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