“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.”
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.
- 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.
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