Our character is often most evident in our highs and lows. Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.
Why are we feeling this way – so beaten up and worn down?
Why do we, who start out so passionate, courageous, worthy and believing, become utterly bankrupt by the youthful age of 30, 40 or 50?
Why is it that one of us drowns in material consumption and debt, another puts a bullet in his head, a third seeks oblivion in hard liquor and gambling, a fourth, in order to stifle fear and judgment, cynically tramples and berates her own individuality, intelligence, and pure, beautiful youth?
Why is it that, once fallen, we don’t attempt to rise back up, and, having lost one thing, we don’t attempt to seek another?
Because we give up on ourselves too soon. We let that monster named negativity chew us up and spit us out into a deep gutter of self-doubt.
If you can relate in any way at all, here are some important reminders to keep in mind…
- When your marriage, parenting, faith, etc. gets tough, it’s not a sign that you’re doing it wrong. These intimate, intricate aspects of life are toughest when you’re doing them right – when you’re dedicating time, having the tough conversations, and making daily sacrifices.
- On particularly hard days when you feel that you can’t endure, remind yourself that your track record for getting through hard days is 100% so far.
- Have a little faith that the universe has a plan for you, and it’s all being revealed in the right time frame. Something you will eventually learn through all your ups and downs is that there are really no wrong decisions in life, just choices that will take your life down different paths. Sometimes you must get hurt in order to grow, or lose in order to gain. Sometimes the lesson you need most can only be learned through a little pain.
- Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
- Life is not about maintaining the status quo. Life is not about playing it safe every second. Life is not about standing still and wallowing in self-doubt. It’s about connecting with your soul, respecting your integrity, and telling yourself that you’re able. It’s about taking a few steps, regardless of how hard and small they may be, so you can move forward and evolve. (Read Daring Greatly.)
- You must make a firm decision that you’re going to move forward. It won’t always happen naturally or automatically. Sometimes you will have to rise up and say, “I don’t care how hard this is. I don’t care how disappointed I am. I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
- No matter what’s happening, you CAN efficiently fight the battles of today. It’s only when you add the battles of those two relentless eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly complicated. Realize that it’s not the experience of today by itself that devastates you, but the regret and resentment about something that happened yesterday or the fear and dread of what tomorrow might bring. It’s necessary, therefore, to let yourself live just one day at a time – just today – just right here, right now.
- When you stop worrying about what you can’t control, you have time to change the things you can control. And that changes everything.
- Don’t worry about mistakes and failures, worry about what you’re giving up when you don’t even try.
- Making mistakes means you’re actually DOING something in the real world and learning from it. Listening or reading is often just listening or reading. It’s not real learning. Real learning comes from making mistakes. And mistakes come from gradual implementation.
- If you never go after it again, you’ll never have it. If you never ask again, the answer will always be no. If you never step forward again, you’re stuck right where you are.
- In the space between “I’ll try again” and “I give up” there’s a lifetime. It’s the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; it’s the gap between who you are capable of being and who you have become; its the legroom for the fairy tales you’ll tell yourself in the future about what could have been.
- Everyone has a little talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the dark places where it leads, and beyond. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Courage doesn’t always roar; sometimes it’s simply a whisper at the end of the day that says, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”
- If you’re still sitting there thinking, “Things should be different right now,” take a deep breath. That’s not true and you know it. Because if it were true, things would be different right now. Stay present and focus on what you can create today. And tomorrow will reveal itself exactly as it should, just as yesterday already has.
All details aside, if you’re reading this… Congratulations, you’re alive and in a good position to give yourself another chance. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.
Remember what you deserve and keep pushing forward. Someday all the pieces will come together. Unimaginably good things will transpire in your life, even if everything doesn’t turn out exactly the way you had anticipated. And you’ll look back at the times that have passed, smile, and ask yourself, “How did I get through all of that?”
Which reminder above resonated the most with you? What other empowering reminders help you push forward when you feel like giving up? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by: Lauryn Victoria