Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Have you ever just sat on the bed and curled up in misery and disappointment over the apparent hopelessness of a situation? Perhaps it's a relationship that isn't going as well as it once was, your dream business venture failing to come to fruition as quickly as you'd expected, the boss getting you down, or once again you've fallen off the diet wagon.
Truth be told, at some point most of us have felt pretty rubbish about something in our lives and ready to just give up.
When this happens and frustration sets in, it can be hard to imagine seeing our goals through to the next hour, let alone days or the weeks ahead. I can't tell you how many times I've sat in the bathroom and ugly cried because it seems nothing is going my way or as planned. I've tried to fathom why certain events are happening, or as often the case why they are not happening. I've read every self-help book going (most recently: The Woman Code by Sophia A.Nelson) to the point where it has become a long-standing joke with friends and family, and yes, I too have checked out 'The Secret' on Netflix and have frequently come to the conclusion that the universe has indeed singled out my poor little self and is once again conspiring against me! Yep, ladies, we've all done it!
People can, if they must, laugh or pour scorn on me but truthfully each and every one of those things I've tried has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking by pushing me to re-evaluate, teaching me something and in some way helping me through an imagined or real crisis.
So you may ask, what qualifies me to write a blog post offering you my advice? Well, some might say it's because by now I ought to have been given an honorary doctorate for my specialist knowledge of self-help manuals, although I prefer to believe it's because I seem to have made a habit of surviving set-backs and getting back up reasonably intact to see another day. 6 Things To Remember is a summary of what I've learnt along my way, and I hope that like me, these things can help you too.
This despair will not and cannot last forever.
Repeat: It cannot last forever. Time may be infinite but very few feelings are, and I promise ( I don't want to scare you here, but...) if you give up on anything in the heat of the moment, those negative emotions that will inevitably arrive in the fallout when all your initial despair has subsided, may be a lot worse and last longer than anything you are going through now.
So please, when you are on the verge of throwing the towel in, take a little detour. Press pause...go for a walk, if you are lucky enough to live in the countryside then get your flats on, pack a drink and lunch then go and surround yourself by Mother Nature. This will give you time to breathe.
''I live in the city'' I hear you say.
Then be a tourist! I recently did this when things were getting me down. I went for a walk and decided to re-discover places I
hadn’t visited for years, you’d be surprised how therapeutic just getting out of the house or the office and changing your immediate environment can be. Don't feel like going out? Then try to meditate, or if that's not your thing blast it out of your system with a dance around your favourite room and don't forget to tell Alexa to crank the music up! Alternatively, put on your PJ's and give yourself some switch off time while zoning out with a box-set (my personal favourite). The important thing is, whatever way you choose to manage those blues, do not let your gut reaction to today's events dictate your tomorrow. You, all your efforts and your future-self deserve better than that.
Don't take everything personally.
I like to believe that most people are not against you, which doesn't mean they are actually for you, it just means they are too busy with their own hustle to be thinking about yours. Selfish?... Yes, maybe. Harsh?...Definitely, but it is what it is, and we're all a little self-centred at times. Sometimes the very people we expect to support us when we are down are also going through it. Lack of finances, priorities, and busy lifestyles, these are often factors that are beyond our control. So with me, repeat: Do not take it personally. People might love you, dislike you, or be indifferent to you, the point is you can't control the thoughts and actions of others so drop the angst! You do not need that negativity in your life. Oh come on... ''If only it was that easy..... it is really personal!'' I hear you cry! Of course, let's be honest here, there are the rare times when everything feels extremely personal, and yes it can hurt badly, and you, like everyone else will need to stop festering, wipe those tears and at some point, process and act on it.
How? Well, when this moment comes you need to ask yourself the following question: Is it a pattern? By which I mean, does this person or group in your inner circle repeatedly disappoint, judge, undermine or fail to show interest when something means a lot to you? When members of your circle repeatedly throw negative on your dreams then it can have a devastating impact on our confidence and when this happens it is definitely time to take action. You need to face some serious facts by probing deeper and asking yourself more questions: What value does that person have in my life? What role do they play in making my life better? Ok, hold up, I know this can sound a little mercenary, after all you say, a good and healthy relationship is about sharing the ups and downs. Yes, exactly...that is correct, 'sharing' is the key word. When people really care, they don't repeatedly hurt you. Whatever they are going through they will find time to say a kind word and will never discourage you from reaching your dreams. The realisation and acceptance that people you support and champion won't do the same for you is the toughest and most painful step of this learning process.
Once you acknowledge and accept this truth, with no ill will in your heart it may be time to cut those in question loose and send them on their way. This part is all about you learning to understand that their behaviour is a reflection of them ( repeat: Do not take it personally) and not your ability to achieve your goals or about you as a person. Tell yourself this repeatedly as it is a way of training yourself to protect your boundaries as well as your emotional health and well being.
Find a role-model.
There are positive role models all around us, and finding yours can be the best way you'll ever have when looking for guidance on your path to building that which you crave. Whether it be ways to manage your work/life balance, as a guide to overcoming obstacles in your career, spiritual guidance or even learning a new language, finding your very own role model is invaluable.
So where should you find yours? Open your eyes and ears, these gems are sparkling everywhere. Our mothers, teachers, bosses, sometimes you won't even need to look outside your own neighbourhood.
I myself have two, the first is my mother Kathleen, whatever life has thrown at her in recent years, she remains one of the strongest women and above all the kindest woman I know. The second, I had to look further afield for this one and started reading...ok, confession time, I started listening to audio books (my busy lifestyle doesn't allow me the luxury of sitting still long enough to read as much as I would like, so I downloaded Audible.) Then in the car, in the house while working from home, I started searching for 'the one.' and so I found the autobiography: Becoming Michelle Obama. Ok forget her politics, maybe you love her maybe you don't, the jury may be out for you on that one, but personally speaking it's not what interests me. She is however, undeniably a powerful female role model and there is a lot in what she says that we as women can aspire to (I'm not doing a book review here so you'll have to trust me on that one.)
Your role-model can be anyone who inspires you, the benefits of looking up to someone means not only do you have something to aspire to, it helps you to realise that whatever your dream, whatever your background, it is attainable.
Do not wallow in self-pity (For I too have wallowed.)
Ok, I'm just going to put it out there: Self-pity can become addictive, it's comfortable and just because you feel your life is dire doesn't actually mean it is. All sounds a bit perverse doesn't it? After all who on earth likes being miserable? Well, you'd be surprised, let me elaborate. When we have a run of bad luck, there's a danger that rather than take another risk we sit back and accept our lot. In order to protect ourselves from further let downs we stop trying. Although this may make us feel less vulnerable and thereby more secure in ourselves it can also be a form of self-sabotage. How often have you heard someone say, I've given up on relationships? I'm too old, or too set in my ways to change my job now or do that course I fancy.
This is a form of fatalism, by seeing the outcome as a foregone conclusion you are giving up control of your life. Doing this is like signing a disclaimer, ''I was born but whatever happens from now on in is not my responsibility.' Well, because at some point in the future we‘ll all have those moments when we take stock of our lives wouldn't it be preferable to have tried to have an active say in yours?
Then there are those times that are different.
Grief, relationship disasters, financial problems, at some time we all experience at least one of these. Sometimes being strong and picking yourself up is not in your hands. Grief and moments of profound sadness and loss have the ability to completely rearrange our belief systems.
"...if you have ever lost anyone in your life you too will know that grief changes your beliefs and values....An existential cloud sets in and soon you are looking at people around you, judging them. They keep striving for fitness goals, work priorities, planning parties and events, buying new clothes, houses and cars. And you? You suddenly feel that all of those things mean nothing in this fragile life we live.'' Charli Wall October, 2016.
How long you choose to mourn is entirely personal, never allow anyone to judge you for this, some of us grieve the loss of a loved one or a relationship for a life time, in which case take time out to put your pieces back together, and with love in your heart seek help to manage your new reality. Having personally experienced and suffered terribly from grief, I know that it can't always be faced alone. (Grief is a complex emotion and one that requires more than a side post in this blog, so listed below are links that you may find helpful in your journey to healing.)
Get a reality check.
I am my harshest critic and at times my nearest and dearest have had to sit me down and deliver some tough love. By this I mean that on occasion I have needed to be reminded that life for most of us is not a movie script. Ask anyone who has experienced any degree of success in their chosen field 'how did you do it?' Well unless they were born into it, most of them will give you the same answer, "blood, sweat and tears." Athletes train for months before marathons, arriving home night after night, exhausted, feet ruined, often tearful and promising never to go out there again, but the successful ones do. As a former teacher I can tell you that the most brilliant language learners I have ever taught are those who were not afraid or embarrassed to make mistakes, no matter how frustrating or how long it took to get it right!
Expecting instant results is an unreal expectation. Who didn't love that moment at the 2019 Oscars when Lady Ga Ga stood up and told us "I have worked hard for a long time, and it's not about.....you know.....it's not about winning, but what it's about is not giving up. If you have a dream, fight for it." Well, she made that speech when She believed she'd finally really made it. In my eyes she was a success years ago... see again, it's all relative. The point is, as long as you are moving, you are growing. Whatever journey you are on, the important thing is to keep on it. Sometimes you may take a diversion, half way there you might find you should have taken another route, that is all part of the learning process that will guide you to the correct path.
Whoever you are, wherever you are today, the important thing is you must believe in yourself and do keep going.
*Please note, this post is based entirely on the writer's own experience and intended to support and motivate those who have found themselves in a similar position.
If however, you are experiencing pro-longed periods of hopelessness, sadness or suspect you have depression or are receiving treatment for any form of depression, please speak to a professional.
If you wish to reach out, listed below are contacts that may be useful for you to know:
Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org Call Free:116 123
Charli Wall: https://www.iamcharliwall.com
With Thanks: Photographer: Yutinip. Model: Ayatita.