January 30, 2014

Therapy Thursday: How to Deal With Life's Hardships

When was the last time you went through a rough patch in life? Maybe you are going through one right now. Maybe you recently lost your job, or you're dealing with a death in your family. Or maybe you are starting to think nothing good will ever happen to you again. Whatever you're dealing with, I want you to know that you're not alone and something good can come from the tough spot you're in right now. Inknow after I have gone through a really hard time, I've looked back and thought that I wouldn't be half the person I am now had I not gone through those hard times. Haven't many of us experienced this? Don't we wish we could just grow in good times?  Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, someone they need, or something they thought was meant to be.  But it is these losses that make us stronger and move us toward future  growth and happiness causing opportunities. I've learned quite a few lessons about dealing with hard times on my journey through life. Maybe they can help you get through a rough patch. 

First things first: Your past does not define you– No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate. You are not your past habits or failures. You are not how others have at one time treated you. You are only who you think you are right now in this moment. You are only what you do right now in this moment.

Second: A natural Part of growing is having to deal with your problems- part of living and growing up is experiencing unexpected troubles in life.  People lose jobs, get sick, and sometimes die in car accidents.  When you are younger, and things are going pretty well, this harsh reality can be hard to visualize.  The smartest, and oftentimes hardest, thing we can do in these kinds of situations is to be tempered in our reactions.  To want want to scream bloody murder and throw things or worse, cause harm to something or someone.  Keep in mind that emotional rage only makes matters worse.  And to remember that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to grow stronger.

Third: Life is short- There may not be a tomorrow – not for everyone.  Right now, someone on Earth is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today.  This is sad but true.  So spend your time wisely today and pause long enough to appreciate it.  Every moment you get is a gift.  Don’t waste time by dwelling on unhappy things.  Spend it on things that move you in the direction you want to go. 

Fourth: Don’t unnessicarily inflate your problems – You should never let one dark cloud fill the whole sky.  The sun is always shining on some part of your life.  Sometimes you just have to forget how you feel, remember what you deserve, and keep pushing forward.

Fifth: Life is full of lessons: Learn from your hardships and failures because everything that happens in life is a lesson- Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc.  They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’  Never forget to acknowledge that especially when things aren't going your way.  If you don’t get a job that you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting.  And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.

Sixth: View every challenge as a learning experience– Ask yourself:  “What is this situation meant to teach me?”  Every situation in our lives has a lesson to teach us.  Some of these lessons help us become stronger, communicate more clearly, trust your instincts, express your love, forgive, know when to let go, and to try something new.

Seventh: Things change, but we always have tomorrow– The bad news: nothing is permanent. The good news: nothing is permanent.

Eigth: Don’t let others make decide for you-Sometimes you just have to live not caring what others think of you, shake off the drama, and prove to YOURSELF that you’re better than they think you are.

Ninth: It’s better to be hurt by the truth, than comforted by a lie. – You must see things how they are instead of how you hoped, wished, or expected them to be.  It’s always better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.

TenthMistakes don't have to be bad-We’ve all made mistakes.  We’ve let people take advantage of us, and we’ve accepted way less than we deserve.  But if you think about it, we’ve learned a lot from our bad choices, and even though there are some things we can never recover and people who will never be sorry, we now know better for next time.  We now have more power to shape our future.  Remember, failure is not falling down; failure is staying down when you have the choice to get back up.  Get back up!  Oftentimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.

Eleventh: You always have a choice. – No matter what, there are always at least two options.  If you can’t physically change something, you can change the way you think about it.  You can sit in the dark, or you can find your inner light and discover powerful pieces of yourself you never knew existed.  You can view a crisis as an invitation to learn something new, viewing the shake-up in your outer world as an enlightening opportunity to wake-up your inner world.

Twelvth: The end is a new beginning. – Say to yourself: “Dear Past, thank you for all the life lessons you have taught me.  Dear Future, I am ready now!”  Because a great beginning always occurs at the point you thought would be the end of everything.

Thirteenth: Music makes everything better- Music is a splendid thing. It has the power to take hold of you. It's amazing how one song can evoke different emotions for different people. It can make you happy, sad, aggravated, or even angry.  Music is a form of therapy and can be used as a treatment for feelings that ail you.  Try setting aside a specific amount of time each day for feeling low while you’re waiting for the dark clouds to lift. Next time you get the blues think about making a soundtrack for your sadness session to help you cope with whatever you are going through. Feel sad and have a good cry. After you let it all out get on with your day. 

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