I have been discouraged and defeated many times in my life. I have had life deliver blows that have literally knocked me to the ground. The feelings of hopelessness and despair have consumed my life for many months. I wondered if I would ever survive these catastrophic events or if I would ever live a life where I felt happy and safe.
The good news is that slowly over time, my life got better and I got stronger. When I look back on my life I now realize that these “bad life events”, though painful at the time, were the catalysts for me to change my life.
“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under” – Charles Swindoll
The only way for us to live our lives to the fullest is to learn how to persevere and deal with the challenges that life throws at us. I like to call these challenges “the curveballs of life”. Surviving these curveballs and perservering through adversity, pain, the feelings of hopelessness and despair are part of the journey for us to learn about whom we are. There is no other way to learn how to be resilient, courageous, hopeful and optimisitc about life and our future.
Everyone feels discouraged and defeated at some point of on his or her life journey. Some of us find ourselves at this place of despair and we do not know what to do and so we stop growing and thriving in life. We end up living our lives through regret, fear, pain, disillusionment and sadness This is not how we are meant to live our lives.
When you are feeling discouraged and despair and life seems so tough, don’t give up. Use these 7 strategies to help you grow your courage and build your resilience so that you can step up, face the curveballs and embrace the joy of living a life you love.
1. Accept and Anticipate Change on a Daily Basis
In today’s world of constant change, it is hard to hold on to who you are and manage the complexity and unpredictability of life. The one constant thing in our lives today – is change.
Instead of fighting the inevitability of change, learn how to accept it. Embrace change and know that by doing this, your life can only get better. Resisting change will fuel the negative energy that keeps you feeling broken and discouraged about life.
There is no way you can live your life to the fullest without experiencing change. Never stop learning about you, how you interact with others and the world that surrounds you.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” – Stephen Hawking
Learn how to be agile in your thinking. Ask lots of questions and look for solutions, don’t just focus on the problem that you are facing. It is a lot harder to solve a problem when you are immersed within the problem itself.
Become a solution seeker because as the Dhali Larma said:
“If a problem can be solved it will be. If it cannot be solved there is no use worrying about it.”
2. Use Your Power of Choice to Liberate You, Not Imprison You
The only thing you have total control over is your power of choice. No one else can take that away from you.
“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain …. To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life and not to deny my humanity but embrace it” – Kevyn Aucion
When life gets tough and you don’t know what to do next, you still have the power to choose. It is the choices that you make that determines how you react to the tough times in life you are facing. You can choose to do nothing, hide away, allow yourself to be distracted from the issue you need to face, or you can choose to take action and face your problem.
In my experience, the easiest option is to choose to do nothing but it always comes back and bites you big time – in the words of psychologist Carl Jung “what you resist will persist”. Choose to make choices that will enable you to move forward not backwards or around in circles going nowhere.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. A person who chooses to be a solution seeker is a resilient person who is self-aware and will actively seek support, advice and encouragement from other when times are tough.
Solution seekers value the input of others because it is their wisdom and positive energy that helps solution seekers overcome adversity and keep moving forward in life.
Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!
4. Be Positive and Laugh Lots
For me, this is my secret weapon that helps me to keep going when life gets tough. Having a positive attitude enables us to use our power of choice wisely. It also means that we are hopeful and optimistic about finding a solution or working through the challenges we are facing.
A positive attitude opens up your mind to explore possibilities whereas a pessimistic attitude closes your mind down and encourages you to withdraw yourself from finding your way through the challenges you are facing. With a pessimistic attitude, there is no growth and no learning – there is stagnation in life. A positive attitude is all about learning, growing and thriving in life.
When facing tough times in my life, I will choose to maintain a positive attitude because I know I will end up being stronger, more resilient and more courageous.
Laughter is life’s best way to thrive and flourish in life. To get through the tough times in life, surround yourself with people who make you laugh and like laughing with you. Laughter is contagious and you will soon find that when you are laughing lots you are feeling more alive and hopeful about your future.
5. Embrace the Unpredictability of Life, Don’t Run from Life
Life is a strange and amazing journey, many painful experiences and lots of beauty and joy. Running away from the challenges life presents to us is not the answer to dealing with life. When you run away, the only place you go is nowhere. The pain, the discomfort and challenges of life will follow you wherever you go.
It is okay to fall apart, make mistakes, fail, be disappointed and regretful but you can only stay in this not so great place for a short time.
Resilient people expect to fail and be disappointed. They know that to be strong, one has to overcome the adversity and challenges they face in life. Courageous people choose to “bounce forward” in life and to keep going toward living a happy fulfilled life. There is no other option for resilient people.
Commit to becoming that courageous resilient person you were born to be.
6. Remember to Focus on the Things in Your Life That Bring You Joy
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain” – Joseph Campbell
When you are feeling despair, frustrated and hopeless, it is easy to forget the good things in your life. If you allow yourself to be consumed by negativity, you will start to believe that there is nothing good in your life. Before you know it, that will become your reality.
If you are having these thoughts, stop immediately and write a list of all the good things that you have experienced and all the things that have brought you joy. The more you focus on the good in your life, the more hopeful you will become.
Showing appreciation to others and expressing gratitude are two actions that will bring joy back into your life. The people who support you and love you are your treasure chest. The more you show appreciation and express gratitude to others (even strangers), the more joyous your life will be.
These two actions are very simple to do and if you repeat on a continuous basis, your life will change – for the better.
7. Don’t Let the Past Rule Your Present Life
Your past is your opportunity to learn the lessons you need to deal with your present life. However, if you don’t let go of your regrets in life and make peace with your past, it is very hard to move forward in your life.
Look for opportunities for self-discovery and learn how to trust and believe in you. When you are facing tough times in your life, ask yourself this question:
“What is the one thing I can do right now to take me one step closer to moving forward?”
All you have to remember is to take one step forward and keep repeating that one step. You will soon discover that you closer to finding a solution.
Don’t let all your past mistakes and fears cloud your judgement and diminish your courage. You are not defined by what happened in your past you are who you choose to be now and in the future. Become the courageous empowered resilient person you were born to be.
It is understandable that when you are facing the tough times in life, you can become overwhelmed and lost. It is very hard to be hopeful and optimistic about your future when you are consumed by pain and frustration about your life.
However memorize this quote from Abraham Lincolns:
“The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time.”
And use the 7 strategies when facing the tough times in your life and I guarantee you will survive and thrive through the toughest times of your life.
More Resources About Motivation and Positivity
Featured photo credit: Jared Erondu via unsplash.com