If there is one thing in life that is certain, it is that change is unavoidable.
We say, “this too shall pass” when we are facing an adversity, but that same saying applies when things are going well. When you feel like you are on top of the world, the next crisis is waiting for you around the corner.
All it takes is one bad day.
Maybe it’s a lost job or a catastrophic injury or illness. Maybe it’s the sudden loss of a loved one. Perhaps it’s a crisis of faith. No matter what is going wrong, you are never 100% helpless, even though it might feel that way in your worst moments.
One thing you can always do is take change your mindset. That’s what this list will help you do! Sometimes just changing perspective is enough to help you get back on your feet.
1. Shouting at the dark won’t make it light.
When things are going wrong, we sometimes feel like if we rail against the darkness enough, something will change. Either the darkness itself will take pity on us and change its nature or withdraw, or someone else will light our way.
Sometimes that does happen; occasionally someone will actually lend a hand. But there are going to be those terrible days when nobody is coming. On those days, shouting at the dark won’t change a thing. All you can do is get to work building a lamp.
2. You are less alone than you think.
While it’s true that worrying and raging will not make the problem go away, and sometimes you’ll have to find a solution yourself, you should never assume you are completely on your own. Help sometimes appears from the most unexpected sources. Sometimes if you start doing the work, or at least make the commitment, the universe meets you halfway.
While complaining will rarely get you any assistance, there is no reason you should not share your story with others. While a stiff upper lip may feel more dignified, it is often humility and not dignity that paves the path to redemption. Nobody can help you if they don’t know you need it. Share your situation with family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers.
You never know when someone will hand you something vital that you need to change your situation. It may be a tangible resource, or it could just be information or an idea—or simply a new point of view.
3. The past is in the past.
You would think the older you get, the easier it would be to handle bumps in the road, right? A lot of us discover the exact opposite, and that is because every single mishap suddenly sends us down flashback highway at full speed. We relive every bad thing that has ever happened to us, and immediately feel like it is all happening again.
The past is in the past; leave the past where it belongs. If lessons from the past can help you avoid repetition, use them. But do not assume that just because something bad is happening now, it means that you are “going back” to those horrible days you left behind. This is usually just an illusion.
4. You have overcome adversity before.
If you are really young, this might not apply to you, but after a while, you will start stacking up victories. When you find yourself flashing back to the scary times in your past, remind yourself of how those horrible times are in the past because you overcame them. Whether it was through hard work, a brilliant idea, or a helping hand you didn’t expect, you are here. It seemed impossible then, too!
Getting through your current challenge may seem impossible now, but if you did it before, you have a great shot at doing it again.
5. This too shall pass.
It’s true—nothing ever stays the same. There are some thresholds you can only cross in one direction, though. Not all sicknesses have cures, but thankfully many crises do not fall into this category. Even for those which do, some aspects of this kind of situation may pass.
Maybe no one can reverse your diagnosis, but perhaps you are on the verge of finding a treatment that lets you get back to living your life. Maybe you just lost your job and right now your applications are going unanswered—but tomorrow might just be the day that you get that long-awaited phone call.
6. Necessity is the mother of invention.
We’ve all heard, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” If you have taken a few knocks in life, you may not entirely agree. But necessity is the mother of invention, and odds are that at least some of the changes you have undergone through past challenges have given you something valuable.
Maybe it was a new job or a new friend, better people skills, or better money management skills. Sometimes adversity makes us stronger. Sometimes it also makes us smarter. Admittedly, not all changes we undergo are positive: adversity can make us anxious and gun-shy. It can instill self-doubt which can follow us over the years to come. But, there are positive changes to offset those negative ones, and holding fast to those will always help you out.
7. Other people do not always know best.
When you are in a crisis, everyone in the world is going to want to tell you what is happening and what you should do. Sometimes this advice is indispensable; sometimes, it can even save you from depression.
Not always, however; and not all people who are offering you their opinion have the best intentions! There are a lot of negative people out there. Misery loves company, and these people love to project their failures on you. Others may be rooting for your downfall.
If your gut tells you that someone does not have your best interests at heart, then dismiss their negativity and move forward. Listen to the people you know want you to make it, and believe you can do it. These individuals are the ones who will help you find your solutions.
8. A phoenix always burns up in flames before it is reborn.
Before you can be reborn as a smarter, stronger, happier person, sometimes you have to say goodbye to something first. There could be something better out there waiting for you. Maybe losing your job is the best thing in the world, and you just don’t know it yet—because your real career hasn’t yet begun. Maybe that injury that forced you to move back to your hometown for support will reconnect you with the people you love. Maybe the crisis of faith you are facing now will strengthen your belief.
Whatever the case may be, you cannot turn the page in the story of your life until you are ready to let go of the page you are on. Sometimes when we cling to those pages, life turns the page for us. We may not be ready for it, but you never know what the future has in store until you read on.
9. Record positive happenings
Recording positive happenings and your experience of coping with things helps you keep your spirits up and to see that you are headed in the right direction.
- Shift your focus from the painful to what you have here and now.
- You do the best you can – find your way to positive things and what you can do and enjoy.
As you begin to keep track of positive events, it is common for negative thoughts and feelings to be weakened – just by virtue of keeping these records. This happens because you give yourself permission to shift your focus from the things you can’t manage to the things that you can. That gives you more room for other thoughts, and the negative thoughts and feelings shift more into the background.
10. Dare to accept your pain
The most common trap is to choose to avoid the situation. Constantly shutting out the feelings you have over the long term could simply serve to reinforce the pain. It is therefore not good advice to just “pull yourself together.”
- Dare to accept your pain.
- Put what you’re feelings into words.
- It is important that whoever listens to the story acknowledges the other person’s experience.