9 Things to Stop Doing During Hard Times

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tumblr_lndax4RZJl1qczqexo1_500Life can be damn hard sometimes.  And sometimes it can be so hard that it makes getting on with your life practically impossible, and could potentially make things worse or make the rough patch last longer than you’d want it to.

I’ve written several times about the hard times I’ve had over the past couple years, especially since my redundancy back in April 2012.  And despite my best intentions or actions, things have continued to be something of a roller-coaster in my life and it’s been difficult to get past the problems to move forward to something more positive.

Although I’ve recently lost the job I’d finally found after being unemployed for a year (previous post) and I find myself back in the same situation I was in last year, I’ve been fairly calm and focused about moving forward and putting this behind me.

I haven’t been wallowing in self-pity or allowing myself to get depressed about the whole thing (surprisingly).  Instead I’ve been determined to find a job quickly to ensure other parts of my life don’t go downhill as well (long story that I can’t write about here..).

Awhile back I’d found an article over on Marc and Angel Hack Life, an amazing website/blog that shares inspirational advice and practical tips for life, about things NOT to do when you’re going through a rough patch (click the link at the bottom for the original article).

In the end, it’s all about finding a way to cope with the difficult stuff that come along in your life, and move yourself towards where you want your life to go.  Here are a few tips, and my interpretation of them.

1.  Be honest with yourself.

You know what they say, denial is not just a river in Eqypt (get it? ‘De-Nile’? OK, bad pun..).  Trying to ignore the situation or not facing the facts of what has happened and what brought you to that point will only make things worse.  You cannot hide from the truth as by lying to yourself, you’re only going to make things worse in the long run.

Be truthful with yourself.  Get your head out of the sand.  Be honest about how you got to where you are, what the cause of the situation is, and where you can go from it.  Learning from bad experiences or mistakes is what makes us stronger as we move forward in life.

life-can-get-hard

2.  Wishing the pain away.

To be fair, nobody truly wants to constantly feel like they’re in pain.  Well, unless you’re a masochist, but that’s an entirely different thing.

We all have painful moments in our lives, in a variety of different ways, but pain can be a good thing.  It at least reminds you that you’re still alive, that you’re still getting through the days and moving towards the future.  It reminds you that you care and have feelings, that you have a desire for something more in your life, or even the pain of knowing that instance of happiness you’re feeling at the moment cannot last forever.  There are endless possibilities ahead of you, you just need to reach for them.

3.  Holding onto the past.

be strongWe all do it without realising it – recounting some dramatic story from our past over and over again, sometimes even hypothesising that one specific incident is why our life has turned out the way it has.  We focus all our energies on recounting and re-examining something that happened possibly years prior, instead of focusing on the present and looking towards the future.

We all need to start letting go of our pasts as a way to move forward in life, because if we don’t, we may start missing out on opportunities that could be exactly what we’re waiting for.  It’s not an easy thing to do, but if you continue to re-enact behaviours from the past, then you’ll continue to have those incidents that bring you down.  Live in the NOW.

4.  Holding on to who you were before the storm.

Part of going through hard times is that it can change you, hopefully for the better.  Unfortunately, too many people are so focused on who they used to be or how a certain part of their life (like a job) formed a large portion of their own vision of themselves.

This isn’t healthy, and can ultimately lead to you feeling resentful that those parts of your life are over, or could make it even harder to move forward towards something equally terrific.  Or hopefully even better.

We need to be willing to see ourselves for who we are, broken pieces and all, and recall the good parts of ourselves to utilise them in the future.  Let go of who you used to be, good or bad, so you can become who you are right now.  Struggles are part of our lives, and fighting past them is what makes us grow as people.

5.  Over-thinking can make things worse.

just_a_bad_day_not_a_bad_lifeAs discussed in the post ‘7 Things Over-thinkers Do‘, when you over-think a problem, it can lead to needless worries or negative thinking that can easily spiral out of control.  Which could lead you further down, possibly into an unnecessary and preventable depression.

Instead it’s always better to approach change and hard situations with a positive attitude, while working towards a change for the better. We’ve all heard and said it a million times – if you don’t like something in your life, then change it.  And if you can’t change it, then change how you perceive or think about it.  Only you can choose to be happy or miserable in your life.

6.  Just SMILE dammit!

smile-123Too often when life is getting us down, we go stomping around with a grim look on our faces, even when trying to have some fun.  There’s no rule that if life is kicking your ass right now that you can’t smile or have a laugh once in awhile.

In fact, it can sometimes be much healthier to deal with life’s burdens with a sense of humour, and smile your way through all the bad times.  Once you’re through, you’ll feel better about it all, and perhaps it’ll give you a better perspective on the challenges thrown your way.

7.  Be your own drummer.

You know the cliché – what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.  And it’s actually true.  You must endure through the hard times to get to the good times, and by enduring those periods it’ll make the good times all the so much sweeter.  Try not to focus too much on where you are now, but instead look towards what may be in the future.

Basically don’t give up or give in to the troubles you’re going through at the moment, or thinking there’s no hope to change what already is.  Be willing to do things your way, try something completely different or unexpected, and be bold enough to live your life without any apologies or regrets.

And who gives a damn what anyone else may think – it’s your life, just go out and live it.

8.  Stop holding onto the present.

2723073_UKI145p8_cSometimes the feeling of not knowing where you’re going next can be constricting.  At some point, especially when you’re going through some bad times, you need to just let go of any preconceived ideas of where you think your life is going and let it take you where you need to go.

Letting go and allowing yourself to enjoy the feeling of freedom from where you were before can be difficult.  But it can be freeing and exhilarating to realise you don’t know what’s going to happen next, and that you can’t control some situations.  You just need to let them happen.

9.  Don’t get disheartened.

Just like over-thinking above, it’s quite easy to focus on the negative things occurring in your life, especially during a bad patch, and missing out on the positives around you.  When something negative comes into your life, don’t allow yourself to get disheartened, but instead choose to learn from it and use the experience as a way to work towards something better.

Choose to be positive about your life, about where your life is going, and look towards the new adventures that are awaiting you.  When you obsess over the negative stuff, it can seep into other parts of your life.  And when you focus on how shit your life is and how hard it’s going to be to improve in the future, it can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Smile, laugh, have fun with your friends or family, and just enjoy life for what it is – an adventure.

TRA297_BLOG_Article_Img_HabitB_v11-2This post was inspired by 9 Things to Stop Doing During Hard Times at Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Letting Go of the Past

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sometimes we just have to let goAlthough each of our pasts shape where our futures go, they say we shouldn’t hold onto the past as we go through life, as that would only stifle us and prevent us from living the lives we should be.  Not to mention being happy in our lives.

Our pasts should only be there to guide us as we learn from past failures and successes, and help us navigate the trials to come in our lives.

But what are you supposed to do if you can’t seem to give up the ghosts of your past?  If events that happened in the past are holding you back because you’re still angry, resentful or frustrated at how that affected your life?

That’s where I am at the moment, and have been for probably the last 2 years since I went through the redundancy that lead to my year long unemployment, and then lead me to accepting a lower paying position than I was used to just so I could have a job.

Looking back at the beginning of 2012 I was actually feeling pretty good about life.  For once.

Work was going well, and for the first time in as long as I could remember, I was actually enjoying what I was doing.  I was doing alright financially, slowly paying off my credit card after spending Christmas and New Years back in Canada, while still enjoying life and being able to put a bit of money aside every month.  I could afford to do pretty much whatever I wanted when I wanted, within reason.

And it was during a period where I hadn’t written a single post on this blog in over a year despite loads of stuff going on in my life at the time.  Surprising when I look back on it really.

Click HERE or HERE to read posts from that time

I think a lot of what’s going on with me now where I’m unhappy with my job is because I feel it’s beneath my skill-level and pay-grade, and the overall feeling of being lost in my own life relates back to how I still feel about what happened two years ago.

Crazy huh?  You’d think I’d be past it already, but I honestly don’t think I am.

anger for pastI still feel resentment at my old company and boss that unlike some others we worked with who were offered other positions within our company, himself included, I was left to float off on my own.  This despite reassurances from him that he’d be there to support me after I left the company because he believed I could do anything I wanted and could easily get a new or better job without even trying.

It definitely sounded good at the time, and I believed him to an extent.  The problem was I didn’t believe in myself and my own abilities.. and still don’t to an extent.

So instead of being in a job at the level I was at or higher, I’ve gone backwards about 10 years and feel like I’m starting this all over again.. and that pisses me off.

Why should I have to reprove myself all over again when I’d already worked my way up the ladder and put in my dues?  Why should I seemingly always have to compromise what I want in order to just get through life?

Yep.. I’m still angry and frustrated about it all.  I’m still resentful that others I’d worked with (some of whom were plainly shit at their jobs) were able to walk into new jobs with ease, while I floundered like a fish out of water.

I just don’t know how to let it all go.. And how to move past it so I can focus on my future and where that might lead me.

I know deep down clinging to this anger and resentment of the past isn’t getting me anywhere, and that I need to get past it in order to move forward.  I need to find a path again, a plan for the future.. a plan of more than just surviving.

It’s definitely going to be a work in progress…

feel lost inside

Looking Forward

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Looking forwardJust like anyone, I tend to look back on events that have happened in my past, both good and bad, as a way of reminiscing about how things once were.  It’s not necessarily about wishing things could go back to how they used to be, but also about reviewing where you’ve been and how far you’ve come from there.

There are some out there (including whomever created that meme to the right) who might say looking back on your past can never be a good thing, especially if you’re looking back on the hard or difficult times.

Personally I think that’s bullshit, to put it bluntly.  It all depends on how you look back on your past and how you react to that recollection.

Admittedly, if you’re someone who recalls some past escapades that didn’t leave you in a good place and then you revisit that type of behaviour as a way to relive it, then of course that is a bad thing.

Everyone talks about having ‘baggage’ as if it’s a bad thing or something to avoid.  Please… we all have baggage of some sort in our lives, it’s just a matter of how you deal with it.  I just wish some people would stop kidding themselves by saying they don’t have any.

The whole point (to me at least) of being able to look back on especially the hard times is so you can somehow learn from that past experience and use that experience to move your live forward.  Those experiences happened for a reason, good or bad, because you needed to learn something from that experience regardless of what it was.

I know personally I’ve had many ups and downs over the years, and I would never consider trying to block out any of it because those experiences have made me who I am.  Have helped create the person I’ve become and have affected the choices I’ve made in life.

Hell, a lot of those experiences have helped shape this blog over the years.  LOL

So I say keep moving yourself forward in life, wherever that life is taking you, and don’t forget your baggage.. it’ll help you figure out the future.  Or at least I hope it does.  😉