Three Key Strategies for Dealing with Life’s Hardships

Image of ship in a storm from Vintage Everyday

Image of ship in a storm from Vintage Everyday

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
~ Haruki Murakami

A friend of mine is doing it tough right now. She’s lost her home and is relying on the kindness and largesse of her friends until she gets back on her feet. In the middle of all of that, thinking that she should be counting the blessings still evident in her life, she instead felt momentarily overwhelmed by her situation.

A client of mine  is nursing an adult child who has been reduced to the functionality of an infant through a violent head injury. Her husband died in that same car accident. This all happened right at a time when their last child had left home, and when she and her husband were about to travel. Now she’s grieving and working out where to go next as she cares for a son who will forever be dependent. The strains upon her are enormous.

Both these women are strong and good, and they’re facing really big challenges.

So the last thing they need is to guilt themselves out about not feeling happy and grateful enough in their lives.

Life is hard sometimes. Fact is, no matter how kind others may be, and how much you know you can be grateful for, and how many blessings are in your life – where you are can still suck.

It’s okay for things to not really be okay. If life’s hard, well, that’s just where you are.

If you’re homeless and wanting your own nest, if you now have a child who’ll be forever dependent on you… Who doesn’t get weary when they have no true solitude for themselves, no respite, no retreat that is theirs alone?

If things aren’t going so well for you, I have some advice.

Your job, and mine (as I heal from chronic Lyme), is to accept what is, to do our best to get through any way we can, be honest about the moments when it gets on top of us, to seek help when we need it, and to keep focused on the outcomes we want for ourselves.

Image by Penkdix Palme

Image by Penkdix Palme

Gratitude is an important coping mechanism and life skill. It helps us to focus on the things in life that ARE still good and worthwhile, no matter how hard life may be. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know how much I advocate an attitude of gratitude.

The other thing that helps us to cope, and which gives us power is action. For me, as I fight to recover from this wretched illness, it’s to keep on writing, to have enforced rest, to stay in contact through facebook, to keep planning retreats and workshops, to keep taking my drugs, and to constantly remind myself WHY I am doing this.

If your life is not going to plan right now, here’s a three point plan for coping:

  1. Work out an end goal, or at least something to strive for that will get you past the place where you are now. Then keep your eyes firmly on that place instead on the mess you’re in. For me, it’s an end goal of being well, with my Lyme Disease in total remission. For my girlfriend, it’s meaningful work and a home of her own. My client is looking to get a compensation payout to help support her son’s ongoing needs, to employ some help, and eventually to find a home that can accommodate her son for that time when she will no longer be able to meet the demands of caring for him. If you don’t know what you want, this might help you get focused: Making My Life Work For Me
  2. Let yourself honour the feelings of frustration, pain, misery, grief, anger or whatever else comes up for you. You don’t need to dwell in them but you do need to be honest with yourself. Life is what it is. Don’t let yourself feel guilty or weak for acknowledging the difficulties you face, and that this might get you down sometimes. It’s not natural to be 100% positive all the time! You might also find this post helpful: Sad Unicorns – OR Is your New-Age Thinking Positively Unhelpful?
  3. Practice gratitude, even in the place of this current hardship. Life is still filled with everyday kindness, moments of beauty and wonder. When we look for these energies, no matter how small or fleeting, we are tuning ourselves in to an energy that can fill us back up when we’re empty. More on this here: Embracing the Small Things – An Antidote to Despair

Everything changes. That is the only constant in this world. When life gets hard, hold on and do what you’ve got to do to get through. Most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Thinking of you, and sending love ♥ Nicole xx

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9 thoughts on “Three Key Strategies for Dealing with Life’s Hardships

  1. I give thanks for all the good things in my like and pray for you , your friend and client . Lovely post as always .
    Cherry x

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