I hate to say it, but I’ve spent the better part of the past two years being anything but happy. From staying in toxic relationships longer than I should’ve, to committing time to all the wrong things, I was in a really dark place in my life. It took a long time, but I finally managed to crawl out of that scary, lonely place back into the light.
If you clicked on this article, I can only guess that you’re going through something just like this. Before I even go further, I want to stress that feeling like this is completely normal. Being in the place you are now is terrifying, but it’s something we all have experienced. Without knowing it, you’ve met an absurdly large number of people who have hit rock bottom and managed to pick themselves up and steer their lives back into the right direction. They were able to get over their battles, and you will too. I won’t sugarcoat it, the first step to is easily the hardest. It’s time to cut the crap and stop lying to yourself.
For years, you’ve tricked yourself into believing certain things and those thoughts have led to the actions and got you to where you are now. The only way to get out of this place in your life, is to come clean so you can move forward.
I won’t keep you in suspense, let’s dive right in.
1. It sucks, but failure is part of the process
It’s so hard to take in, but everyone has to experience failure. Some of the greatest people in the world, Michael Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Milton Hershey, the Wright brothers, all failed tremendously way before they got their first taste of success. Can you imagine how much the food, entertainment, and sports industry would be different if these people quit their dreams after the first instance of failure? (Seriously imagine not having a Disneyworld. Where would we go on all our family vacations?) Thankfully, they didn’t.
I get it, failure sucks. I used to avoid failure at all costs, even if that meant settling for things that didn’t make me happy. When you live this way, you’ll never be fulfilled. You’ll always want more. We always see someone successful, but only see the end product. We never see the number of times they fell, got injured, and felt like giving up. (Think about your favorite book or movie. You may think the end product is fantastic, but have you ever thought about how awful the rough draft must’ve been?)
So, when we experience failure, we assume we’re the only ones. People tend to have this bad tendency where they compare their behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlights. I promise you, you’re not the only person who’s failed. On the road to being successful, you will go down failure more than a few times, but if you don’t go through it you will never know success. Stop being scared of failure.
2. Nothing hurts like the pain of regret
The last point perfectly leads into this one. If you won’t do what you’re passionate about because you’re scared of failure or any other reason, you will one day be met with the pain of regret sometime later in life. There’s no feeling I’ve ever felt, including heartbreak, that comes close to how sh*tty I feel when I look back at my life and wish I took the risks when I had the chance. You never know what’s going to comes into your life at the next turn. Opportunities don’t come around as often as you think they do. You may say “I’ll do it next time,” but sometimes “next time” never comes. There are 365 days in a year and “someday,” isn’t one of them. Do what you’ve always wanted to do before you can’t.
3. If you tolerate disrespect, don’t be surprised when it keeps coming to you
On more than one occasion, I’ve given time to someone only to end up feeling awful about myself by the time we said bye. Actually, it was more than just someone; it was an entire group of people. For a while, I racked my brain as to why I kept getting treated with such disrespect. Finally, I realized that it was because I tolerated it. I allowed people in my life to undervalue me, treat me wrong, and say hurtful things to me that would ultimately make me feel like sh*t. I never spoke up and stopped it, so they carried on doing it because they thought it was acceptable. Although these people shouldn’t have treated me with disrespect, I’m partly to blame for feeling this way because I allowed this treatment to go on for so long.
Now, I no longer condone such treatment from anyone. If you undervalue me, I’ll speak up and if you have a problem with it, I’ll end the relationship. Trust me, if you can’t treat me right I DO NOT want you nor do I need you. Bye Felicia.
4. You have to change if you want your life to change
You didn’t get to this place in your life by accident. You got here as a result of the sum of your actions. You will never leave this situation unless you finally change your behavior. How on Earth will you go to a new place if you use the same directions? You can’t. If you want to feel differently, you need to act differently. Like it or not, you have to make some kind of alteration to your life to see it move in a different direction. I know this can sound daunting, but it’s so necessary. You will never see change unless you change.
5. Don’t be surprised at the half ass results when you do the bare minimum
How often have you told yourself you have no time to go to the gym but found that you had 3 hours to binge watch “The Night Of”(and be honest)? Now how many times have you been upset about your lack of results at the gym? What did you think was going to happen? Some of you say you want to be successful but will only do the bare minimum to get there and wonder why you aren’t where you want to be. Are you really doing all that you can do? It seems really unlikely that you can dedicate yourself completely to something and not see any progress. Remember, if you want something bad enough you find a way, if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
6. Sometimes, your biggest hater is you
Winners are born, but they can also be built. I’m not talking about body, I’m talking about mind. Winners succeed because despite all their failures, they keep pushing forward. They wired their minds to succeed. When a loser faces a difficulty and ultimately fails, he/she responds with “I knew I couldn’t do it.” Their defeatist attitude causes them to stop trying upon initial sign of adversity. As I already explained, failure is embedded on the road to success.
Those who are destined for greatness have a mindset that reminds them they are great and will one day succeed. The rest have voices in their heads that tell them they aren’t good enough and believe them. They’ll give up too quickly, instead of working on themselves and improving. Those who buy into the voice in their head that says they can’t do it, are doomed to live a life where they will almost always fall short of their potential.
7. This is only temporary
Just remember that, this doesn’t last forever. It’s always darkest before the dawn. Rock bottom has built more heroes, millionaires, and success stories than luck and privilege ever will or have. Your current situation is not your permanent situation. Overtime, everything heals. Your wounds will heal, your heart heals, your mind will heal. Happy moments do come back sooner or later and bad times don’t last forever. Think of it this way, you’re one day closer to getting out of your dark place.
8. If you’re not passionate about something, life will always be subpar
The absolute best way to live your life, is to spend as much of your day doing something you love that gives you meaning. It may be photography, cooking, or even blogging. When you fill your days with your passions, you find that you’re genuinely happy. Doing something that you love ensures that you’ll feel pleasure right now, and in the future. The more you grow and get better at your craft, the happier you’ll be. This happiness ties to your purpose and with each step forward, you feel like you’re closer to your goal. You don’t need to quit your job or completely restructure your life for this to happen.
By carving out small chunks throughout the day or week, you’re able to participate in your craft and that will always make you feel fulfilled. That small inkling of purpose will start to spread to other areas in your life. When you spend even a tiny fraction of time on your passion, you become more focused and confident. Try it if you don’t believe me (and if you’re listing reasons why you can’t, please go see the half ass results truth. Kay, Thanks).
9. Don’t feel bad for doing things that are good for you
Looking back at the last two years, I remember how often I felt guilty for doing things that were genuinely good for me. I thought cutting off the toxic people in my life meant I wasn’t a loyal friend. If I ever said no to work or acted like I couldn’t balance everything, I thought I would come off as irresponsible. I’d do the last one so often that I adopted more bad habits, like skipping meals to work and only getting a few hours of sleep a night. If I got up to take a lunch or got a full eight hours of sleep, I felt as if I wasn’t doing enough.
Mostly, it seemed like if I ever put myself first that I was being selfish. I’m not sure how I tricked myself into believing all of this was true, but eliminating that remorseful feeling was the foundation to making some serious changes in my life. Once I realized that there’s nothing wrong with doing what’s good for you, I finally made the moves I was so hesitant to make all year all. I finally let go of people that I shouldn’t have kept. I didn’t feel bad whenever I said no to a project I knew I couldn’t take on. I make sure to take my lunch breaks and get some sleep now. All with zero ounces of guilt. It’s one of the most liberating feelings, to be able to do the what’s good for you and be happy about it.
* * *
As someone who’s on the otherside, I understand that making the decision to pull yourself out of this phase is scary. Remember that the path that most scares you is most often the one that most liberates you. Dr. Steve Maraboli said it best when he said “The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself and the situation, unless you realize the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
Forgive yourself for ending up in this place. No one can come to save you, you must save yourself. The first step is to be honest with yourself. Read all of these truths until they’re stuck in your brain. Then go on, and stop lying to yourself and change your life. Don’t get discouraged when it takes a little longer than you anticipated to fix your life. No matter what, forward is forward. Everyday you work on yourself is another day closer to finally getting out of this rut.