“Just have faith.”
At some point in your life, you’ve likely been given this or similar advice. When things are tough and you can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel, friends, family, and even mentors step in to give us a boost.
Let’s face it, being on the receiving end of that advice doesn’t always feel very comforting.
I remember in 2011, after my house burned down, there was an endless stream of very well-meaning, loving people who wanted to find some way to comfort me. Perhaps the most unusual realization I had during the aftermath was how most people would share a personal story to try to console me.
I assure you, the last thing I wanted to hear about was your aunt’s house that had a kitchen fire when you were a kid. Even less effective were the “Everything will be okay” and “Everything happens for a reason” comments.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Going through this experience actually had me realize my own shortcomings when I had a friend who was suffering the loss of a loved one or experiencing any kind of tragedy.
In my own situation, at the end of the day, I would be left alone to deal with the insurance, rebuilding my home and my life, and figuring out every minute detail that you might take for granted when you haven’t experienced losing all your physical possessions.
Imagine this: You find yourself at the grocery store buying chicken breasts for dinner. Yet you have nothing, and while standing in line at the checkout you realize that you’re going to need a pan, olive oil, seasoning, a fork and knife, a plate… Overwhelming.
So, what can you do when faith isn’t enough?
Borrow Someone Else’s Belief
Isolation, especially during difficult times, sucks. Not only that, there have been many studies that have shown isolation to negatively impact self-esteem, increase risk of depression, social anxiety, and even dementia, and increase blood pressure and vulnerability to infection.
What if, instead of isolating yourself, you chose to surround yourself with people who believe in you unconditionally? Not people who want to comfort, console, or take care of you. The people who make you feel good about yourself. The ones who love your company, even when you’re having a bad day, week, or month.
When you position yourself to be in good company and higher vibration, you give yourself a chance to vibrate higher, too.
When you’re out camping and it gets cold, you get close to the fire. When your own faith or belief runs out, get close to that fire of faith and belief and feel its loving warmth and support.
Identify Where You Are At Cause And Effect
It may sound ridiculous, but I was absolutely acting at cause in the immediate aftermath of my fire. In fact, as I watched the house burn down, I realized that I had manifested the situation. (No, I did not burn my own house down, but I did spend the six months leading up to the fire imagining what life would look like if I could start over.)
If, instead of taking ownership, I was blaming everyone else for my situation, I would be living in effect.
Put another way, when you are in a situation where your faith is being tested in any way, do you talk about yourself and your part in the situation, or do you find yourself talking about the roles others have played?
Are you taking on the role of victim or are you taking responsibility and being part of the solution?
Where in your life are you defaulting to blame, shame, and guilt?
When you get into a ditch, do you keep digging?
When you are at cause, you are empowered to look for solutions and forward momentum. Consider your favorite successful person. Can you see how they have built their success (and maintain it) by being at cause?
With practice, you’ll build more awareness so that you’ll be able to recognize and shift into cause.
When In Doubt, Focus Out
Once you are at cause, what would become possible when you shift your focus outward – being at cause for others?
If I’ve learned anything in my 43 years, it’s that we are all connected and benefit most when we honor and nurture that connection.
There are numerous studies that have shown people who help others, volunteer, and get involved in their communities have increased self-esteem, lower stress, feel less anxious and isolated, and have a more enriched sense of purpose.
Instead of commiserating on your unfortunate circumstance, remember your vision in life—what you want to create for others and the world. If you don’t have a vision or mission, take the time to create one. It doesn’t have to be grand. Giving yourself a purpose-driven mission can instantly restore your ability to put things into perspective and to realize that someone is waiting for a blessing that only you can deliver.
Having unwavering faith is a beautiful goal to work towards. When your human-ness shows up and your faith is tested, borrowing someone else’s belief, recognizing where you are at cause, and choosing to be on-purpose in some area of life (whether it be through your business, personal relationships, or even your dream legacy project) can give you the support to restore your faith in others and yourself.