Let’s be real guys, life’s a bitch sometimes. Am I right? As human beings, we experience ups and downs throughout our entire existence on this floating sphere through space. And sometimes when we’re really down in the dumps, it’s hard for us to remember the happy times because we naturally become laser-focused on the negatives.
Well, I am here to remind all of you that you don’t have to live that way. The following list was compiled from various pieces of advice I’ve received along my journey, most of which was when I was pretty down myself. Whether your struggles are current or ongoing, major or minor, I hope these little reminders will help you overcome this dark period you’re experiencing now.
1. Failing now does not make you a failure forever
Each individual will overcome several trials and tribulations throughout this lifetime, and sometimes we’re going to fail. But that does not mean that the things you try in the future will yield the same result. Finding the courage to try again shows that life will not be able to take you down easily. It will also instill a confidence in you that you may have lacked in the past, one that empowers you to take on other life challenges down the road.
2. You are not alone in your struggle
With over seven billion people on the planet, it is difficult to imagine that whatever you’re currently dealing with is your cross to bear alone. While you may never meet someone who is struggling the same way you are in the same time frame, you can take comfort in knowing others have experienced similar troubles. They may not all approach these obstacles in the same way you do, but it’s definitely comforting to know you don’t have to face this alone. You can take solace in knowing that there is hope, that it is possible to work this out….or at least move past whatever block currently exists in your path.
3. Even the small steps are significant
It may feel like you have to solve every piece of your problem at once, but I have good news for you, my friend. Even taking the smallest steps in the right direction is helpful. Whether that’s specific to your struggle or not is your decision, but either way, things never seem as daunting in the light. Spending time with someone who brings you joy or even indulging in a new hobby could be a small step that leads you to find greater happiness.
4. You have people who love and support you
Ah, friends, family, loved ones in general. They’re your fellow human beings you can count on to have your back in times of struggle. Whether that’s a shoulder to cry on or a body to bury, rest easy knowing that you are not alone in your fight and these people will be there to love you through it no matter what.
5. It is okay to reach out for help
Now, because you know for a fact that you are not alone in these trying times, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making the effort to reach out to those people. It is so common to feel like a burden or a PITA (pain in the ass) by dumping your drama on your loved ones, but I assure you, you are neither of those things. There is a subsection in the contract that is your friendship with each of these individuals that ensures you they will be there should you need it. It’s quite literally part of the job description. So, stop holding back worries that you’ll be a bother to them. I can promise you that if they know you well, they can already tell something’s up anyway and will want to do whatever they can to get you back to where you need to be.
6. Some of the most successful people have been where you are
Everyone knows the success stories of those like Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, and Oprah. But it was not something that happened overnight. Each of them experienced rough patches on their path before finding their individual successes. So it comes as no surprise that one of the points in this article would be that you too can be successful. Whether that be in your career, in love, or your life in general, each of their success stories is proof that you too can escape your current reality and work to make a better one for yourself.
7. The suck is temporary (Mostly)
Nothing lasts forever, right? At least that’s what we’ve always been told. And while it usually carries a negative connotation, in this case, it can really be a good thing. For the most part, whatever you’re currently going through will not last forever either. You will find moments of happiness and there will be times when it feels like things are on the rise. Hold on to those feelings and use them as motivation to get you out of your funk.
8. Get that shit out
Cry. Scream. Throw things. (Just not at other people, please…) Whatever it is you need to do, get that anger and sadness out of your heart. It will feel impossible to achieve true happiness if you are constantly bogged down by negativity. So go out in the field and smash that printer “Office Space” style, you’ll thank yourself for it.
9. Don’t dwell on it
As important as it is to work all that shit out of your system, it is JUST as important to recognize when you’ve exceeded your threshold of stress, emotions, whatever. A person can only take so much. Only so much can be said or done about a subject before it is time to accept that you’ve made all the effort you can and to move on with your life. Do not continue wasting energy on something that has already proved to suck the life right out of you.
10. Appreciate every good thing that happens
One good thing about being sad is that anytime something good happens, it can feel like a small victory. This can be anything from getting complimented by a stranger to having a mental breakthrough, or maybe even a creative one. Happiness comes in all forms, and even the tiniest glimpse of hope can put you in a better frame of mind. Accepting the good things that happen to you will also have a positive effect on your self esteem, giving you more confidence for the future.
11. You live and you learn.
A man named Malcolm Gladwell once said, “A lot of what is most beautiful about the world arises from struggle.” You will never experience something tough that does not teach you something. About other people, about yourself, etc. The lessons here are the most important, they are what we take with us once the tough part has ended. It’s the advice we go on to give others who struggle with the same things. Each and every point in this article is a different lesson I have learned throughout my life.
12. Times of struggle often teach us who we really are
You will never know yourself better than when it’s you against the world. Now I know that I said earlier that you would always have love and support from those closest to you, and that’s true. However, at the end of the day, no one in this life makes decisions for you but you. Regardless of advice given or feelings had by others, you will have to look deep inside yourself and find the determination to continue rising up. And in doing that, we all learn SO MUCH about ourselves. The process of our problem solving, our emotions, our ability to deal with change..People always say we should be our own best friends. I believe that, and I believe that in times of struggle you have the potential to build a bond with your soul that truly becomes unbreakable.
13. You have a unique purpose here
Every single one of us is put on this planet at this moment for some undiscovered reason. Some may never truly figure out their soul’s purpose, but we all know how to recognize someone who has. It’s easy to forget just how important you are, and how impactful your existence is to not only those around you but to this world. Maybe you’ll be the one to discover the cure for cancer, or maybe you’re going to create beautiful masterpieces that go down in history, bringing humanity to tears. Maybe you’re simply here because someone else needs you to be. Just like our quest to understand our own purpose, we rarely grasp the perspective understand just how much our presence matters to others. You matter, and you truly never know where the future could lead.
14. Exercise is good!! Or just any physical activity really…
Being sedentary does you very little good, my friend. Too often we find ourselves hidden away from the world in times of turmoil. It’s much easier to sit around watching Netflix, eating cold mac and cheese until you explode when considering the idea of actually going out and doing something when you’re depressed. Physical activity can be anything from simply taking a walk outside to yoga to taking a full-on kickboxing class. We release endorphins into our systems when we exercise, and their job is to help amp up the happiness level inside our brains. Aside from that, being active opens up more chances to meet new people, and to work through the shit hanging around inside our heads in a constructive way.
15. At the end of the day, there’s always meditation (Pro Advice via TinyBuddha’s Benson Wong)
THIS! Guys, I cannot tell you how many times I have been given this same advice. It took me literal years to yield it, and when I finally did I was shocked. I have never felt more at ease in my life! Clearing your mind to a calm state while sitting comfortably deep in thought is so cleansing for the mind and for the soul. It can give you clarity, but can also just keep you calm. There are zero negative effects from doing meditation. And you can do it whenever you’d like! As soon as you get a rhythm for it down, you could plop down in just about any space and get your brain thinking in the right direction.
16. Ultimately, you and only you are in control of your life
Sometimes unfortunate circumstances bring us down, but only you say how long you’ll stay down for. Happiness is a state of mind, my dears, and we all have to make our own efforts to bring us back to it. No matter how many times someone tells you that you have to get up, you have to get back out there, until you make the conscious effort to, it won’t happen. When you think about it that way though, it should bring you comfort. If you and only you decide how drastically something affects you, then you and only you can decide how to react. And learning how you react to things can open up so much space for you in regards to how you deal when the negativity train pulls into the station.
17. What have you got to lose?
That’s the real question, isn’t it? We have the opportunity every single day to decide that we want to get out of this funk, that this darkness we’ve lived in for so long just isn’t worth putting up with anymore. It can be very scary standing up to your demons, big or small. But I can tell you this from personal experience, nothing is scarier than staying there. Being stagnant in your unhappiness, hoping for either the end or a miracle to bring you out. It is times like those that we have to look ourselves in the mirror and decide what it is we’re willing to do to ultimately escape our own mental prison. Think about it: What do you really have to lose? If you want to find happiness again, take action to seek it. Happiness will find you.
While each of these points focused on different sections of your life, I meant what I said before about you retaining control of what kind of mind frame you choose to maintain. If you know in your heart that you want to be happy, then you fight and fight and fight until you feel it. Not just for a minute or so; give yourself more than that. Fight until happiness overwhelms you with its warmth and comfort, making you wonder why you waited so long to take that first step. No one will be able to deter you from your path once you’ve found it, not even you. And once you have it in your sights, I promise you all the struggle and darkness will be worth it.
As the wise Nas once said, “Once you make it to your point of making it, you’ll appreciate the struggle.”