5 Truths That Will Get You Through Hard Times

5 Truths That Will Get You Through Hard Times

Life is filled with ups and downs. Even the most successful people face struggles on a daily basis, ask any therapist. Maybe you’re going through a bad divorce. Or, you could be facing serious financial problems. Or, it could be the sorrow of losing a loved one. In some cases, it could even be a combination of factors.

Truth be told, dealing with these situations and the many others we haven’t mentioned can be extremely difficult. People struggling with drug addiction, for example, find life really stressful. Sometimes it comes to a point where life loses meaning. However, if you want to live a life you can be proud of, you must find ways to overcome these lows and rise above your challenges. Below, we discuss five life truths that can set you free from the shackles of despair and set you on the path to happiness and a fulfilling life.

  1. Pain is part of life – you must learn to live with it.

    Just like love and laughter, pain is part of life. Without it, life wouldn’t be complete. The biggest problem is that from a young age we have always been taught to avoid hurt as much as possible. So, often, even the suggestion of suffering is enough to send us running for cover, but you can’t live like that in this world filled with hot pans and sharp objects. You cannot keep trying to avoid pain because that’s not possible. It’s important to accept that from time to time, you will be hurt. Secondly, you must understand that resisting pain is not the best way to deal with it. In most cases, resistance only makes it worse.

    The only way out is to embrace pain just like you embrace other feelings. Those feelings are what define you. And, don’t hide them from the public. When you hide your pains, you’re letting the lies of insecurity destroy your reality. You need to stand up and own your scars. Endure the pain. You’ll come out of it a stronger, wiser, truer version of yourself.

  2. Your biggest fears are nothing more than an imagination.

    Fear is the number one reason most people aren’t where they should be right now. Just the thought of doing something that may hurt you often means you postpone doing that thing or forget about it altogether.

    What you may not be aware of is that most of the time, those fears amount to nothing. So, at the end of it all, the only reason you might end up missing life’s exciting moments is not because of potential bad experiences but because your fears keep you from exploring. By keeping you at an arm’s length, fear will have made sure that you aren’t even close enough to find out whether you were right or wrong.

    To get out of this trap, you must realize that fear is just about moments. Whatever you fear is simply a moment in life with feelings of anger, awkwardness, pain, and possibly suffering. Since you don’t want to experience those feelings, you may find yourself holding back.

    But, aren’t those the same feelings we deal with everyday? You’ve certainly been angry before. You’ve also felt pain and suffering before, right? So, why should you fear them anymore? Embrace them. Just like you’ve overcome them severally, you’ll conquer them again.

  3. The present is all you have to deal with.

    Of course, it’s natural to spend moments of thought in the past or in the future. Identifying pending danger by reviewing our past experiences is important for self-preservation. But when you let your life be dictated by events and emotions that happened long time ago or that might happen in the future, it can be impossible to stand peacefully rooted in the present.

    The easiest way to break away from this habit is to identify time for what it is. Don’t worry about the clock on the wall or the watch on your wrist. To Mother Nature, those devices mean nothing. Nature sees life as an evolving moment. To her, the past doesn’t exist and the future is irrelevant.

    The only true reference point to this moment in time is the feeling of presence; being here in this body and seeing life through our eyes. So, stop worrying about what happened or what might be. Let the past be the past and allow the future to amaze you. Meanwhile, revel in the present.

  4. Perception is everything.

    Another truth that can change your life for the better is the fact that your beliefs, the way you see things, is ultimately the way things will play out in life. The mind is perhaps the best-kept secret in life; one of the most powerful tools available to mankind. When the mind sets up for success, you’re much more likely to succeed. When you’ve already given up in your mind, even in real life, you’re unlikely to be successful.

    That’s because your mind inspires perception, creating thoughts, ideas, theories, and imaginations, which in turn, intuit events and shape your consciousness. Take an example of a young graduate who believes that she is capable, competent, and deserving of her dream job. She is more likely to notice and seek opportunities that could help he get there. She’s also more likely to perform well in an interview.

    On the contrary, if you don’t trust your abilities or feel that you’re not prepared for the job, you’re unlikely to seek the job. Even if you do, your energy levels will be low, you’re likely to perform poorly in your interviews (because of your negative mindset) and, for that reason, are unlikely to get the job.

    To sum it up, the obstacle in front of you is only as big as you perceive it. If you believe you can overcome your challenges, you will put your best foot forward, and might just succeed!

  5. You’re never truly alone.

    Finally, when you feel down, always remember that you’re never truly alone. Sometimes it feels like it; that you’re alone and no one cares about your well-being. That voice telling you that you’re alone is the voice of self-defeat. Rise above it and you’ll find that everyone is always struggling with something at any given point.

    You just need to open up and talk about your problems. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to come to your rescue. You’ll also learn that those people who afford to put a smile on their faces aren’t necessarily having the best day. They are just better at managing their problems.

So, open up today. Share your story with colleagues, friends, family, or a psychologist. There is always someone out there who can relate to your situation. Perhaps you can’t immediately access them, but they are out there.


About the Author: Dr Diana Paulk 

Dr. Paulk is a licensed psychologist and has more than 20 years of experience offering therapy in many different settings. Over the years, she has come to relish working with individuals who are striving to overcome issues associated with recent or past trauma – symptoms such as stress, avoidance and overwhelming feelings of anxiety, depression or worry. Dr. Paulk recently became certified as an advanced trauma specialist by The Trauma Center at the Justice Research Institute outside Boston, Massachusetts. The nine-month program was conducted by recognized experts in the field, including Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

11 Comments

Felicity D

This has really helped me to focus on myself now and stop being an anxiety-ridden mess worrying about the future. The feelings of being overwhelmed are calmer, thankyou.

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Rachel

My heart was lifted by reading this article.
I will be reading it again and showing my daughter

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Hayley

Really useful ideas that resonated deeply for me. I’m trying really hard to navigate my way through parenting a depressed teen and I’m desperate for any info that can help broaden my tools with which to help my child.

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Ekaterina

Food for thought. Inspirational in many ways. Just like a reminder to stay in the presence. Excellent and easy to read article. Big thanks to the author!

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Sylvia Britton

This is a read-again, and again and again. So good for me in these turbulent times when anxiety keeps rearing its ugly head.

Reply
Kelly

I like this.. Simple truths which are so easily forgotten when you’re in the trenches of depression..

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Big feelings, and the big behaviour that comes from big feelings, are a sign of a distressed nervous system. Think of this like a burning building. The behaviour is the smoke. The fire is a distressed nervous system. It’s so tempting to respond directly to the behaviour (the smoke), but by doing this, we ignore the fire. Their behaviour and feelings in that moment are a call for support - for us to help that distressed brain and body find the way home. 

The most powerful language for any nervous system is another nervous system. They will catch our distress (as we will catch theirs) but they will also catch our calm. It can be tempting to move them to independence on this too quickly, but it just doesn’t work this way. Children can only learn to self-regulate with lots (and lots and lots) of experience co-regulating. 

This isn’t something that can be taught. It’s something that has to be experienced over and over. It’s like so many things - driving a car, playing the piano - we can talk all we want about ‘how’ but it’s not until we ‘do’ over and over that we get better at it. 

Self-regulation works the same way. It’s not until children have repeated experiences with an adult bringing them back to calm, that they develop the neural pathways to come back to calm on their own. 

An important part of this is making sure we are guiding that nervous system with tender, gentle hands and a steady heart. This is where our own self-regulation becomes important. Our nervous systems speak to each other every moment of every day. When our children or teens are distressed, we will start to feel that distress. It becomes a loop. We feel what they feel, they feel what we feel. Our own capacity to self-regulate is the circuit breaker. 

This can be so tough, but it can happen in microbreaks. A few strong steady breaths can calm our own nervous system, which we can then use to calm theirs. Breathe, and be with. It’s that simple, but so tough to do some days. When they come back to calm, then have those transformational chats - What happened? What can make it easier next time?

Who you are in the moment will always be more important than what you do.
How we are with them, when they are their everyday selves and when they aren’t so adorable, will build their view of three things: the world, its people, and themselves. This will then inform how they respond to the world and how they build their very important space in it. 

Will it be a loving, warm, open-hearted space with lots of doors for them to throw open to the people and experiences that are right for them? Or will it be a space with solid, too high walls that close out too many of the people and experiences that would nourish them.

They will learn from what we do with them and to them, for better or worse. We don’t teach them that the world is safe for them to reach into - we show them. We don’t teach them to be kind, respectful, and compassionate. We show them. We don’t teach them that they matter, and that other people matter, and that their voices and their opinions matter. We show them. We don’t teach them that they are little joy mongers who light up the world. We show them. 

But we have to be radically kind with ourselves too. None of this is about perfection. Parenting is hard, and days will be hard, and on too many of those days we’ll be hard too. That’s okay. We’ll say things we shouldn’t say and do things we shouldn’t do. We’re human too. Let’s not put pressure on our kiddos to be perfect by pretending that we are. As long as we repair the ruptures as soon as we can, and bathe them in love and the warmth of us as much as we can, they will be okay.

This also isn’t about not having boundaries. We need to be the guardians of their world and show them where the edges are. But in the guarding of those boundaries we can be strong and loving, strong and gentle. We can love them, and redirect their behaviour.

It’s when we own our stuff(ups) and when we let them see us fall and rise with strength, integrity, and compassion, and when we hold them gently through the mess of it all, that they learn about humility, and vulnerability, and the importance of holding bruised hearts with tender hands. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistency, and honesty, and the way we respond to them the most.♥️

#parenting #mindfulparenting
Anxiety and courage always exist together. It can be no other way. Anxiety is a call to courage. It means you're about to do something brave, so when there is one the other will be there too. Their courage might feel so small and be whisper quiet, but it will always be there and always ready to show up when they need it to.
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But courage doesn’t always feel like courage, and it won't always show itself as a readiness. Instead, it might show as a rising - from fear, from uncertainty, from anger. None of these mean an absence of courage. They are the making of space, and the opportunity for courage to rise.
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When the noise from anxiety is loud and obtuse, we’ll have to gently add our voices to usher their courage into the light. We can do this speaking of it and to it, and by shifting the focus from their anxiety to their brave. The one we focus on is ultimately what will become powerful. It will be the one we energise. Anxiety will already have their focus, so we’ll need to make sure their courage has ours.
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But we have to speak to their fear as well, in a way that makes space for it to be held and soothed, with strength. Their fear has an important job to do - to recruit the support of someone who can help them feel safe. Only when their fear has been heard will it rest and make way for their brave.
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What does this look like? Tell them their stories of brave, but acknowledge the fear that made it tough. Stories help them process their emotional experiences in a safe way. It brings word to the feelings and helps those big feelings make sense and find containment. ‘You were really worried about that exam weren’t you. You couldn’t get to sleep the night before. It was tough going to school but you got up, you got dressed, you ... and you did it. Then you ...’
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In the moment, speak to their brave by first acknowledging their need to flee (or fight), then tell them what you know to be true - ‘This feels scary for you doesn’t it. I know you want to run. It makes so much sense that you would want to do that. I also know you can do hard things. My darling, I know it with everything in me.’
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#positiveparenting #parenting #childanxiety #anxietyinchildren #mindfulpare
Separation anxiety has an important job to do - it’s designed to keep children safe by driving them to stay close to their important adults. Gosh it can feel brutal sometimes though.

Whenever there is separation from an attachment person there will be anxiety unless there are two things: attachment with another trusted, loving adult; and a felt sense of you holding on, even when you aren't beside them. Putting these in place will help soften anxiety.

As long as children are are in the loving care of a trusted adult, there's no need to avoid separation. We'll need to remind ourselves of this so we can hold on to ourselves when our own anxiety is rising in response to theirs. 

If separation is the problem, connection has to be the solution. The connection can be with any loving adult, but it's more than an adult being present. It needs an adult who, through their strong, warm, loving presence, shows the child their abundant intention to care for that child, and their joy in doing so. This can be helped along by showing that you trust the adult to love that child big in our absence. 'I know [important adult] loves you and is going to take such good care of you.'

To help your young one feel held on to by you, even in absence, let them know you'll be thinking of them and can't wait to see them. Bolster this by giving them something of yours to hold while you're gone - a scarf, a note - anything that will be felt as 'you'.

They know you are the one who makes sure their world is safe, so they’ll be looking to you for signs of safety: 'Do you think we'll be okay if we aren't together?' First, validate: 'You really want to stay with me, don't you. I wish I could stay with you too! It's hard being away from your special people isn't it.' Then, be their brave. Let it be big enough to wrap around them so they can rest in the safety and strength of it: 'I know you can do this, love. We can do hard things can't we.'

Part of growing up brave is learning that the presence of anxiety doesn't always mean something is wrong. Sometimes it means they are on the edge of brave - and being away from you for a while counts as brave.
Even the most loving, emotionally available adult might feel frustration, anger, helplessness or distress in response to a child’s big feelings. This is how it’s meant to work. 

Their distress (fight/flight) will raise distress in us. The purpose is to move us to protect or support or them, but of course it doesn’t always work this way. When their big feelings recruit ours it can drive us more to fight (anger, blame), or to flee (avoid, ignore, separate them from us) which can steal our capacity to support them. It will happen to all of us from time to time. 

Kids and teens can’t learn to manage big feelings on their own until they’ve done it plenty of times with a calm, loving adult. This is where co-regulation comes in. It helps build the vital neural pathways between big feelings and calm. They can’t build those pathways on their own. 

It’s like driving a car. We can tell them how to drive as much as we like, but ‘talking about’ won’t mean they’re ready to hit the road by themselves. Instead we sit with them in the front seat for hours, driving ‘with’ until they can do it on their own. Feelings are the same. We feel ‘with’, over and over, until they can do it on their own. 

What can help is pausing for a moment to see the behaviour for what it is - a call for support. It’s NOT bad behaviour or bad parenting. It’s not that.

Our own feelings can give us a clue to what our children are feeling. It’s a normal, healthy, adaptive way for them to share an emotional load they weren’t meant to carry on their own. Self-regulation makes space for us to hold those feelings with them until those big feelings ease. 

Self-regulation can happen in micro moments. First, see the feelings or behaviour for what it is - a call for support. Then breathe. This will calm your nervous system, so you can calm theirs. In the same way we will catch their distress, they will also catch ours - but they can also catch our calm. Breathe, validate, and be ‘with’. And you don’t need to do more than that.

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