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.

Reply
Rachel

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

Reply
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.

Reply
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!

Reply
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..

Reply

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Growth doesn’t always announce itself in ways that feel safe or invited. Often, it can leave us exhausted and confused and with dirt in our pores from the fury of the battle. It is this way for all of us, our children too. 

The truth of it all is that we are all born with a profound and immense capacity to rise through challenges, changes and heartache. There is something else we are born with too, and it is the capacity to add softness, strength, and safety for each other when the movement towards growth feels too big. Not always by finding the answer, but by being it - just by being - safe, warm, vulnerable, real. As it turns out, sometimes, this is the richest source of growth for all of us.
When the world feel sunsettled, the ripple can reach the hearts, minds and spirits of kids and teens whether or not they are directly affected. As the important adult in the life of any child or teen, you have a profound capacity to give them what they need to steady their world again.

When their fears are really big, such as the death of a parent, being alone in the world, being separated from people they love, children might put this into something else. 

This can also happen because they can’t always articulate the fear. Emotional ‘experiences’ don’t lay in the brain as words, they lay down as images and sensory experiences. This is why smells and sounds can trigger anxiety, even if they aren’t connected to a scary experience. The ‘experiences’ also don’t need to be theirs. Hearing ‘about’ is enough.

The content of the fear might seem irrational but the feeling will be valid. Think of it as the feeling being the part that needs you. Their anxiety, sadness, anger (which happens to hold down other more vulnerable emotions) needs to be seen, held, contained and soothed, so they can feel safe again - and you have so much power to make that happen. 

‘I can see how worried you are. There are some big things happening in the world at the moment, but my darling, you are safe. I promise. You are so safe.’ 

If they have been through something big, the truth is that they have been through something frightening AND they are safe, ‘We’re going through some big things and it can be confusing and scary. We’ll get through this. It’s okay to feel scared or sad or angry. Whatever you feel is okay, and I’m here and I love you and we are safe. We can get through anything together.’
I love being a parent. I love it with every part of my being and more than I ever thought I could love anything. Honestly though, nothing has brought out my insecurities or vulnerabilities as much. This is so normal. Confusing, and normal. 

However many children we have, and whatever age they are, each child and each new stage will bring something new for us to learn. It will always be this way. Our children will each do life differently, and along the way we will need to adapt and bend ourselves around their path to light their way as best we can. But we won't do this perfectly, because we can't always know what mountains they'll need to climb, or what dragons they'll need to slay. We won't always know what they’ll need, and we won't always be able to give it. We don't need to. But we'll want to. Sometimes we’ll ache because of this and we’ll blame ourselves for not being ‘enough’. Sometimes we won't. This is the vulnerability that comes with parenting. 

We love them so much, and that never changes, but the way we feel about parenting might change a thousand times before breakfast. Parenting is tough. It's worth every second - every second - but it's tough. Great parents can feel everything, and sometimes it can turn from moment to moment - loving, furious, resentful, compassionate, gentle, tough, joyful, selfish, confused and wise - all of it. Great parents can feel all of it.

Because parenting is pure joy, but not always. We are strong, nurturing, selfless, loving, but not always. Parents aren't perfect. Love isn't perfect. And it was meant to be. We’re raising humans - real ones, with feelings, who don't need to be perfect, and wont  need others to be perfect. Humans who can be kind to others, and to themselves first. But they will learn this from us. Parenting is the role which needs us to be our most human, beautifully imperfect, flawed, vulnerable selves. Let's not judge ourselves for our shortcomings and the imperfections, and the necessary human-ness of us.❤️
The behaviour that comes with separation anxiety is the symptom not the problem. To strengthen children against separation anxiety, we have to respond at the source – the felt sense of separation from you.

Whenever there is separation from an attachment person, there will be always be anxiety unless there is at least one of 2 things: attachment with another trusted, adult; or a felt sense of you holding on to them, even when you aren’t beside them. 

If separation is the problem, connection has to be the solution. The connection can be with any loving adult, but it needs more than an adult being present. Just because there is another adult in the room, doesn’t mean your child will experience a deep sense of safety with that adult. This doesn’t mean the adult isn’t safe - it’s about what the brain perceives, and that brain is looking for a deep, felt sense of safety. This will come from the presence of an adult who, through their strong, loving presence, shows the child their abundant intention to care for them, and their joy in doing so. The joy in caretaking is important. It lets the child rest from seeking the adult’s care because there will be a sense that the adult wants it enough for both.

This can be helped along by showing your young one that you trust the adult to love and care for your child and keep him or her safe in your absence: ‘I know [important adult] loves you and is going to take such good care of you.’ This doesn’t mean children will instantly feel the attachment, but the path towards that will be more illuminated.

To help them feel you holding on even when you aren’t with them, let them know you’ll be thinking of them and can’t wait to be with them again. I used to tell my daughter that every 15 seconds, my mind makes sure it knows where she is. Think of this as ‘taking over’ their worry. ‘You don’t have to worry about you or me because I’m taking care of both of us – every 15 seconds.’ This might also look like giving them something of yours to hold on to while you’re gone – a scarf, a note. You will always be their favourite way to safety, but you can’t be everywhere. Another loving adult or the felt presence of you will help them rest.
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to say or whether to say anything at all. It doesn’t matter if the ‘right’ words aren’t there, because often there no right words. There are also no wrong ones. Often it’s not even about the words. Your presence, your attention, the sound of your voice - they all help to soften the hard edges of the world. Humans have been talking for as long as we’ve had heartbeats and there’s a reason for this. Talking heals. 

It helps to connect the emotional right brain with the logical left. This gives context and shape to feelings and helps them feel contained, which lets those feelings soften. 

You don’t need to fix anything and you don’t need to have all the answers. Even if the words land differently to the way you expected, you can clean it up once it’s out there. What’s important is opening the space for conversation, which opens the way to you. Try, ‘I’m wondering how you’re doing with everything. Would you like to talk?’ 

And let them take the lead. Some days they’ll want to talk about ‘it’ and some days they’ll want to talk about anything but. Whether it’s to distract from the mess of it all or to go deeper into it so they can carve their way through the feeling to the calm on the other side, healing will come. So ask, ‘Do you want to talk about ‘it’ or do you want to talk about something else? Because I’m here for both.’ ♥️
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