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..

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Anxiety shows up to check that you’re okay, not to tell you that you’re not. It’s your brain’s way of saying, ‘Not sure - there might be some trouble here, but there might not be, but just in case you should be ready for it if it comes, which it might not – but just in case you’d better be ready to run or fight – but it might be totally fine.’ Brains can be so confusing sometimes! 

You have a brain that is strong, healthy and hardworking. It’s magnificent and it’s doing a brilliant job of doing exactly what brains are meant to do – keep you alive. 

Your brain is fabulous, but it needs you to be the boss. Here’s how. When you feel anxious, ask yourself two questions:

- ‘Do I feel like this because I’m in danger or because there’s something brave or important I need to do?’

- Then, ‘Is this a time for me to be safe (sometimes it might be) or is this a time for me to be brave?

And remember, you will always have ‘brave’ in you, and anxiety doesn’t change that a bit.♥️

#positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #parenting #childanxiety #heywarrior #heywarriorbook
The temptation to fix their big feelings can be seismic. Often this is connected to needing to ease our own discomfort at their discomfort, which is so very normal.

Big feelings in them are meant to raise (sometimes big) feelings in us. This is all a healthy part of the attachment system. It happens to mobilise us to respond to their distress, or to protect them if their distress is in response to danger.

Emotion is energy in motion. We don’t want to bury it, stop it, smother it, and we don’t need to fix it. What we need to do is make a safe passage for it to move through them. 

Think of emotion like a river. Our job is to hold the ground strong and steady at the banks so the river can move safely, without bursting the banks.

However hard that river is racing, they need to know we can be with the river (the emotion), be with them, and handle it. This might feel or look like you aren’t doing anything, but actually it’s everything.

The safety that comes from you being the strong, steady presence that can lovingly contain their big feelings will let the emotional energy move through them and bring the brain back to calm.

Eventually, when they have lots of experience of us doing this with them, they will learn to do it for themselves, but that will take time and experience. The experience happens every time you hold them steady through their feelings. 

This doesn’t mean ignoring big behaviour. For them, this can feel too much like bursting through the banks, which won’t feel safe. Sometimes you might need to recall the boundary and let them know where the edges are, while at the same time letting them see that you can handle the big of the feeling. Its about loving and leading all at once. ‘It’s okay to be angry. It’s not okay to use those words at me.’

Ultimately, big feelings are a call for support. Sometimes support looks like breathing and being with. Sometimes it looks like showing them you can hold the boundary, even when they feel like they’re about to burst through it. And if they’re using spicy words to get us to back off, it might look like respecting their need for space but staying in reaching distance, ‘Ok, I’m right here whenever you need.’♥️
We all need certain things to feel safe enough to put ourselves into the world. Kids with anxiety have magic in them, every one of them, but until they have a felt sense of safety, it will often stay hidden.

‘Safety’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what they feel. At school, they might have the safest, most loving teacher in the safest, most loving school. This doesn’t mean they will feel enough relational safety straight away that will make it easier for them to do hard things. They can still do those hard things, but those things are going to feel bigger for a while. This is where they’ll need us and their other anchor adult to be patient, gentle, and persistent.

Children aren’t meant to feel safe with and take the lead from every adult. It’s not the adult’s role that makes the difference, but their relationship with the child.

Children are no different to us. Just because an adult tells them they’ll be okay, it doesn’t mean they’ll feel it or believe it. What they need is to be given time to actually experience the person as being safe, supportive and ready to catch them.

Relationship is key. The need for safety through relationship isn’t an ‘anxiety thing’. It’s a ‘human thing’. When we feel closer to the people around us, we can rise above the mountains in our way. When we feel someone really caring about us, we’re more likely to open up to their influence
and learn from them.

But we have to be patient. Even for teachers with big hearts and who undertand the importance of attachment relationships, it can take time.

Any adult at school can play an important part in helping a child feel safe – as long as that adult is loving, warm, and willing to do the work to connect with that child. It might be the librarian, the counsellor, the office person, a teacher aide. It doesn’t matter who, as long as it is someone who can be available for that child at dropoff or when feelings get big during the day and do little check-ins along the way.

A teacher, or any important adult can make a lasting difference by asking, ‘How do I build my relationship with this child so s/he trusts me when I say, ‘I’ve got you, and I know you can do this.’♥️
There is a beautiful ‘everythingness’ in all of us. The key to living well is being able to live flexibly and more deliberately between our edges.

So often though, the ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’ we inhale in childhood and as we grow, lead us to abandon some of those precious, needed parts of us. ‘Don’t be angry/ selfish/ shy/ rude. She’s not a maths person.’ ‘Don’t argue.’ Ugh.

Let’s make sure our children don’t cancel parts of themselves. They are everything, but not always all at once. They can be anxious and brave. Strong and soft. Angry and calm. Big and small. Generous and self-ish. Some things they will find hard, and they can do hard things. None of these are wrong ways to be. What trips us up is rigidity, and only ever responding from one side of who we can be.

We all have extremes or parts we favour. This is what makes up the beautiful, complex, individuality of us. We don’t need to change this, but the more we can open our children to the possibility in them, the more options they will have in responding to challenges, the everyday, people, and the world. 

We can do this by validating their ‘is’ without needing them to be different for a while in the moment, and also speaking to the other parts of them when we can. 

‘Yes maths is hard, and I know you can do hard things. How can I help?’

‘I can see how anxious you feel. That’s so okay. I also know you have brave in you.’

‘I love your ‘big’ and the way you make us laugh. You light up the room.’ And then at other times: ‘It can be hard being in a room with new people can’t it. It’s okay to be quiet. I could see you taking it all in.’

‘It’s okay to want space from people. Sometimes you just want your things and yourself for yourself, hey. I feel like that sometimes too. I love the way you know when you need this.’ And then at other times, ‘You looked like you loved being with your friends today. I loved watching you share.’

The are everything, but not all at once. Our job is to help them live flexibly and more deliberately between the full range of who they are and who they can be: anxious/brave; kind/self-ish; focussed inward/outward; angry/calm. This will take time, and there is no hurry.♥️

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