I was speaking to a close friend the other day about life choices and the progression of things over time. He was saying he felt discouraged in the situation in which he found himself. He explained to me how the last ten years or so had played out in his life and how in some ways he exceeded his own expectations and in other ways, he is disappointed.
I think we have all, at some point, felt this way. Sometimes I still do; I wonder if I am making the right choices and if I am being true to myself as much as I possibly can. That’s when I came to the realisation that it’s really not that easy to be happy with your life. It’s not that simple to say that you are doing your best and that everything happens for a reason and that what is meant to be will. What I find most frustrating at times is being told that if I just believe, it will come true. These thoughts certainly have their place but they should be put into context. Once again I think balance is key here in finding out where you stand and where you want to stand in this crazy world, in order to make it as lovely as it can be!
- Reconnecting with your past
Right, we all have a past. We all have a story. Finding a balance between “everything happens for a reason” and “what can I learn from this” is essential. Many people are able to simply say that there was a reason for everything and that it’s in the past now and it’s time to move on. Others find it hard to accept and understand. They judge themselves and lose confidence and hope. Though the two option need not be opposites, they often are. I tend to (more often that I am happy to admit), lean toward the latter. I have a tendency to really be hard on myself and take it all on. I have had to learn to apply the acceptance approach on many a situation; some of which I was entirely to blame and others where I was the least at fault. Nevertheless, the process was a testament to how invaluable self acceptance and love is. Being patient with yourself and recognising when it is time to learn is what makes us grow as humans.
When you feel it is actively your fault, it can be so painfully difficult to sort through. Why were you so stupid and why did you not know better? How could this happen again? When will you learn? etc. I could go on but let’s focus on how we can address these thoughts. Instead of looking at how and why this happened again/you did this again, why not understand the root of the actions that led to this outcome. For example, how did you not learn by now that not doing your work regularly, would lead you to not doing well. How about this: “Why do I find it hard to apply myself. Why do I struggle to sit down, focus, and complete my work? How can I start with small steps towards doing better?”
When you feel you were a participant, it can be tricky because you know someone is to blame for what you are struggling with but you blame yourself for sticking around and putting up with it. This and the above with often overlap because we often, in difficult times, blame other, then ourselves, then others, then come back to ourselves. Try to be honest with yourself and of course without placing any actual blame, identify and recognise what has happened in the most rational way possible as if you were just telling someone else’s story. Then you can move to how you feel as the person in the story.
What we are doing here is unpacking the problematic outcome by isolating potential behaviours and patterns that are leading to this outcome. What we tend to do instead is look at the consequences, qualify them as disastrous, then assume that the fix is too hard and we get discouraged not knowing where to begin in “fixing ourselves” or moving on or getting better.
What do we do now? Before the panic (or any kind of self harm) happens….
Identify and recognise:
What has happened? What keeps happening? What is going on? What am I afraid may happen?
Then: What am I feeling? How am I feeling it? What am I thinking? How is my body reacting? Why am I having this reaction? How is this making my mind and emotions spiral into a worse state?
The point here is to let it all out. Just say it, feel it, think it, completely let it out. Do not be afraid to be in contact with fears, insecurities, pains, failures, and so on. Have control over them not the other way around; this is how that begins.
You must now accept all this. This does mean taking the blame or not. Nor does it mean to “accept defeat” and then find a reason to not move forward or to justify negative actions toward yourself or others. Of course, it also does not mean blaming it on someone else. The point of accepting is to let everything settle. You are not trying to identify, nor are you trying to investigate for solutions or strategies. Just accept. This is what happened. This is how I am feeling. This is what I fear. etc. This is it. I am aware, I am present in this situation and I am accepting it. Nothing will happen in the next few moments as I take the time to simply get on top of this and accept it. This is it right now.
Ok. Now, we complete the break down and target the behaviours and patterns that need improvement. Whether this is entirely you (not studying well and failing your exams for example) or a bad break up, or even an abusive relationship of any kind, then you need to see what you can do. Not because you are to blame but because you need to be proactive in bettering yourself and making better choices for yourself. The point here, is in fact not to place blame at all. That is a pointless exercise that only leads to anger. At this time, you need to be honest with yourself and seek help if you must, and start the steps toward a better you.
An important component to moving on is letting go. Keeping in mind what you need to work on and toward is important, but so is letting go of the past. It is important to keep the lesson and the fruit of the situation in order to fuel you toward and better tomorrow, but do not keep the shell and other parts of it that will drag you down and make you go backward.
2. Everything does happen for a reason
Yes, this quote has its meaning and value when its right. The reason things happen are because all kinds of things happen every day. The reason why this particularly prominent thing happened is because you made the choice to make it count and learn from it and grown. You changed the story you were living. You were confronted with another “this will either make you or break you moment” and you made the choice. Remember, these big famous quotes became so in hindsight. When people survived and strived, they realised that everything happened for a reason: to make them wake up and live life as active participants, whilst being filled with strength and love; both of which are the fuel of living.
3. Be as true to yourself as you can
Things change. Being true to yourself does not mean to stay in one line if your heart desires another. It does not mean that your dreams cannot change and that you must “obey” certain thoughts or feelings. Being true to yourself is accepting that things change, that life does not always go as planned, that other times it does, and that other times you have no idea what is going to happen or what you want. Being true to yourself is living in the NOW that is your existence and being there with yourself. Mindfulness is in fact the key to unlocking every door in your life.
4. If you believe, it will come true…
Why? Because, you understand what you are believing in and you understand that achieving is not just dreaming but working hard on yourself and your life. Also, because you are being healthy, mentally, emotionally, and physically, to attain that higher sense of purpose and fulfilment. Your choices today will affect your tomorrow. Every today has a tomorrow, but it also has a yesterday. Like that, every today becomes another moment’s yesterday. Be mindful and channel your attention and energy properly for all your tomorrows so they become your great todays, valuable yesterdays, and powerful tomorrows.
5. In a nutshell
You need to find out how you can create better patterns in your thought process that will lead to healthier emotions and actions, so that ultimately, you are living a healthy and fulfilling life that you are happy to live.
Dreaming and having hope are the salt of your earth and oceans. They are the seeds planted. Hard work and determination are the fire that light the way and set everything in motion. Strength and love are what make your tide and waves. They make the trees blow. They are the fuel and energy. All these together bring your world together and create peace, balance, serenity, and joy.