“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. And I’ve been through some tough times, and I know a lot of people can recall tough times, and maybe are going through some tough times right now, but they don’t last.” ~ Alonzo Mourning
I have been through some really tough times in my life. I have been through times whereby I have been so miserable, it felt like I just want to curl up and rot in a hole somewhere. Looking back, I realized of course that I have made myself miserable. But at the time when you are so miserable, it was as if you can’t control it. It’s like there’s something within you that just keeps pulling you into more and more misery. That’s when you have to make a conscious choice and observe your thoughts and emotions. And then you will start to see what are the thoughts floating around in your mind that is making you feel miserable.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Anyway, I have learned some really great things that I want to share with you which will help you feel better during tough times.
1. Let go of the need to “fix” yourself.
Realize that you are not a problem that needs fixing. That’s different from saying that there is a problem in my life that I need to find a solution for. But when you identify yourself as a problem or that you are broken or that there’s something wrong with you, you feel shitty about yourself. Just by saying to yourself and recognizing that you are not broken and that it’s just a case of you having this problem in your life, you will feel better about yourself. And then it’s about you taking steps to find a solution to this problem.
I know you have heard this a hundred times before but I’m going to say it again. let go of the past! Why are you doing that to yourself? When you dwell in the past, you make yourself a victim. Dwelling on what should have been or what shouldn’t have been or what might have been. A neat trick that I use is to force myself to look around at my surroundings. Suppose I’m sitting on my balcony looking at the beautiful trees in front of me, I will say to myself: “Look it’s not real, that doesn’t exist anymore.” Whatever is the problem from the past that’s haunting me. Instead, I will focus on looking at the beautiful trees.
It is quite common for many people to worry about the future. Because the future is uncertain and most people fear uncertainty so they worry about the future. You just have to give up your need to know about what happens tomorrow.
4. Let go of the need for perfection.
Embrace both sides of life. Know that we live in a world of duality. There is no success without failure. There is no happiness without sadness. There is no high without low. So, you might as well embrace both sides of life. It will help you feel a lot better when you can see that there are both sides to life and you accept it when the low comes. Because with acceptance comes inner peace.
5. Let go of judgments. Be gentle with yourself.
“I’m a bad mom.” “My life is miserable.” “I haven’t achieved anything in my life yet.” “I’m not pretty enough.” “I’m not good enough.” All these are you judging yourself and your life. Every time you catch yourself judging yourself or your life, just say to yourself: “I don’t need that.”
6. Let go of the need to compare yourself with others.
Let go of the heartbreaking cruelty of comparing and competing with others. Realize that you are on your own path and that the other person has his/her own path. Even when the other person has a better life than you or does better than you is not going to take anything away from your path. Your path is your path.
“I should be married with 2 kids by now.” “I should be successful by now.” When you let go of such expectations of yourself, you will feel a lot better. And let go of future expectations of yourself. You can still set goals but let go of the attachment to these goals. Because there is no guarantee that you will achieve these goals. So, in the event that you don’t achieve your goal, you won’t set yourself up for a massive disappointment.