Storms happen. One moment you’re sailing on peaceful waters, then all of a sudden the sky turns gray and it seems like you’re being swallowed whole by crashing waves, with nary a life raft. And yet, you’re expected to keep smiling, keep the faith, and know that the sun will shine tomorrow. That’s all nice and dandy, and sure looks good in encouraging “thinking of you” cards, but in real life it is the most difficult thing to keep a smile on your face when your main goal is to simply keep your head above water. But somehow, you must.
If you ever have the same contemplation as the sage Grandmaster Flash, and find yourself wondering how you keep from going under, it is helpful to identify the specific things in your life that keep you afloat. We can restore hope within ourselves by reconnecting with people, values, memories, and goals that propel us to keep going. To beat being pulled under, and find your way back to the surface of safe waters, try these hope-restoring methods.
- THINK OF THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE THE MOST AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR YOU TO REMAIN A PART OF THEIR LIVES. This is an instant answer to that devious voice in our head that asks, “why bother?” Practicing this method arms you with clear answers for why you should bother – because your children need you, because your mother would be lost without you, because your friends depend on you, because there are people who you love and want to protect.
- REMEMBER WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF. You’ve made it this far, and I’m sure you’ve done more than just cry your way through life. There have been challenges that you’ve overcome that are far tougher than what you’re facing now. And when you thought you couldn’t take anymore challenges in the past, you did it – you survived. You’re made of good stuff. Remind yourself of that.
- CONJURE UP POSITIVE MEMORIES. Some things just made us really happy. There are memories stored in our minds that pop up every once in a while and bring a smile to our faces. Did you know that you can intentionally recall those same memories to shift your current mood? If you feel like you’re being overtaken by the waves of life, at any moment you can intentionally connect with a positive memory and immerse yourself in the scene with all of your senses and your mind will actually believe it is there. Every once in a while, it’s okay to transport yourself to a better place until you actually feel better.
- DREAM UP LOFTY GOALS. Do you know what you want in life? Can you experience passion for what you want to do? When you feel like you’re drowning in the deep blue, it can help to think on what you personally want to accomplish, giving yourself no limits, and not worrying about whether or not they’re realistic dreams at the moment. Just ‘go there,’ allowing yourself to have the wildest, most imaginative goals to let your brain get busy exercising some creative thought.
It may rain, but your life doesn’t have to be flooded with unwanted emotions. By remembering that major storms only last a season, you will be able to keep yourself afloat through self-encouragement, connecting with the power that lives in you, and practicing methods that allow you to kick your way back to the top of the waters to again witness that proverbial sunshine.
The toughest days are the most meaningful. They are tests of our strength. On these days we get a front row seat to what we’re really made of. Until we face trials, our ability is in theory, because no one really knows what they would do in a situation until they are in it. So be thankful for the days that you get to really live, instead of just conceptually live.
Some of us run towards challenges. Some run away from them. The common denominator is that challenges always come. It is best to face them, and consider the curve balls coming at you as an obstacle course – there to help you get more efficient at maneuvering difficult situations as you become more adept at rolling with the punches. This shift in perspective of challenges helps you move from thinking the world is against you when things go wrong, to realizing that even what is seemingly negative can work in your favor. Understanding this is understanding how “all things work together for good,” for those who know Love. This perspective helps you to love your life in the good times and the not-so-good times, and to remain in a place of appreciation and gratitude for what is offered to you.
If you wonder how some people seem to withstand storms with smiles on their faces and hope in their heart, the mystery is here solved. They live from a framework of “this too shall pass,” and “what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger.” The fact is, it’s safe to say that all of the adversity that you’ve experienced in your life hasn’t killed you – and I bet you’re stronger for it, wiser because of it, and have experience that you can share with others because you’ve survived and grown from it.
So, welcome your obstacles. See them as a gift. Thank the difficult people in your life for being your greatest teachers. Wink at your bad days as you tell yourself that what goes up must come down, so after being down you must be on your way back up. Embrace the flow of life. Tie up your shoes to give your ankles adequate support for those tough times that are handcrafted to make you tougher.
There are some days that you know that everything has changed. It may not be because of anything drastic, but maybe a slight shift in perspective that allows you to move, and engage, and be in life in a completely different way. An openness to new things, and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone may overtake you – and for a moment, you are unafraid.
When these days come, allow yourself to move and flow through it without interrupting the process and without letting anyone else interrupt the process. Negativity can wait and doubts can be reserved for a later time – if you decide to ever pick them up again. Or maybe you decide that you don’t need the negativity or doubt at all, and that you are better off staying in this space of freedom, hope, willingness, and belief. If this is the case, then today will be the first day of a brand new life for you.
There may be no parade, but there is certainly something to celebrate. And maybe no one else is in attendance, but there is certainly a party – a praise party, with the honored guests being you and the One that made it happen for you: your Creator. Today, you celebrate an awakening to your true love with a fresh perspective. And show gratitude for these moments of breakthrough and change that continue to happen in your life.
There is a grumbling.
Beneath the feet of the wandering tribes the earth trembles.
Tremors felt to the core of the soul.
So long disconnected from that place, so long ignored
But there is something undeniable
Too dramatic to be ignored.
Not forgotten, but repressed – borne of post-traumatic stress.
Breaking out beneath the surface.
Time to face the great unrest.
Approaching the future with great expectations.
I don’t see failures, only lessons learned.
Ambition and passion burn brighter than fear.
Everyday that’s survived is another stripe earned.