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Building Resilience When Life Truly Sucks

19 April 2016

Do you sometimes get tired of others extolling the joys of chasing your dreams?  All those people who seem to be living their dream and make it sound all so easy.  It makes you want to scream; “You don’t know what I have to deal with every day! So don’t tell me to go live my dreams!!”

Ok. I get it. Sometimes all that positivity can make you want to throw up. I’m generally a ‘half glass full’ kind of person but I don’t think I’m the most positive person in the world. In fact there are days when I let myself wallow in throes of negativity and self-doubt. I think that’s being human. And to be totally honest, I believe it’s healthy to a certain extent. It’s not pretending to be ok or feel something else when you really feel like crap. 

So this is not a ‘rah-rah’ speech about how you can and should conquer the world. I don’t respond particularly well to ‘rah-rah’ pep talks so I won’t subject you to one either.  Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the constant pursuit of the life you’ve always dreamed of.  I also believe that the journey is as important and meaningful as the destination…..and the reality that you will, at times, experience severe turbulence along the way.

This is how I see it when things get really rough…

Be real and let yourself feel what you feel 

Allow yourself to have bad days because life can sometimes truly suck. And no amount of positive thinking will change how you feel at that moment (at least it doesn’t work for me). During those times, you can try psyching yourself out of that funk. Or I find that a good healthy dose of self-love works just as well. It’s the perfect time to put away the guilt and pull out that guilty pleasure of self-indulgence. 

Whether it’s retail therapy, binge watching TV interspersed with comfort food, or if exercise is what lifts your spirits (really?!)… an energetic 3 hour workout at the gym. Whatever works for you. I would only ask that you give your self indulgence a time limit. After which, even if you don’t feel like it, you’ll at least feel a lot better about picking yourself back up and getting on with things.

Don’t let your (temporary) funk define the rest of your life

We all have bad days …or months (yikes). But it’s the hope of a better tomorrow that keeps us going. In her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”, Brene Brown points out that hope is a cognitive process that’s a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity to pursue them and believing in ourselves.

The life you dream of is your hope of a better tomorrow. It may seem like a pipe dream now but we owe it to ourselves not to give it up entirely. Keep your dreams in your line of sight even as you battle through the bad days. We all need hope to keep us going.

Take it one small step … one day … at a time

While I believe in the power of setting big goals, when things get rough, it’s ok to set your sights a little lower. Be clear about what you want long term, and take small steps in that direction. Steps that are attainable given the realities of today. Ask yourself - what’s the one thing that will move me towards the life I want, and make this year better than the last? That’s not playing a smaller game. It’s about thriving even during life’s rough patches.

Remember bad days are temporary. Your turning point to some really good days may be just around the corner. Hang in there. Don’t bury what you truly feel. Find someone to talk to, practice some self-love and don’t ever give up on the hope of a better tomorrow.

As always, wishing you onwards and upwards in your journey …..