Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. In fact, you were warned time and time again that it was going to be hard. And there would be times when you’d want to give up and stop trying so damn hard. That you’d be betrayed, lied to, rejected, cheated on, and stabbed in the heart. That even your most trusted allies would turn around and abandon you without so much as a second glance back.
Some of you may have noticed that I’ve been eerily quiet for the better part of the month, and I apologize for that. Times have been hard as of late, and I’ve been unable to produce quality writing. But I believe I’ve found my groove again and I’m more than excited to be back. I learned a few things over the past couple of months that I wish to share with you today.
1. People are more willing to help than you realize. I know it can seem like reaching out to your friends may seem like you’re asking too much of them. But remember that that’s what they’re there for, and if they truly care about you, then they’ll be more than willing to drop everything to be by your side. Whether it means lending an ear to listen to you vent, sharing a quart of red velvet ice cream, or just keeping you distracted in general, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not a burden.
2. You’re so much stronger than you think. There’s a lot of self-defeating talk that can happen when you’re going through a rough patch. I’ll never get through this in one piece, I don’t have what it takes, I want to give up – sound familiar? But look at yourself now. You’re still here, aren’t you? You made it through yesterday and the day before that. Everything may not be the way you want it to be, but you’re still standing, and that’s what’s important. [Tweet “Life will take a dump on you from time to time; you will win if you learn how to get back up.”]Think about the last time you went through a hardship – personal loss, job rejection, or what have you. Yes, it hurts, but you eventually moved past it, didn’t you? Take it one day at a time. Hell, one hour, one minute at a time if you have to. You’ll make it.
3. “Time heals all pain” is bullshit unless you do something about it. It does get better – as long as you believe that it will. If you have an unhealthy attachment to something or someone, it’s time to come out of denial and face the truth. The healing process will take much, much longer unless you take proactive steps to move forward. The first time I had my heart broken – shortly before I turned 17 – it took me 4 years to fully get over it. Why so long? Because I wasn’t doing anything to help myself. I became a hermit, I talked to nobody about my problems, and I refused to let go of the past. Looking back, I can only wonder how much less pain I could have gone through had I constantly surrounded myself with unconditional love. I promise you’ll snap back much quicker if you’re willing to put yourself out there, get out of your comfort zone, and embrace change.
4. Don’t let your emotions consume you. A friend offered some new perspective the other night that I thought was absolutely brilliant. Imagine yourself as one big bubble. That’s a bubble of Happy. Now in that big bubble are lots of smaller bubbles floating around; those bubbles are Irritated, Sad, Angry, Jealous, etc. When you feel one of those emotions, let yourself feel it – fully but momentarily – but then take a step back, breathe, and remind yourself that you’re still Happy overall. You may bump into the emotion again as you go about your day, but remember that it should only be temporary. Just a teeny little bubble in the grand scheme of things.
Emotions are so unreliable. One minute, you’re content; the next, you’re shaking with rage. Learn how to manage your emotions and not the other way around. Emotions lie all the time and are not to be trusted. Part of maturity involves having the patience to not make rash decisions based on how you’re feeling at any given moment. Let the emotions pass.
5. When in doubt, lift. Some of you lose your appetites when you’re stressed; others may turn to emotional eating. I fall into the former category, and when I’m not eating properly, I’m also not working out properly. Everything that I normally love doing – such as writing and connecting with people – feels like a chore all of a sudden and my heart drops thinking about engaging in any of it. It was really a mental battle the last few weeks trying to get myself to go to the gym. I knew that I would only feel better afterward, yet taking the first steps to get there was the hardest part. I found myself looking for excuses not to lift: I have way too much work to do, I need to do laundry right now, I’m feeling pretty weak today, the gym will be packed right now.
But how could I forget what a godsend lifting has been for me? It’s saved me once before; it’ll rescue me again now. There’s really not much that beats pushing and pulling a lot of weight. Emotions still bothering you? Take your anger and your hate and your grief and channel it into your squats. Along with laughter, lifting is the best medicine out there.
Will it ever get better? you ask yourself.
And the answer is yes. The answer is that whatever you think to be true of yourself will eventually become so. The world has pushed you down, and it will take strength to get back up – but when you do, you will be that much better for it. Hardships are not thrown your way for no reason; you face them because by dealing with them, you develop character.
Is that all you’ve got? Come at me. I will come out on top.