It would have helped. Imagine being born into a world that came with an instruction manual. You do not have to learn things the hard way because you are forewarned about life’s ups and downs and you knew all along what to prepare for.

A great thought perhaps but life does not work that way and it could be slightly dull and boring, don’t you think?

I think we are here to experience our time on earth in all its glory, including the gory detail of every single disappointment and the amazing thrill of every high.  That does not mean life is easy. It moves like the ebb and flow of the ocean, but in the end, it is ours to have, to hold and to enjoy.

Sometimes one only realise in hindsight that everything worked out exactly the way it was supposed to. That some of the most upsetting disappointments meant you were saved from yourself, from someone else or from a negative experience that you did not need at the time. Be it a romance that you had your heart and soul invested into, for it never to work out in the end and then years later you realise just how wrong it would have been for you? Or a big purchase you were so excited to make, but it fell through and then a couple of months later something better came along? Or the perfect job offer that you were told was yours, and then the position that you so needed to get back on financial track went to another candidate that is less qualified and experienced than you? Were you saved from yourself, someone else, or a negative, time wasting experience? Perspective in hindsight often lifts the veil on the truth that we cannot fully phantom or appreciate at the time.

Often, when all else fails a new beginning is signalled. Doors are closed firmly because others need to be opened and when things are hard and energy is low, it can be extremely difficult to put one foot in front of the other with a positive mindset. So what can help?

Every person handles things differently but here are some ideas:

Keep your mind from racing. We can fall into patterns of thinking that become a cycle of negativity that is difficult to get out of, and it can happen without us realising it.  This becomes a mental pattern that is hard to break. When the theme is the last thought in your head at night and the first one in the morning, it is time to intervene. There is a saying that goes “what we think about, we bring about.” Be more mindful of your thoughts and what you are telling your inner self to believe.

Take a break.  Being wound up in a ball of constant worry is not good for your health, your mood or those around you. Find a way to take a break, even if is just an hour or two to relax and gather your thoughts. Ask for help where necessary.

Adopt a helicopter view. If you could look back at this situation in 5 years time, will it still matter? Most of the time it won’t but if it will, remember that life happens and sometimes it is out of your control. The clock cannot be turned back and all you can do is try. So do what you can. Take one day at a time, one small step after the other, and bit by bit you will get to the other side. Nothing lasts forever and remember when you are down, the only way is up. The sun will shine again.

It hardly is as severe as you think. When in the moment of extreme suffering it may feel like the world is ending and everything is hopeless but unless there is a real possibility that life on earth – and you with it – might end, it is not over and it is not the end. Simple as that.

Every moment matters. When life is hard it can be all-consuming, it can suck us in and we might miss the joy of the present moment. This to me is the greatest disadvantage of hardship, it steals today. Remember that this day will never come around again. Make the most of it.

We are shaped by our life experiences and there are always growth and learning in hard times. That is what makes us interesting and beautiful and resilient  – and wise and appreciative of realness.

This reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena”, there is something special about being involved in a situation that requires tenacity and skill as opposed to being on the sidelines, watching as a spectator only.

Hang in there brave one, this too shall pass. Life does not come with an instruction manual but you are doing great!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. – Theodore Roosevelt


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