Five Things To Remember When Life Is Tough

It’s only May and I’ve had enough of the curveballs…(DO YOU HEAR ME, 2017?!)

I’ve been stretched and challenged in ways I didn’t anticipate. I’ve been emotional, more so than usual, and I’ve felt beaten down. There have been feelings of hopelessness and dread. The hardest part of all this isn’t what I’ve gone through and it isn’t the emotions attached to it.

The hardest part has been my inability to choose joy.

Look, you all know that I’m all for riding your feelings, not fighting them. Every feeling is valid and deserves to be felt. However, I also believe that feelings are no place to set up camp.

Feel what you need to feel and MOVE ON. (DO YOU HEAR ME, IDA?!)

I haven’t been able to choose joy. It’s been too hard.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy but there’s the tiniest bit of me, in my core, that is discontent and well, we just can’t have that; that’s where true joy lives.

This morning I woke up and I felt different. I was actually looking forward to the day. The silliness returned, the smile came easily, and nothing bothered me.

THIS is how it should be.

I’ve been praying every night and every morning: please fill me with Your joy and Your peace. I quickly remember that it’s already there; it’s just a matter of me accepting it. Like clockwork my prayer changes: Please help me get out of the way.

Today was easy to choose joy; I feel it warming the pit that has felt so desolate over the last couple of months.

My head is clear and the facts I’ve been trying to convince myself of feel like they’re, finally, firmly rooted.

Bad stuff happens. Yes.

Tough stuff happens. Yes.

Life happens. Yes.

Difficult situations are bound to take residence in your life; you can either choose to make your way through it, or cower in the corner and let it make its way through you. Sometimes you need a reminder to help get to that place of joy.

The Tough Stuff Won’t Go On Forever

There is an end point to uncomfortable times, there always is. You just have to prepare yourself to be patient and continue living your life amidst the discomfort.

There’s a Bright Side

So maybe something was taken from you, maybe someone left, maybe you lost something, maybe…. No matter what, I believe there’s a bright side. I force myself to look at all the great things in my life instead of focusing on what’s going wrong or what’s missing.

Don’t Believe The Lies

I don’t know about you but when I’m involved in something unexpected and unwanted, it usually brings up feelings of self-doubt and my self-esteem takes a hit. I wonder what horrible part of me caused x, y, z to happen. While it’s important to examine your role in situations, it doesn’t do anyone any good to start doubting yourself or being unkind to yourself. Know who you are and stand firm on that because the lies may creep in.

You’ve Made It Through Before

One of the most helpful reminders is that I am no stranger to heartache. I don’t think anyone is. We’ve all been through something that has hurt us or tested us. The thing to hold onto is the simple fact that you survived it. Who’s to say you can’t do it again?

It’ll Only Hurt As Much As You Allow It

This is the toughest for me to want to internalize. How the heck can I be in control of what I’m feeling?! Let’s be honest, it’s easy: I choose to continue feeling a certain way. I’ve reacted to the situation, which is acceptable, but now I’m constantly allowing the situation into my head. I’m turning it over and over and digging up my initial reaction so that it has become a semi-permanent state of mind. No. It’s not ok. Rather than worry myself, I can decide to actively try not to think about it. What does this look like for me: spending time with people I love, doing things I love, basically just putting myself in situations where I have no time or room to wallow.

Sure, some of the things I try to remind myself of seem cheesy or cliché but I don’t care. For me, they’re true and when I allow them to, they work.

I’m writing this in hopes that putting it out there will help someone else who’s going through stuff…but mostly I’m posting this for myself, so that I can look back and read this and KNOW that everything will be ok and that not only is it possible to be joyful but it’s necessary.

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