All of us have moments when we feel overwhelmed by life problems or huge goals in front of us. Sometimes everything goes wrong, other times it is just one big problem or a seemingly giant project.
Aside from the big issues, I think most of us would admit that our lives aren’t ideal or where we would like them to be better in some area or another. This can make us feel that no matter how hard we work we never seem to have enough money, no matter how much we diet and exercise we could always stand to lose a few pounds, and no matter how much we invest in relationships there always seems to be something missing.
Complete contentment has a way of eluding us when we feel like that and that there is always something stopping us from feeling truly happy.
When we voice these feelings we tell ourselves that it is a First World complaint, that worse things happen at sea and all of the other home spun wisdom we have heard throughout our lives as a way to placate the lack of ease.
But why shouldn’t we feel fulfilled in our lives? It’s not too much to ask for, is it?
I believe that we can begin to improve our lives and situations whenever we choose. Yes, there may be many barriers to this, but everyone can take that first step to fulfilment, achievement or resolution.
Break it down and ask yourself: What is the one thing I can do today that will get me toward a better life?
For me it is all starts with prioritising. If you make a list of all your problems or goals it is easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that are causing concern. You will think you are never going to get through them all.
Take a step back and choose the one most pressing issue or goal, the problem or area that is causing most heartache or dissatisfaction.
Whether it is a bill that must be paid, a problem at work, breakdown in a relationship or achieving personal goals you can work each day toward resolution and improvement.
Work through the steps to resolve the problem. Take one definitive action per day that will get you closer to the goal.
The boost you will get from taking definitive actions toward resolving that one big problem or attaining that one big goal will give you an incredible sense of achievement.
This will then give you momentum. With your main problem or goal being worked on daily, you will realise that the feeling of helplessness is starting to dissipate and that you can attack your next project or problem head on. After all, now that you’ve conquered that big issue everything else will seem trivial in comparison.
It is important to understand that everyone feels overwhelmed or dissatisfied from time to time. The key is to take a step back, identify the main cause of these feelings of negativity and tackle it head on with one key daily action that will take you toward a more positive life.
I have been having a series of what I perceive as “bad things” happen this year. To be honest it has been bad on and off the past 5 years but this year has SUCKED! My heart has broken into a million pieces over many things. I have suffered loss upon loss and have felt most days like I am stuck in some kind of unending nightmare.
I have absolutely 100% hated it.
I have moaned, cried, kicked, screamed, pled for it to end, cried some more and been a misery. I don’t like life not going my way in only one area. I hate it even more when my entire life topples like dominoes, one after the other.
After much self –pity, justifiable grief, humiliation and rebellion I picked myself up. It became time to put my big girl panties back on and decide to make this season a blessing and a time I will have made some life enriching changes.
The fact is this: Bad times are part of life. No matter how smart, wealthy or lucky we are we all face tragedy, loss or hardship at some point in our lives. It is how we face and walk through our hard times that determine how rich the experience can be and whether or not we come out better for it or more broken.
Havelock Ellis, a famous British physician and psychologist, was famously quoted as saying “Pain and death are part of life. To reject them is to reject life itself”. It is an interesting thought. Hardship, loss, pain and tragedy are a part of life. They are a part of the experience of living and all of that experience is a gift. To reject the experience of the bad times is to reject all the beauty of life.
Here are a few strategies I have learned in the bad times to set me up to flourish when the good times come back around.
- Acceptance is the First Step towards Healing
Being aware of and accepting that bad times are inevitable in life is the initial step to getting the best out of our bad times. When we avoid the reality of the loss or the unlooked for change, we cause ourselves persistent suffering.
I can tell you from experience that we also make very bad choices when we continue to hold on for longer than we should. I have made colossal ones that have cost me deeply by not accepting what has happened and it’s implications.
The sooner we accept the new situation, the new painful reality and all its implications, then the better decisions we will make to care for ourselves, physically, emotionally and financially.
Denial and holding on means a world of further trouble and keeps us trapped in despair, hopelessness and powerlessness.
Bad times are inevitable, the suffering caused by the bad times is optional.
Acceptance and letting go means you are suddenly opened up to a new world of exciting possibilities and options. Let go of the past.
Let go of the hurt. Let go of the old. Accept what is and you will find yourself on a new adventure.
- Realistically Act on the Truth
Once we have accepted our situation, we need to develop a realistic plan of action. The plan of action should be within the confines of the resources we have (emotionally, physically and otherwise) and within our best interests. Take stock of what will nourish you, excite you, inspire you and give you hope.
In your plan for moving forward, act quickly and with your own well-being the priority as you plan to move forward. If you do, you will make smart and loving choices for yourself and your loved ones.
When acting on the problem, ensure that your actions bring the best out of you and bring the best to the situation and others.
Solutions that leave us poorer and weaker than before should be avoided and inaction will create further problems.
- Have a Strong Group of Supporters
We need support. We need love and we need a cheering squad. Human beings were born to live as a community and in relationship. Sharing our bad experiences with people not only sets us free of them but also unveils better options that we never thought of. They also provide a soft cushion in the overwhelm.
I found that in my darkest hours this year that one thing I am immensely rich in is love. I have the best of friends and family. I have people and having people instantly lightens the load and creates moments of joy. The most amazing network formed round me like a tight hedge of comfort and protection. Old friends flew across the world to be with me and close ones brought me food, love and sat and let me cry. I needed it. It kept me alive some days when the grief was threatening to overwhelm. It kept me hopeful, gave me some relief and carried me when I couldn’t.
This one area alone I would encourage above all others. It has been the biggest source of joy and richness for me and really did show me that what I saw as a bad time revealed tremendous gifts of loving people.
- Be Authentic
This is a hard one but liberating. It is also related to the previous point. When you are in these times, it is very natural to withdraw and only try and brave it alone. It is so important to be completely yourself and to be sharing this time with people.
It is amazing the gifts hardships can give us and the gift of learning authenticity is one that sticks. When you are stripped of all the things that prop you up and you are a big ball of pain, it is hard and destructive to pretend to be anything other.
You need to talk it all out. All your fears, all your pain, all your crazy and you need to let people love you in that mess. It is vital and it is healthy. And you need to learn to love you in that mess.
I learned this year that the more I let people into my life warts and all, the more connected I became. The more they were allowed to love me and wanted to love me, the happier I was. It rounded me out, destroyed my barriers and defenses and has allowed me to realise I can let down the guard because your people actually love you harder and more rather than leave in disgust.
I have learned to love myself in my mess and really deeply let others see it. Ironically my slef esteem has never been better! I no longer feel the need for perfection to gain approval or connection and that is a huge gift right away that I am going to carry through life.
My bad time created and authenticity and self acceptance that allowed me the courage to write this to complete strangers and it has pushed me gently toward taking risks for the things I want.
- Down Does not Mean You are Out
Life is about learning from our mistakes and making a better tomorrow. This means that everyone is offered a second chance in life. After we have accepted our bad times, shared them, and acted positively, we should take the second chance that life has to offer.
These times can feel like a sad leaving behind of something. The truth is it can be an exciting step forward toward something else. Choose to look forward with expectation of a good future and plan for your best.
When I accepted that all my loss was actually necessary to move me into the direction I always wanted to go, I actually stopped gripping on to the shreds of what was and suddenly felt free. Free to choose and suddenly free to take massive action. What a feeling it was to do that.
I became unblocked and lost a lot of fear. The things I lost this past year I realised were not what I had wanted long term but things I took and held because I had started to compromise. I was holding on with both hands to my second best and my slate was pretty much wiped clean for me to start again.
It feels powerful to create a plan for making my life how I dreamed and being free to have a do-over.
When bad things happen tell yourself:
- It is not the end of your life it is just the close of one chapter for the beginning of the next.
- Choose how you will make the experience count and how you will set yourself up going forward.
- Take the lessons from the experience, allow yourself to grow.
- And remember that THIS TOO SHALL PASS
Yes, it’s been forty years that I have been alive and I have to admit that I am underwhelmed by my successes and spectacularly stupefied at how I ended up right where I did not want to be.
Twenty year old Sally probably did not expect to see this version of 40 year old Sally.
In fact, I know she didn’t. Can you relate?
It all sounds a bit dramatic. I know, and I do acknowledge that I have had many huge successes. By most standards, much of the time, I guess I would be considered successful (right now not so much ).
My life has taken many twists, turns and sudden off ramps. It has had adventure, heartbreak, laughter and richness. I have had an extraordinary life that most people would envy at times.
BUT….Right here, right now, I am not where I wanted to be at 40 and I do not consider myself living up to my standard of Healthy, Wealthy or Whole.
So I am calling time on the choices I have made (or not made) and re-examining my life to take it in the direction I want it to go. I am going to live deliberately and in a considered way toward building better health, better wholeness and a more solid foundation of wealth that does not leave me drained, unenthusiastic or at the mercy of any other person.
I am creating a next 40 years that sees me abundant in all things so that I can contribute, build and live a life facing outwards not one that is always trapped by insufficiency in health, finance or emotions.
Want to join me?
I am not fat but I am not in the shape I was or want to be. I am constantly tired, stressed and probably drink too much. My skin could look a lot better and I need to be fit.
But I deeply love and accept myself .
I practice yoga (when I feel like it), I eat well (low carb, no sugar, no chocolate, only whole foods). I have also given up smoking (except when I am partying or feeling low). I am not quite Bridget Jones but I am no Jillian Michaels. Nor do I want to be either of them.
I just want to be the best version of me with more energy, healthy, glowing skin (spots and wrinkles at the same time is insult added to injury ) and to have my toned workout body back – post 40 it is a bit harder I have discovered. That is my wishlist.
Oh….and I should probably drink less. Did I mention that already?
Seriously, health issues and being the best version of you physically does interest me. I feel for people that struggle with weight, acne, fatigue or any other health and fitness issue that distresses them. I also really do enjoy finding the best and most natural ways to combat these things.
So I am getting healthy. Want to join me?
I believe that Wallis Simpson famously said that “you can never be too rich or too thin”. I would tend to agree about the rich part. But that is my standard of wealth.
Well-off and debt free is something I have been most of my adult life – until now. Currently my bank balance would say otherwise.
This year, at 40 years of age, for my second time in 3 years, I found myself a victim of the recession and had two bouts no income for extended periods (I work as a consultant). The contracts in my industry dried up at the executive level and after recovering from the first bout of no work for a longer than normal time period, I had just got back on my feet to hit the second instance of it.
The timing was not fortuitous. I was lucky (or disciplined) enough to have savings but the idea of doing another bout of hustling for more work and planning for no income was not fun.
Never in my life have I not had money, options and income, but here I am with all exhausted, including my enthusiasm for that type of work.
The upside of these moments occur when they make you realise that what you have been doing will never get you to where you want to go. I re-examined my ideas of wealth, income, lifestyle and what I want to achieve. To be honest I made my dreams bigger!!
There is nothing like a clean slate to make you draw a bigger picture. I have taken my work life in a different direction and am creating my own businesses and investments to set myself up for a life where money comes from a number of streams. As I work toward turning on the taps, I will take you on my wealthy journey as well as my healthy journey.
I know….Ambitious! Want to join me?
Wholeness is huge and an ongoing journey. It is so profoundly private for so many. I have faced a lot of areas that my soul needed to heal in and I am a believer that the health and wealth bits need to start here. Get your mind and emotions healthy and the rest follows.
We have all been battered by life in some degree or another. None of us are immune to fear, unforgiveness, anger, limiting beliefs, grief or depression. The level to which we function in wholeness is the level to which our lives flourish and we find happiness.
I have done many years learning, healing, developing and growing in this area. I profoundly believe that caring for yourself first creates good decisions and good relationships as well as healthy outcomes in your life.
As with health and wealth I will share the areas I have found the most help and freedom and will walk with and help you as you take your path.
Let’s get whole and flourish! Want to join me?
All of this very long post is to say, I am going to do a MASSIVE life change to get myself Healthy, Wealthy and Whole and I would love you to join me.
Define what Health, Wealth and Wholeness is for you. Then let’s make our goals (big or small) and share our findings.
Do me a favour and let me know what your definitions are and what you want. Leave me your comments on Facebook or below.
As I take my journey through this I will share what I find and love and promise to listen to you to create, discover, share and give you as many tools as you need to reach your goals.
Understand this…I am not a guru nor am I an expert. I am a 40 year old chick that is profoundly sick of getting the same results and who is going to make a change. So I am going to become an expert by learning, practice and achievement – and probably some failure.
I hope you’re up for the adventure because it would be just plain fun and exciting for me if we did it together.
P.S. Hello, hello, if you do see this and you can identify with anything I have said, I would love to see your comments below…