Ever feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope and you just cannot hang on another minute? You’re not alone. Everyone goes through seasons of self-defeat, pain and anguish.
It’s no wonder that we feel that way. What with the economy, the current state of unemployment and rising prices — to say nothing of global uncertainty and rumors of economic collapse in every headline — it really is enough to make you want to pull the covers up over your head and sleep until everything gets better.
Just so you know, that is not an option. Instead, here are five proactive steps you can take that will give you the courage to keep going.
No. 1: VERBALIZE HOW YOU FEEL. I would caution against making this a public dissertation. Write it out journal style. Tell God how you feel. Say that you are angry and bitter or that you’re afraid to face the day. However you choose, find a way to pour out your heart. It is cleansing to release swirling negative thoughts. While your situation may not change, the way you feel about will.
NO. 2: RECOGNIZE YOUR THOUGHTS AS SUGGESTIONS. Thoughts of giving up are suggestions you give yourself because you’re in a bad mood. Or you haven’t slept well for how many nights? Those thoughts swirling in your head are terrible suggestions and need to be rejected. Eat a decent meal, drink two big glasses of water and get some sleep. Things may look much different in the morning.
NO. 3: SEEK AND ACCEPT HELP FROM OTHERS You really do not have to go through this by yourself. Once you determine where you are stuck, seek out help. If you are struggling with credit card debt, for example, go to NFCC.org to find a certified credit counseling organization in your area. Or pick up the phone and call NFCC (800-388-2227). Make the call. Ask for help. If it’s a medical situation where you cannot afford the cost of meds, reach out for help. Simply asking for help is going to open a new world of resources you may not know exists.
NO. 4: TOUGH IT OUT UNTIL THE TIDE TURNS. Get up and keep moving, even when life puts you in difficult situations. Even when it’s not your fault and you feel you’ve been treated unfairly. Even when it is your fault — you’ve made terrible choices, and now you are paying a terrible price. Remember these words from Martin Luther King Jr: “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but by all means, keep moving.”
NO. 5: CHOOSE JOY. Even when you are at the end of your rope, you still possess something very valuable: your attitude. You can choose your thoughts. You can default to pain, fear and anguish, or you can proactively choose joy. You can focus on all that you do not have and all the stuff that’s coming at you, or you can choose to rise above that and focus on what you do have — even if that is just the air that you breathe. Embrace it. Choose to think only about things that are lovely, true and pure.
I do not personally know anyone who has a perfect life. On the contrary, we’re all on this journey, and the road can get rocky from time to time. I’ve come to realize that what I’ve been through can either beat me down and make me bitter, or I can choose for my experiences to make the difference in another’s life.