Life isn’t always the way we want it to be. All we have to do is glance at the headlines to see that we live in very uncertain times. Depending on who you follow, social media can be full of “doom and gloom”. The Earth seems to be crying out in pain - there seems to be a natural disaster somewhere far too regularly. To borrow a phrase most commonly heard in the military - you have to “embrace the suck”. 2021 has not been all bad, in fact very far from it. It’s easy to get caught up in a negative spiral of self-doubt and anxiety. How do you stay positive when around you all you see are negative messages and fear? Hold on to hope.
No one wants to go through transitions, but we all will. Things must change because we are growing, evolving beings who are here now to learn what lessons we need to reach our full potential. So it may not be all fun and games, but we can learn important lessons that will serve us well as we move through tough changes. Let’s look at some ways to stay hopeful.
On some dimension or other, every event in life can be causing only one of two things: either it is good for you, or it is bringing up what you need to look at in order to create good for you. Evolution is win-win…life is self-correcting.
Finding the Light
- Be here now. By focusing on the present, you will find it easier to take a step back and act as an observer. By practicing mindfulness, you’ll see you can enjoy the simple things in life, no matter how bad things may seem. All worries and fears of the unknown can melt away if you focus on the present. Look for things in your life for which you're grateful.
- Look for ways to exhibit compassion and empathy. Spreading hope needs to start somewhere. Begin with the one person you can control, yourself. By looking for opportunities to pay it forward through random acts of kindness, you then become the impetus for others to do the same. Your compassionate heart and ability to walk in another’s shoes will be the guide to those around you. And even if it’s not? You’ll have at least changed one heart - your own.
- Do something. The person without hope becomes stagnant, preferring to hide from the world. If you find that’s the case with yourself, then it’s time to force yourself into action, even if you don’t feel like it. Get out of the house. Call a friend and suggest an outing or go by yourself. Find a green space somewhere because these places have been found to create calm and contentment in those who spend even a few minutes there. The goal is to find a positive action and embrace it, whatever that might be. Pick up litter, hug a child, do something that makes you feel good inside, and there you will find hope blossoming.
Things to remember when going through transitions
You may have heard each of these more than once before, but they have a whole new meaning when you are going through a major transition or when it feels like everything's falling apart.
- You aren’t alone - Everyone goes through challenging times, they just don’t tend to advertise it. You can rest assured that your friends and family understand your feelings and will be willing to help you in any way they can.
- It’s okay to cut yourself some slack - There’s no doubt that you will need time to experience all of the feelings that come about with a major life change. Give yourself a break from all the unimportant or non-urgent things that tend to fill up life. Just take it easy and heal your heart.
- All things are impermanent - It feels like this confusion and pain will last forever, that you’ll never be happy again, but that isn’t true. Everything in life changes. Nothing is permanent. You can trust that this transition is just that - a change that will eventually settle into a new opportunity.
- Life is change - Just like nature, life is nothing if not change. The winter gives way to spring. The flowers bloom and then hibernate. The moon wanes and waxes. Life will always have ups and downs that we can’t always see coming.
- It’s okay to let go of things that aren’t serving you - We like to keep the status quo because it makes us feel safe. But, at some point, we have to let go of things such as people and situations that are holding us back from our highest good. Though it’s not always easy, it’s a natural part of life.
- There is always something to be grateful for - Your life may look grim, but if you want to find goodness and beauty in your life, you can. You may not have the same life you had two weeks ago, but you have friends who love you. You can appreciate the beauty of the setting sun. Every life has wondrous things in it, we just have to notice them.
- It’s okay to say no to negativity - While you surely have friends and family who are loving and supportive, it’s also possible that there are a few "Negative Nelly’s" in your environment also. Especially now, it’s a good idea to say no to their invitations to hang out. When you feel stronger, you can decide if they are someone you want to continue to have a relationship with. But for now, just say no - as nicely as you can.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the world’s negativity. By actively seeking hope you will find it. Practice these steps and keep in mind that everything has its season. Today’s troubles need not carry over into tomorrow.
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One thought on “A Note from the Trenches – Hold on to Hope”
Change can be so difficult to navigate, especially if it is unexpected or creates stress and/or anxiety. I think holding on to the knowledge that things do improve is so important. We have survived through other hard times and come out the other side — hope is key to working through change that may be tough. Thanks for sharing this — it was really encouraging!