When life is hard and you’re faced with challenges that overwhelm you… what can you do? Sometimes life confronts us with inevitable change–a heartache, an illness, an upheaval, a betrayal, a colossal mistake that cannot be undone.
Then it’s just there, the unbearable weight that we suddenly have to carry with us, every moment of every day. It feels overwhelming, and yet no amount of pleading or yelling or weeping will make it go away. It’s just there. And somehow we have to keep going.
It’s easy to sink into despair when we’re faced with this kind of challenge. It almost feels like the right thing to do–to just pull the covers over your head and pretend you can hide from the monster under your bed.
But we’re not kids anymore, and our problems are definitely not make-believe. We can’t pretend away our obstacles, our heartbreaks or our misfortunes. They are very real, and they can tie you in a helpless knot if you ignore them.
So what do we do? If we can’t wish them away or pretend they aren’t there, how do we face our problems when life is hard?
One Simple Saying that Will Keep You Going When Life is Hard
The next time life throws you a curve ball, and you feel like you might crumble under the weight of it, I want you to say one simple thing to yourself:
“It’s not okay, but I am okay.”
It’s deceptively simple. It doesn’t even make sense at first. But trust me. This one little phrase has gotten me through some very hard times.
What It Means…
“It’s not okay.”
Whatever has happened to you is not okay. Being lied to is not okay. Losing your job is not okay. Disordered eating is not okay. Serious health problems are not okay.
Accepting the hard parts of life doesn’t mean pretending that bad things are good, that struggles are easy, or that heartache isn’t there. Life is hard, and some things that happen to us (or that we do to ourselves) fill us with sorrow or regret or frustration. They can feel terrifying, overwhelming, and unfair.
You do not have to tell yourself that your problems are okay. They may be “normal” or inevitable, but they don’t have to be okay.
“But I am okay.”
Here’s the tricky part, and it may take a little thinking to sort it out in your head. Essentially, you have to separate yourself from the problem–even if you feel like you are the problem!
This is important because you need to be able to take all that anger, fear, frustration, or sadness and focus it toward the problem, not yourself. If you direct all those feelings to yourself, you’re going to feel miserable and you’re going to feel paralyzed.
For instance, you can say, “I hate my depression!” which can feel empowering and help you vent some of your feelings of frustration. However, the minute you say, “I hate myself because I’m depressed” you feel worthless and trapped and overwhelmed.
When you shift your turmoil of emotions away from your general self and onto the specific problem, it gives you room to be okay with other parts of yourself or your life. And when you can do that, you’ll find little pieces of hope left in your life that might otherwise have been lost in a wave of despair.
Use It With the Small Stuff, Too
I’ve used this simple phrase to help me deal with big problems in my life when life is hard, but it also works with daily frustrations and obstacles that pop up. Whether it’s an unexpected hospital bill, an argument with someone you love, or a looming deadline–identify the specific problem and say, “This is not okay, and I don’t like dealing with this. But I am okay, and I can find a way to cope.”
This simple saying allows you to get specific about what the problem is and why it bothers you so much, without letting it take over your life. It doesn’t make problems disappear or make everything feel like sunshine and rainbows–but it does make tough moments seem a little more manageable.
Problems, obstacles, challenges. They are all a part of life. We can’t avoid them, but we can learn to cope with them in a more hopeful way that allows us to experience a little joy even in the face of hardship.
This post was inspired by an amazing book I just read–Pruned: Blossoming Through Life’s Difficult Seasons by Ariana Mullins.
Sometimes life throws you a curveball. Or two. Or it just slugs you in the stomach with no remorse. It happens to the best of us. We can’t avoid it, when life is hard, but we can avoid falling into the pitfalls of anxiety, paralyzing fear, or total despair.
Pruned: Blossoming Through Life’s Difficult Seasons by Ariana Mullins. is a guide to help you deal with changes and challenges in a more positive hopeful way. Pruned: Blossoming Through Life’s Difficult Seasons by Ariana Mullins.
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- The Alternative to Giving Up