Life, to an extent, is a dualism; we experience ups and downs; we have “good” days where life goes according to plan, and we have “bad” days where life doesn’t. This is the nature of life, always fluctuating. Unfortunately, some of us, at times experience more of these so called “bad” days but what I am going to explore today is how we deal with these bad days? How do we use them to our advantage?
Either you’re going through the turbulence of life right now, or you’re bound to sooner or later. It helps to know how to turn these rough rides into an experience that is meaningful. How do learn to turn these times of hardship into positive thoughts?
Confronting the situation
When we come face to face with adversity and difficulty, there are some of us who cower, run away, and sometimes even try to numb ourselves in the moment, hoping it will go away. You will find whatever distraction that you can in order to ignore the situation you are currently in.
You need to stop this and learn to face it head on. Embrace whatever you are going through fully. You need to realise that you have the strength within you to work through this. You can draw wisdom from the moment by realising that bad times do happen to everyone but you need to try and understand the one you are in and confront it.
Often we perceive life from our subjective point of view, we tend, out of habit, and out of a lack of self-awareness, to take life personally; two work colleagues having a whispered conversation automatically looks to us like they are bitching about you or spreading some harmful gossip when they actually are discussing yesterdays team meeting or something equally innocent; a conversation with someone whose tone towards us we don’t appreciate is them actually having problems at home, and their inner turmoil is bubbling up to the surface; an asshole cutting us off as we drive home is actually a father rushing to the hospital because his child has suddenly become unwell.
Don’t take things so personally. See things clearly, not as you think you see them. Look long and look “deep”. Penetrate past the superficial veil of life to see the potential meaning inherent in each moment.
Open up to your feelings
Everyone has feelings. You’re a human being. You have the capacity to experience a vibrant range of emotions. Don’t run away from them, no matter how miserable you feel. Face them. Be one with them. I find this is the best way to “heal” but also one of the hardest things to do. Try to spend time understanding what you are feeling. So open yourself up to your feelings. Don’t judge them or think about them. Just feel them and allow them to pass. I often find I can turn this into a kind of meditation, enjoying even the most sorrowful of emotions as they pass and make space for healthier, happier ones. Not only will you live more lightly, but you will develop grit and perseverance. This is where mindfulness can kick in where you are focusing on you in the here and now and learning to accept how you feel.
Have faith that all is working out for the best
I have had countless experiences where, on the superficial level, it seemed like life was a disaster and I was having the worst day in the world, but, upon waiting and attempting to make the best of the situation, have found out that the disaster was a necessity for greater things to come.
For instance, in September 2012, my life went into turmoil when I had my stroke and ended up in hospital for weeks learning to walk and do basic daily tasks again. But would you think me insane to say that I would do it all over again to be the person I am today? Since then I have had numerous hospital admissions due to being diagnosed with Behçet’s disease and each time at first I think my life has been thrown backwards in an abrupt move. However, during my last stay of 5 weeks at the beginning of this year, it made me realise that life really is too short and it made me appreciate everything that my family and my amazing girlfriend does for me. Yes, there were very tough times and it even terminated my relationship with Rachel temporarily but, in the long run, it has made us stronger than ever and realise we would do anything for each other. I also found a love for writing. And since then, I’ve used writing as a tool to heal and create myself and my life. It has literally transformed me and I owe it to past events which at the time were tumultuous, but I never lost faith that things were working out as they should.
The lives we live are bigger than we can ever conceive. Trust that fact. Live with faith in yourself and persevere! Everyone has a different journey and will face different obstacles along it.
Find the positive
You have the ability to train yourself to be an optimist; to always see life in a positive light.
When faced with an arduous and difficult situation, you have the power to see your experience in whatever way you like. You can take a debilitating illness and view it through a negative lens where you see yourself as a victim of life, or you can see it as a positive and come up with an infinite number of ways to turn your experience into a creative opportunity for growth. And I know this works because I’m speaking from experience. There are tough days where you feel the world is against you but who are you helping by feeling that. You only have one life so why not use those strong negative feelings and channel them into a positive thought. Each challenge you face in life will make you a stronger person and be better equipped to deal with the next challenge life throws at you.
See your situations as ammunition
Sometimes the most negative experiences can be channeled into fuel to kickstart that change which is needed in our lives. A difficult breakup allows us to learn to love and build up ourselves. A redundancy could allow us the opportunity to make our dream careers come true. An illness gives us time to re-evaluate our lives.
Motivation vanishes as quickly as it appears. Make the most of it.
As a writer, I have found writing to be an immensely liberating tool. Whenever I am going through things, nothing heals me better than writing about it. Writing allows me to take the situation from my life and trap it on the pages in order for it to make sense in my mind. From there, I can dissect the situation until I am free from it. I can create solutions. I can change my behaviour. I am the author and in control of my life.
Sometimes the changes we need to make are not so apparent to us because they are in our subconscious mind. Writing, over time, can help us unearth them.
Write out your feelings, especially the ones you would rather not feel. Writing is cathartic, it can help you heal. Write out who you want to become and the kind of life you wish to live in extraordinary detail. Write out how you’re going to make that vision a reality.
Ask yourself the question “What is life trying to teach me right now?”
Asking yourself this question makes you search for the lesson that is most meaningful and relevant to you in this moment. Then, when you’ve found it, don’t let it go.
Life is always going to be full of up’s and down’s. We can, if we choose to, enjoy life. The bad’s don’t have to be bad and we are in control of this. We can get through them, using them to our benefit, knowing that tomorrow may not be as bad as today. We must learn to be like rainbows, capturing both the sun and the rain to be what it is—beautiful.