How do you take the next step when the path ahead is dark?
To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step and a time; but we must keep stepping. -Anonymous
How do you take the next step when the path ahead is dark? Or when you feel as if you are drowning and every day offers more problems than solutions? What about all that extra baggage you carry around, past issues left unresolved and insecurities shoved into the corner, secrets and lies piled on top of each other, each one heavier than the last. How can one keep going with the impossible weight of the world on their shoulders?
1. Fall apart
It’s ok to let it hurt. A lot of unnecessary pain comes from bottling everything up under the false pretense that you are either saving yourself from feeling hurt, or that you are saving others from the burden of sharing your hurt. Ultimately though, your pain will come out. Maybe not today, or this week, but unresolved issues turn to bitterness, hate, and lashing out. So, whatever you’re going through, let it out. Maybe this means spending time alone and writing out your thoughts, naming the things that were done to you or that you did to others. Maybe you need to talk to someone and just be comforted by the fact that someone is listening to you, and that your pain is heard. Go ahead, scream it out!
2. Sort Through The Rubble
Now that it’s all out there in the open, airing out with everyone else’s dirty laundry, it’s time to make sense of it all. (Or at least attempt to). Decide what’s worth hanging on to, and what things you can let go. It takes a conscience effort to come to the conclusion that while you may deserve an apology, or an answer, or that job, or to be healed from sickness you may never get those things. And you have to be ok with that. You can’t sit around and wait to be free from your past or your other issues; you have to grab hold of freedom, even in while in the midst of your struggle.
Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. – Joseph Campbell
3. Admit When You Need Help
We’ve all heard that no man is an island entire of itself, thanks to John Donne, but what does this mean? Basically, we weren’t built to do life on our own. Believe it or not, there are people out there who care deeply about you. If you don’t know any friends who want to listen and support you, there are tons of support groups available as well as one on one counseling. No matter where you are or what you’re going through, you don’t have to be alone.
4. Practice Gratitude
This is such a powerful tool for everyone in every walk of life. It’s so easy to focus on all the negatives in our lives, from the 10 lbs. we keep intending to lose, to sickness, depression, and the state of the economy. If you want something to complain about, just look around. The same is true about things to be thankful for! Though our default may be complain, we can choose to see the positive, and to pick out joyful things in our lives.
Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future. – Robert H. Schuller
Perhaps the best thing you can do when you are struggling to find joy in the midst of your struggle, is to reach out to those around you who have needs that you can meet. Not only will this give you perspective about your own set of struggles, but fulfilling the needs of others is so satisfying and life-giving, you might just forget about your problems all together!
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller
Why not start thinking of others right now? Here is a list of ongoing petitions that support freedom and equality all around the world!