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Life can get really difficult sometimes.
In fact, just about everyone will experience at least one period in their life where they feel utterly flattened and demoralized.
During times like this, when we’re lying on the floor and barely have the strength to devour ice cream for comfort, we’ll wonder “does it ever get better than this?”
Although things may feel really awful in the moment, the answer to this is a resounding “yes!”
Yes, life will get better. Read on if you need a bit of convincing.
1. Your track record for surviving difficulty is 100% so far.
Take a look in the mirror. See that amazing person staring back at you? Yeah, that’s you in all your gorgeous glory.
You, dear heart, have survived every difficult circumstance you have been through up until this point.
The types of difficulties you have encountered may be different from what others have been through, but you struggled with them, and got through them.
If you’re so inclined, grab some pieces of paper and write down some of the harder things you’ve been through in the past.
On the same paper, write down how you grew from each experience, what you learned, and how you feel about it now.
Then fold these pieces up and pop them into a jar. Every time you feel defeated, just pull one out and read it. This will help to inspire you to keep going, and not to lose hope or faith.
2. Life is in constant motion.
The wheel turns, all things change. Whatever it is you’re going through, be reassured that you won’t be in this circumstance forever.
Think back on other crappy things that you’ve endured – they’ve come to an end, and things have improved, right?
Same goes for really amazing times – those came to an end as well.
If you’re going through a difficult time right now, wondering when your life will get better, rest assured that this difficulty will also pass.
Things tend to seem most bleak right before they begin to improve.
3. Difficult times result in great strength.
You know the crap you’re dealing with right now? The fact that you’re dealing with it means that you’re developing quite a healthy, strong roster of coping mechanisms.
These will provide you with an amazing arsenal to draw from if you ever encounter a similar scenario in the future.
Alternatively, even if you never have to deal with these things yourself again, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re able to help someone else.
Years from now, you may come across a vulnerable person who’s in despair about a very similar situation to the one you’re currently going through. As a result, you’ll be able to share your wisdom with them, and help them through it.
Often, the most important lessons we learn in life are those we encounter during difficult times.
It may not seem so at the time. We might scream and cry and fight against the situation, wanting it to be over so we can stop suffering through it.
But at some point in the future, we’ll look back and realize why we went through the ordeal, and how we can use the strength and wisdom gained during that time.
4. Tense times result in forward momentum.
A good thing to think about is what happens to an arrow before it takes flight.
That arrow is notched into a bow string, and it takes great strength to draw that bow string backwards. There’s an enormous force being gathered to loose that arrow. The force of it may cause the archer’s fingers to ache a bit, and the arrow itself might wobble a bit… but then the tension is released and the arrow soars.
If you’re looking for a more practical scenario in that you’re not actually an arrow, consider this…
Necessity is the mother of invention, and some of the most brilliant inventions in the world came about during (or shortly after) times of crisis. For example, ambulances were invented in the early 1800s during the Napoleonic war.
You don’t have to invent something or create something, but you might be able to use the sheer energy involved in tackling this challenging time as a catalyst to make changes to really improve your life.
There’s a kind of motivation to be found when you’re at your lowest ebb, a motivation to dig yourself out of that hole. If you can keep hold of that motivation, it can put you on a different future path to the one you were on.
5. Your priorities change as you get older.
Many people go through absolutely harrowing times during their teens. Not only do hormones go haywire during adolescence, but young people have to navigate veritable minefields of social interaction.
They’re trying to figure out themselves while dealing with cliques, bullies, dating and sex, and making stressful decisions about their future.
All of these are incredibly difficult to deal with in the moment, and can seem overwhelming – even unbearable – at times.
As awful as things seem during that time, they’re significantly less awful in retrospect.
Once you get past the high school gauntlet, you look back and wonder why you were so destroyed by the things you were dealing with then.
Priorities change exponentially as we age, and what’s troubling us right now is unlikely to cause us a fraction of the same grief in the future.
A 19-year-old might be incredibly stressed out, even devastated, by a combination of college exams and an intimate breakup.
That same person might look back 10 years later and wonder why they felt so overwhelmed. They’ll be engrossed with a career, possibly a family, and just shake their head at the fact that they spent nights lying awake with stress a decade earlier.
Things may seem really hideous right now, but you’ll feel a lot better about them in retrospect. Possibly after even a really short amount of time has passed.
6. People develop more emotionally over time, which leads to more stability.
Speaking of emotional maelstroms, those seem to calm exponentially over time.
People who deal with anxiety, tearful episodes, or explosive anger in their youth often get far calmer once they’re in their 20s or 30s or beyond.
It’s important to note that this is a generalization, and may not apply to people who deal with various types of mental illness. If you find that things aren’t stabilizing for you over time, or you’re struggling more than your peers, there is no shame in reaching out for help.
You may need some extra help balancing out your brain chemicals, or working with a therapist who can assist you with things like cognitive behavioral therapy.
We’re all wired differently, and as such, may need different approaches to help us become the best, healthiest version of ourselves.
7. You’ll have fewer connections, but they’ll be stronger.
Younger people tend to have large, extensive social networks. They’ll have a few close friends, and a huge web of moderate friends and casual acquaintances.
As they get older, those social networks will shrink exponentially.
This isn’t a bad thing.
Instead of having throngs of mediocre connections, you’ll have some really amazing bonds with real, true friends.
Additionally, people tend to lose so-called “friends” who don’t want to see them grow and succeed.
When we’re younger, our social circles tend to be comprised of those who are in our vicinity. For example, we might be friends with people who live on our street, or are in our class at school.
We might stay close with a few of those as we age, especially if we have really tight bonds with them. That said, the friendships we make as we get older often happen when we interact with people of truly like mind.
Sure, your best friend from college might be part of your life for decades, but the people you meet on a retreat in Peru might really be your “tribe.”
Know that you’ll have the opportunity to meet and bond with amazing people who will enhance your life with real friendship.
8. You can change more than you realize.
A lot of people feel overwhelmed and even paralyzed when they’re in a situation they have little control over.
The good news is that there’s always something you can change, no matter how small.
Let’s say that you really hate your workplace and you’re distressed because you’re not getting interviews anywhere else. Clean your desk thoroughly, removing all the clutter. Get a new plant, put up some artwork. You may be eager to leave, but changing the energy around you can help a lot.
Are you down because world circumstances have you in distress? You might not be able to fix things on a global level, but you can go for a walk. Plant some flower seeds and watch them grow. Write letters to friends and relatives to brighten their day.
Even the smallest action we take can cause a ripple effect. Like a pebble that starts an avalanche, we can see big changes happen sooner than we think.
9. Things get easier when you follow your purpose.
Viktor Frankl, who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning after surviving Auschwitz, said:
“Those who have a why to live, can bear with almost any how.”
When you have a purpose or a goal in life to strive for, the many ups and downs you’ll experience won’t affect you quite as much.
Think about your life purpose. Or, if you haven’t quite discovered it yet, do some soul searching to determine what it is.
Once you have a strong idea of what your life goal looks like, create a vision board about it. Add photos, drawings, lists, cut-outs, even glitter.
Then, whenever you’re feeling down, take a good look at it. Let it re-inspire you so you can redirect your thoughts and emotions to the future.
10. Time flies when you’re having fun, so do fun things!
That may sound rather simplistic, but indulging in things that make you feel happy can actually do you a world of good during difficult times.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, immerse yourself in something that makes you laugh, or brings you joy.
Watch comedy that suits your tastes, or re-watch a favorite movie that always lifts your spirits. Indulge in a hobby or pursuit that engages you fully, and that gives you a sense of lightness or accomplishment.
Avoid politics, bad news, and junk food. Feed your entire being with healthy, nutritious sights, sounds, and feelings.
Not only will you free yourself from the quagmire you’re dealing with for just a little while, you’ll be reminded of all the wonderful things you’ll get to enjoy in the future. Many times over, if you want to!
You have some extraordinary experiences ahead of you, and you’re going to do so much to make the world a better place.
If things are really dark for you and you feel like they’re just not getting better, please speak to a mental health professional. Your emotional and mental stability are of the utmost importance, and there are many different people out there who can help you.
You will get through this. It gets better.
Still not convinced that life will get better? Speak to a therapist today who can help you address these dark thoughts and overcome them. Simply click here to connect with one of the experienced therapists on BetterHelp.com.
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