Have you ever felt like life was going nowhere? Like you’d be alone, broke or miserable forever? Like everything was shit?
If so, that makes two of us. I’ve gone through more dark, depressing periods than I care to remember. It’s not like my life’s been particularly bad: I just didn’t know how to handle rough times in the past.
I do now, though, and I’m a lot happier for it. I’m not some kind of rainbow-riding hippy, so I’ll be honest with you – shit happens and some problems can’t be solved.
But knowing the things I’m about to share will help you understand that, in the end, life is pretty awesome. Pinky promise.
Assume Responsibility; Make Changes
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.” Maya Angelou
When things are tough, it’s easy to indulge in negative emotions; pity yourself; feel powerless. “Oh, my life’s so tough, woe is me. Nobody knows how I feel.”
But at the end of the day, you are responsible for how you play the hand you’re dealt. Sometimes, circumstances beyond your control will stack the odds against you. But you always have the power to choose your next move.
So don’t panic, get mopey or blame other people or life itself. That’s a great way to stay in the mess you’re in now.
Instead, assume responsibility and focus on getting out of bad situations. Always think “How am I gonna fix this?” instead of “Everything’s shit.”
This Too Shall Pass
“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry: it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry: it’ll change.” – John A. Simone Sr.
On his deathbed, my grandfather told me that his biggest regret was all the stress he’d let himself feel in the past. When you look at your life as a whole, he said, you realize that all your little worries and problems were meaningless.
He was right. In the final analysis, nothing lasts forever: not even the worst, most painful experiences. Will you even remember your current problems in 2 years; 5 years; 10 years? Probably not. So why let petty, temporary issues get to you?
Just Be Glad to Be Here
“Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.” – Proverb
Speaking of death – whenever something goes wrong, remember that you’ll die someday. Your life might end tomorrow or in a hundred years, but it definitely is finite.
So don’t waste your precious time by focusing on the bad stuff. Life is the greatest gift of all; use it wisely and have as much fun as you can. Enjoy yourself.
When things get rough, remember: you should just be glad to be here.
Pain Is Gain
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding” – Khalil Gibran
When I was a young teen, I fell for a girl who only viewed me as a friend; all the crap I went through back then made me who I am. If I didn’t have to overcome that, I would’ve been a much weaker person today.
That’s how life is. Some of the most important events in your life are also the most difficult. Being a man isn’t much different to working out – the painful choices and heavy burdens make you strong. No pain – no gain.
So when it hurts, remember: you’re growing and becoming better; stronger; more complete. And that’s a price you should be willing to pay.
I’m not a big believer in “destroying” negative emotions; they’re a natural part of life’s ups and downs. Right now I’m overtraining, undersleeping, working hard and going through some personal problems: I get sad and that’s fine.
What’s not fine is despair: an emotion that arises when you don’t know how to deal with sadness. Use the quotes and concepts in this post to keep you going, even when things seem hopeless.