Once in a while, it may happen.
You’re on the rise. Having the time of your life. You’re doing a job that fulfils you, surrounded with people with whom you experience a deep connection. You tune in to your innermost desires and things become clearer: what you love doing and makes you feel whole.
And then, out of a sudden, this ideal, glowing situation seems to crash.
Suddenly, for the most unexpected reasons, thing seem to break apart. It feels like you have done lots of efforts, grown up, went through pain and sorrow… and eventually, you came back to where you started.
I know, feeling that way could be highly frustrating and demotivating. But, please, don’t let yourself down, and don’t let your thoughts overwhelm you. When the self-sabotage mechanism is about to happen, focus to one purpose: positive thinking.
Even if everything seems to suggest that you came back to the beginning, it is not like that. It could never be like that.
If at one point all your achievements seem to be purposeless, remember that everything you have lived, went through, and learned, makes you a stronger person. Those experiences are part of your growing process.
Please, even in your darkest days, don’t forget about your inner, sparkling light. I know, you may want to idealize the moments of happiness and fulfilment. If you have ever thought that when you are not at your best, you kinda fell behind and came back to the start, I feel you.
Don’t forget one, undeniable fact: you are not the same as you were at the start of your self development journey, and all you have experienced is carved into your being and made you become the person you are now. The amazing, fragile, little disaster that is struggling everyday for his birth-given right: being true to its nature, being happy.
What if we start to think that life is not only made of meaningful and precious moments like those when we feel deeply connected to ourselves, but there are also painful periods we have to go through in order to grow up? What if we shed some light on our darkest moments?
Sometimes, we may feel at the peak of our enlightenment and, flooded with inspiration, and we cherish ourselves and other living beings. Other times, we simply can’t. We feel down and powerless, and the path to self-realization seems so long and winding.
In those moments, it becomes very simple to belittle the importance of our lives and feel down. It almost looks like we are in a “stand-by mode”, looking forward to living again, and the daily life slowly loses its meaning. Here comes the first lesson I learnt.
Don’t be stuck into the past, don’t live for the future.
Focus on what you can do right now to change your situation. Start with little steps, and do something. I have already written about the importance of rewarding ourselves for our daily achievements (even the smallest ones) and how setting small, focused goals has a huge power to boost our motivation.
Don’t complain about that time when you lost the chance of giving an important turn to your life. Don’t overestimate your mistakes – there’s a great chance to repeat them again if you live in the past. Use your past as a source of wisdom – learn from it, don’t be trapped.
Once you focus your mind on the present moment, you will feel powerful, and new opportunities and chances start coming on your way. To make this happen, you simply have to stop thinking, and start doing.
As someone way more skilled with words than me says, imagine a future, and be in it. Try to portrait who you want to be, what you want to achieve, how your ideal life will look like. Believe me, you will be already one step further.
You will have given a shape to your future. This is the first step towards your new life. Don’t project yourself into the future, but stay present and work hard to make your then become now.
You are unique
I know, when we are down it seems that everybody else is doing better than us. The more we try to get inspiration from others, the more we feel pulled down and almost annoyed by their sparkling words and successful stories.
There’s a reason why they’re there, but let me tell you the truth: that is not your business! Let their words inspire and guide you through though times, but don’t let your ego make statements and build barricades against them.
They are your allies, not your competitors. Your favourite blog, the podcast you listen to, your productive work mate… you don’t have to be like them! Use their wisdom as an ally to truly embody your nature, become who you really are.
This is not going to last forever
Not long ago, a friend of mine told me a story. She was stuck in a crisis, and one day she happened to talk to her fiancé, complaining about that static situation that made her nerves explode. He was trying to reassure her and lift her up, and came with a nice expression that sounded like “You are like a Ferrari. You have the potential to run fast, and leave everyone behind”.
My friend laughed , and pointed out that she was not like a Ferrari – the first, visible, difference was that she was not high-speeded, nor fancy, nor as beautiful as a Ferrari – the only similitude she could find was the fact that she’s Italian. She laughed again, and replied ironically – probably you’re right – I do look like a Ferrari, but stuck in the box.
She was just trying to be ironic, but her words showed that she actually knew how to get out of there! Indeed, you are like a Ferrari! – I told her – You just have to find the strength to get out of that box. Her eyes shone for an imperceptible moment.
That comparison shed some light on that winding process of self-realization and gave her the right motivation to go through a sh**ty period.
Bad periods happen to everybody, it’s up to us to react in the proper way. When a crisis happens, I use to arm myself with patience, and go through the storm, trying not to fight against it, nor to be beaten by it. As soon as it has passed, I roll up my sleeves, and start doing.
Imagine yourself on a boat, in the middle of a storm: what would you think will be the best option? Resist to the wind and the strong waves, fighting against them, or surrender to the flow and wait for the storm to end? I think the solution lies in between: don’t fight against the wind, but use it as your ally. Let it guide you.
Be kind to yourself and if you can’t make it on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help. People can be extremely nice and helpful if you open your heart.
Think how you were ten years ago
We are lifelong learners. Constantly improving and growing up.
We tend to forget how big we grew, and, instead of rewarding ourselves with warm and gentle words, we fall into a self-deprecating loop that is just holding us up.
Think about how you were five or ten years ago. How many new experiences you have done? How many people you have met? Have you learned new words in a foreign language? Have you visited a place you had never been before?
If you don’t want to go that far, you can also think about one year ago. Were you the same person you are now? What did you learn? In which way you improved? Did you get to know yourself a bit more?
In any case, be kind to yourself. If you don’t love yourself, who do you think will do that?
Talk to your younger self with words of love and compassion. The fears you had when you were a child, or a teenager, are not real now. You have new talents and an increased power to deal with what is blocking you from becoming who you really want to be.
After all, that’s what a crisis is, to me. We are resisting change, and our body and spirit suffer for that.
We have to allow the change, and let life flow inside of us.
When we have found our centre and discovered how bright our inner light could be, everything, including dark moments of discomfort, acquires a new meaning and is seen from another perspective.