It’s common for us to pretend we live in a perfect, happy life and we have the strength to fight all its battles alone. Sometimes we are happy. Sometimes we are strong. But it’s also OK to admit that we aren’t always happy and we aren’t always strong. Don’t harbour your sadness or anxiety inside. Don’t ignore it. To be free of it, we have to find our own way to release it. And that only begins by acknowledging it and by expressing it in one way or another. Be honest with yourself. Share your feelings with someone who you feel comfortable with and who you can trust. Express those emotions. It can only make you happier and stronger in the end.
When we think about happiness, we automatically place it on the opposite side of the spectrum to sadness. But if we think about sadness, it does not only tear away our happiness but also builds it. Like the seed sprouting out of the soil or the dawn breaking over the horizon, true happiness can only be realised when sadness or its various other forms have had a hold on us. Sadness moulds us. It teaches us about ourselves. It strengthens us. We’d never truly understand happiness, gratitude, or resilience without sadness. Don’t fight it, because nobody can ever be free of it. Instead, thrive in it.
Sometimes we have to push ourselves. And sometimes we have to pay the price. Stress isn’t all bad; it can spark our mind and body into action in response to a problem or situation. But high levels of stress can have the opposite effect, causing our mind and body to shut down in isolation, fear, lethargy, anger, and depression. Stress shouldn’t ever be a positive indicator to demonstrate how hard we’re working. Stress shouldn’t ever become a shadow that haunts us. It’s much more valuable to look after ourselves. It’s ok to take a breath to sit, to think, to re-prioritise, to re-energise. We’re designed to need a rest. It’s ok to admit that we cannot do everything. We cannot place these pressures on ourselves. It doesn’t make us weak or incapable. Stress will make us weak and incapable in the long term. Don’t let it break you.
Things will get better. Sometimes we feel swallowed up in darkness. Sometimes we feel constrained by heaviness. Sometimes we feel nothing at all. Sometimes it passes and sometimes it lingers. But it will get better, if we believe it will get better. If we wallow in our sadness or anxiety or fear, it will take over our life. But if we have even a little faith that life can be different, that life can be better, we open ourselves up to it. And life will get better.
It’s ok to want to be alone, to take time to process and to understand our thoughts and feelings. But if we ever feel overwhelmed, if we feel anxious, scared, hurt or depressed, it’s ok to reach out. Don’t be afraid to express yourself; it might be hard to put everything into words, and sometimes we just need to cry or be held by someone instead. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable by opening up. We don’t need to, and shouldn’t have to, face things alone. And if we do find ourselves alone, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re not alone. Everyone feels alone sometimes. Everyone has felt those same feelings or feels those same feelings as you right now. You’re not alone in this. And you’re going to be ok.
Bad days, bad luck, bad feeling. Arguments, loneliness, despair, hopelessness. Plans derailed, relationships crumbling, dreams faltering. Sometimes it just gets to the point where we can no longer climb out of our problems. But this isn’t the end. There’s something better on the horizon. We might have to sleep with our problems for a while; they don’t just vanish overnight. But we have to want better for ourselves. We have to be willing to work for it. We have to understand that life takes time. Keep holding on. When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
We all have those moments when we are weighed by the negativity. We envy another’s life. Life isn’t conforming to our aspirations, let alone our back up plans, and we’re tired of it. There’s too much anxiety, fear, depression attached to it. It’s true that we cannot control everything that happens to us, but it’s also true that a bad situation doesn’t equal a bad life. Whether it’s letting go, having confidence, focusing on what’s in front of us, learning from a mistake, forgiving, finding the brighter side, fighting harder than before, there’s always a positive way to react to a negative situation. Make the best of the cards you’ve been dealt.
Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.