How To Deal With Difficult Times

"Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending—to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends.” ― Brené Brown. 

Last year, I made the courageous decision to share my story. While my story has been closely related to family, I know (you) others can relate to adversity. Writing (sometimes videos) has been my way of dealing with difficult times and healing, while empowering others to co-heal with me. At times, I’ve been criticized for sharing my story and flashbacks, but that will not stop me from writing. I aim to inspire others to own their story and heal from tough times. I believe this is what it takes to transition and write our story’s ending.

Last week, a series of family events hit me like a whirlwind. From family gossip, to being used as an emotional punching bag, and being contacted by estranged family members, I was transported back to some of the most painful moments of my life. There were days of chaos and feeling immense regret and hurt. Truthfully, I wanted to pack my bags and run away from it all, but as the past has taught me, ignoring our feelings is not the answer. We have to confront our emotions head on if we want the reward of healing.

In my last post about healing, I mentioned that time does not heal wounds, but timing does. The truth is that there is pain in life. After a hard time, you might feel saddened, angry, alone, or confused. But with the proper coping tools, you can set yourself free from the hurtful past and write your story’s ending. Here are some tools still helping me today.

1. Give yourself space:

Give yourself the space to heal. And by space I mean, don’t obsess over situations you cannot control. From experience, this can make things worse and cause more stress and anxiety for you. Sometimes you need to withdraw from a situation emotionally in order to view it more objectively. It is in this space that we become aware of our feelings and make room for our perception.

2. Write about it:

Don’t keep things bottled up! Writing about tough times and your feelings can actually make you feel better. This is because writing organizes your thoughts, which makes events feel less chaotic. Instead of drowning yourself in self-pity and blaming others, write about it. Writing is a great way to release your emotions. At first, confronting your feelings may be painful, but with time, it will help you feel better.

3. Change your way of thinking:

Tough situations can bring you down and flood your head with negative thoughts and worry. Sometimes it just takes a shift in the way you think to turn negative feelings into positive ones. Write down your worries and then ask yourself how realistic they are. Instead of worrying about situations you cannot control, focus on the positives in your life.

4. Love yourself:

You are enough, you are special, and you are worthy of love. Tough times have a way of kicking us down. It’s important to talk to yourself the same way you would talk to a loved one. Yes, some days will be tougher than others, but find ways to purify your negative thoughts. Much like exercise and meditation, which I’m currently working on, positive affirmations have a way of uplifting our spirits. Here’s an article on positive affirmations from The Huffington Post.

5. Seek support:

Get support from family and friends, or professional help. Know that it’s okay to ask for help when you are dealing with a difficult time. Instead of going at it alone or having fear of judgment, ask for advice and get emotional support. I have a good support system. From my husband, to family, friends, and my therapist, you may just be surprised how many people care for your wellbeing.

Lastly, have faith that tough times will pass. And trust the journey. It took me several posts of owning my story and working through my feelings to write this post for you. I feel such a sense of accomplishment and hope you will too. No one said the journey of life would be easy, but it will be worth it. And if (I) you ever have a bad day, circle back to this post and one of my new favorite wine quotes: “Wine improves with age. We improve with wine.”

I am grateful for life’s challenges, because without them, I wouldn’t be transitioning into the person I want to become or helping others discover joy. I welcome you to share your comments and keep the dialogue open.

xoxo, Nat