“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces.”
― C. JoyBell C.
How are you doing?
As I write this post, I am going through an immensely difficult time. My fingers tremble along the keys, my chest swells with sadness, my mind foggy with all sorts of thoughts and feelings. This post is for anyone going through a difficult time themselves--I can assure you, you are not alone. I'm right here with you.
I thought about waiting to write this, because I'm not completely sure how to get through the difficult times myself, despite the fact that I've had to do it before, and writing this is difficult for me, more difficult than I thought it'd be. But, writing blog posts has a strange way of healing me, to an extent, helping me understand what I'm going through, find the roots of my emotions, and funnel my feelings into something that could potentially help others. Also, I want you to know that I am here for you now. I wanted to write this because I know that pain can make us feel lonely, but we all experience hurt now and again, and you are the furthest from alone.
I've spent a lot of today reading through my previous posts. It's interesting to read my past advice in that it's always incredibly helpful, hearing guidance from my younger, less-knowledgeable self, as well as teaches me that all challenging times can be overcome. I read my previous posts and remembered all of the hurt I felt surrounding a past situation that has long since passed. All feelings, emotions, occurrences, and troubling experiences are fleeting, and while some last longer than others, or feel more intense, they will pass. All of them. So, before we dive into this post, please remember that whatever you're going through will pass, and things will get better. It may seem impossible now, but you will get through this.
As I often do when I'm stuck or hurting, I did extensive research online today for advice, as well as reflected with myself and on past experiences similar. I'm still in the midst of my hurt, and I am not healed yet (in fact, far from it), so perhaps this post is cheating. But, as I said, blog posts can be very healing for me, so I'm going to try my best and take everything I have learned so far after thinking and reflecting, as well as what has helped me in the past, to assist you, and me, through this difficult time.
7 ways to get through the difficult times
1. Allow yourself time to hurt
Right now, you might be hurting, and this is okay. As I said earlier, all emotions, all situations are fleeting. Hurting, experiencing hard things, are all just another part of this strange, bewildering life. Regardless of what you're feeling, it's probably not the best, so be self-compassionate toward yourself and allow yourself time to feel. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to be alone with your thoughts, as scary as they may be, allow that, too. The physical and mental pain may seem unbearable, but face it anyway. If you instead suppress your emotions, they may emerge out in toxic, painful ways. The absolute best thing to do right now is to be with yourself, allow the hurt to surface, and don't be afraid to reach out for help if it does feel like too much.
Don't be afraid to face the pain, and don't beat yourself up for feeling this way, either. Give yourself all the time you need.
2. Focus on the present moment
Right now, all you might want to do is focus on the past, feeling shameful of mistakes, or fixate on the future, on how you'll get there, on what it'll look like. While I think it's okay to feel sad, and to reflect, the best way to move forward is to focus on this very moment, and be mindful.
Focus on the colors around you. On the smells, on the way you feel now. Rather than obsessing over the things we cannot control, tune into this moment. Take a big, deep, full breath and feel the air expand in your lungs. Be present, now. It may hurt, but right now is still just as important as any other moment. You are here, you are alive, and you may be in pain, but you are still here. And you will get through it, one moment at a time.
3. Feel grateful for what you do have in your life
Regardless of whether you are experiencing a loss of any sort, take this time to feel grateful for everything you do have in your life. Maybe make a list, or express thanks to the people who have reached out. I thought I'd be all alone, but now I realize that I do have a strong support system of people who love me and care for me, and I couldn't be more grateful for them. I have expressed my thanks and gratitude to each person to let them know that they are, in fact, loved.
If you don't have anyone to turn to right now, maybe feel grateful for a pet, or a roof over your head, or warm tea, or a good story. Whatever the case, and no matter how hard it may be, focusing on the positives in your life will help you reach a happier state of mind and will help you to see the good at the end of the tunnel.
4. Stay busy
This may seem hypocritical compared to the first tip, but it is just as important, in my opinion. This is probably the hardest thing to do, because if you're anything like me, all I'd like to do when sad is listen to sad songs and wallow in my emotions. But, this won't do anything to help me. Yes, it is important to be with yourself and allow your hurt to surface, but only doing this may cause more damage than anything, as your thoughts may wander downwards, and you'll sink deeper. So, right now I am at work staying busy, and when I had some free time, I opened up a tab and immediately began writing this post, because I knew that staring at a blank screen wouldn't be beneficial for me at this moment.
Take this time to dive into a hobby of yours, maybe something you've been putting off. Play a favorite video game, write something (as I'm doing now), read a great book, etc.. Do anything that'll engross you and help you through this hard time. I list more ideas in tip number 6.
5. Say mantras/affirmations, and practice self-love
One thing I've been doing today is repeating mantras for healing, acceptance, and joy. It might feel easier to think harshly and negatively, but repeating a few, simple affirmations has helped me tremendously to focus on the present and trust in the process. Some examples include:
I am safe.
I am loved.
I am okay.
I am healing.
I am worthy of love.
I am being guided.
I am here, present and alive.
I am mentally okay.
I am physically okay.
I am capable.
I am strong.
I can, and I will, get through this.
I release all that no longer serves me.
I've also been trying to be gentle with myself, such as notice how I'm feeling and do things based off of this. I woke up early this morning to go run, but didn't exactly feel like it, so I listened to myself and gave myself some time to snuggle with my cat instead. Right now, it is incredibly hard to be self-compassionate toward myself, but I know that in order to move on, I need to forgive myself. Rather than beat yourself up, or chase after the negative feelings, work to accept what has happened, learn from it as best as you can, and work toward forgiving yourself. Only you can truly help yourself move on, and it begins with forgiveness.
6. Stay off social media, and spend some genuine time alone, doing the things you love
One thing I've always wanted to do was work to become my own best friend. I enjoy spending time by myself, but I wanted to get to know myself even more. I wanted to make myself laugh, make myself feel full and joyful all on my own, without depending on any other person so deeply. And in this time, there seems to be no better time than to turn to myself. While I've gone on social media a few times due to habit, and have reached out to others, I've mostly stayed offline, instead of focusing on myself and nourishing my body as needed. I'm trying my best to be my own best friend in this strange time. Some self-care ideas to do with yourself right now include:
Read a good book
Go on a walk
Take a warm bath
Make a playlist
Exercise, if you're feeling up to it
Watch something funny and heartwarming
Journal, or write a letter
Yoga, or stretch
Engross yourself in a video game
Hug a pet
7. Remember that life is always continuing... trust the process, and let go
If you may or may not know, my spirit animal is a sea turtle and has been since I went through a painful breakup in my junior year of high school. My mom and grandmother took me out shopping to get my mind off of it. We visited a jewelry store that presented you with personalized jewelry after taking a quiz. My spirit animal, according to that quiz, was a sea turtle. They represent longevity, wisdom, and slow and steady growth, but it was less about that, and more of what the woman helping me said about the sea turtle: "Seeing a sea turtle is a reminder that life continues, always." I remember that this statement struck so deep with me that it brought me to tears. After that experience, I began seeing sea turtles everywhere. Absolutely everywhere, in the strangest of places. To this day, the sea turtle has helped me through many obstacles.
A few years ago, I decided to get a sea turtle tattoo to remind me of the message, "Life continues, always". It's funny, because until a little bit ago, I forgot about this important message, and when I glanced down at my wrist, I was filled with that familiar comfort.
It's difficult to accept that not everything is going to go as planned, and it is always hard to fully let go and allow the path to carve itself out for you. But, in difficult times, sometimes the best thing to do is trust the process, and let go, and know that, like the sea turtle represents, life will continue, and so will we. We will rise, and keep moving, keep progressing, keep healing. It'll take time, but with patience, and trust, I know that I, we, will finally heal. In time, we will reach a place of acceptance.
Wherever you are right now, I am sending you all the love I have. Feel free to reach out for guidance, or comment what you are currently going through and I can assist in any way that I can.
I may or may not know you, but regardless I love you anyway. Especially you, and you know who you are. We will get through this, alone, or together. Whatever the case, we will come out on the other side, and perhaps stronger than ever before.