Life isn't just rainbows and butterflies and that is okay.
A while back, I started writing a book about Hope. A few months later, after a series of events, I found myself in what can only be described as a dark night of the soul.
Sitting on my closet floor crying in despair, I pondered to the Universe, "How can a write a book about Hope, when I have no Hope myself?"
Over the last five or six years, I have been in and out of this hopeless state and I still haven't finished my book about Hope.
The thought police out there will tell you that all you have to do is think positive! "No negative vibes here!" And to a certain extent, they are right, we are a product of our dominant thoughts and dominant vibration.
But to deny our negative side is to deny a piece of ourselves. It is who we are at some moments but it doesn't have to be all of who we are.
The biggest thing I have learned while dealing with chronic illness the last few years is things will ALWAYS change.
Let me repeat that again for those in the back: THINGS WILL ALWAYS CHANGE!!!
That means to be grateful for the good times and enjoy them to the fullest and ride through the hard times knowing it won't always be this way.
Here are some tips for getting through those dark nights of the soul, or even that difficult day at work and how to handle your negative thoughts.
Own it! Own it and feel it to the tips of your toes. Hey, this is you for this moment. Be in that moment to the fullest. Don't judge yourself of feel shame. This is a time to practice self-compassion. Even the strongest of us have sad days or dark thoughts. Give yourself space and time to allow this emotion to be whatever it is. That may be an hour, a day, or a week...you get to decide what is the best timeline for YOU!
Then I put into practice what I call EVALUATE, CONTEMPLATE AND INVIGORATE.
Be conscious of your thoughts. This is a huge part of being authentic. First you must be authentic with yourself before you can be authentic with the rest of the world and that starts with listening to your self-talk and opinions.
Ask yourself these things:
Is it true? Is what you are saying about yourself true or have you blown it out of proportion and reached for the worst case scenario. Yes, you may have made a less than optimal decision, but you are not the worst person in the world, a loser or any other negative thing that you tell yourself.
Are you using all or nothing thinking? Well, if this wasn't the best decisions then all of my decisions are bad. NO, you know that isn't true so don't reinforce that thought in your mind.
Am I personalizing this? Does this situation even have anything to do with you or is is something out of your control? How often have we beat ourselves up over something not in our control?
You can actually put negative thoughts to work for your good and well-being. Negative thoughts are like beacons in the night, lighting the way toward areas where we still need to heal and untapped areas of growth.
Does this situation remind you of something similar in your distant past or childhood? Are you overreacting because this moment reminds you of another time in which you were not in control? Can you put this event into perspective in terms of what you can learn from the situation?
No life event is ever wasted, even the most uncomfortable, if we can learn or grow from them.
How often have we looked back on darker parts of our life and realized that while it was hard at the moment, it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to us.
You wouldn't be where you are and who you are today without everything that has happened so far in your life!!!
Will this situation matter in 6 months, 3 years, 10 years? This is another great way to put a situation into perspective in terms of the whole of your existence.
Please don't feel as if I am minimizing what you are currently experiencing! I for one have been in some very bad places in my mind and overall I consider myself a positive person. Life can be hard sometimes.
Positive people have negative thoughts too! They just don't let those thoughts grow and destroy them.
Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive!
Now that you have had some time to be okay with this part of your being, have looked at what might be behind these thoughts and challenged yourself to find areas to heal and grow, it is now time to revitalize your life!
This is where the boots hit the pavement.
The first thing you want to avoid is getting stuck. Sometimes stuck is good. It can mean you need to further evaluate your next step. Sometimes stuck is not good and can mean you are avoiding healing, reality or your next steps.
It could be out of fear, it could be that you feel you don't deserve happiness, it could be you are just plain exhausted. Let's face it, soul crisis' are soul draining!
Keep busy! Look for volunteer opportunities to help someone else. There is nothing better than the endorphins of doing something positive to help turn the tide of your predominant thoughts.
Avoid triggers. If you know a weekend with your parents will just send you down the proverbial rabbit hole, then put them off till you are in a better peace of mind. If certain friends are always complaining and bringing down your energy, limit your time with them.
Take care of yourself! Get plenty of rest. You can't deal with anything big when you are feeling the affects of lack of sleep. You tend to anger quicker, and feel more anxious and irritable.
Get out in nature or play with your pets. Trees and animals are super soul food. Do some grounding by walking barefoot through the grass. Sit near a gentle stream. Hike your favorite trail with a buddy. Get moving!
Be grateful, be grateful, be grateful. Make a list of your positive attributes and everything you can think of that you are grateful for. Repeat it before you fall asleep and just when you wake up to set the tone for the day.
Focus on what you really have control over. It is really easy for me to feel overwhelmed with all of the things I need to change sometimes. I try to make a list of the top 3 things I can do right now to move forward. Even if it is just a baby step, and then build on it from there.
The bottom line is this...things will never stay the same. You will get out of this hole! Be brave and be fierce, but also be kind to yourself and gentle. Take full advantage of any resources at your disposal including calling your bestie, calling the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or even going to your local emergency room if you need to.
We are all doing the best we can in this world. We all want to be happy. Free yourself from the cycle of perpetual negative thoughts by feeling them, moving through them and growing from them and the next time life gets you down, do it all over again. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary and in the times in between...THRIVE!