Sometimes things just don’t go as you’d wish them to go. One adversity after another sweeps into your life like waves on a shore coming against you. Everything seems to have come together in a little conspiracy. Life sucks.
If such a series of adversities happens, your life can get really overwhelming and questions like „Why is this happening to me?“ or „What I have done to deserve this?“ pop up in the mind. But those questions are not really helping, especially not in that state of overwhelm, anger, frustration or even depression…
So what can you do inside and out to cope?
This is another post that was inspired by the feedback of my latest newsletter (thanks Mike!)
The first thing you need to do is to break your current state of emotional pain and negative thinking. This is necessary because you probably need to make some changes and for that being effective you have to get away a bit from the „life sucks“ attitude.
The Upward and Downward Spiral:
If there are multiple negative things in your face, this could potentially develop negative momentum. When this manifests itself in your mind, your thinking and your attitude, this is called a downward spiral:
The downward spiral means your inner state gets influenced by the outer events and your emotional state goes down. This must be stopped.
So the first step is always awareness: You need to recognize when you’re getting sucked in into in some kind of downward spiral and you need to stop and then break that pattern that is producing it… by doing the following…
2. You Are Not Your Situation
Avoid to create an identity out of your situation. You are no „Failure“ or „Loser“, it is just a situation, which is neutral in itself. The judgement and meaning comes from you (and yes, others too, but first and foremost you are responsible for yourself) giving it a certain meaning.
What is happening is either a) as a result of what you did or how you are, or b) it came from circumstances completely out of your control.
You can change. Everybody can.
And it starts with changing your mindset. Take a step back, know that you are not the situation and take a fresh look at what you see and especially where you want to go from here…
3. Analyze. Do Not Overanalyze.
Have you understood your situation? What were the causes? What do you want instead? How can you get out? What’s the first step? Asking those kind of questions will create clarity about how things are.
Do you already have a good understanding of what happened? Or at least of what is relevant for yourself now? If so, avoid overanalyzing. The trap of overanalyzing can lead to paralysis by analysis or in the worst case to thinking loops (a cause for developing depression). So while understanding is important, on the other hand don’t overdo it.
Sometimes you have to accept a situation. Acceptance of „what is“ can be very powerful because it can clear your way, make room for something new to emerge and end an inner fight that is futile by nature.
Still accepting doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t change the situation, it is merely an alignment with the truth of your situation. When you accept you stop struggling with what has already happened, what is reality. Only then you are open and completely ready for effective change and new positive results to enter.
In order to get out of this downward spiral, after stopping the negative patterns, you need to focus your mind new. You need take away your focus from what you don’t want: negative thoughts, pessimism, overwhelm, hopelessness and put it on what you want.
Focus on solutions, your goals, your ideal life and how to get there. What is the next step in that direction? What action can you do to resolve the situation? That’s what needs to fill up your mind.
Developing a plan gives you something to hold on to. It’s not only a roadmap but also something stable that can give you safety when things fall apart.
One of the challenging tasks during difficult times is to manage your emotions: Not giving up hope, staying calm enough to not to let anger, hatred or frustration influence your action.
Seeing these positive outcomes will a) help you to create uplifting emotions and b) bring you to take action towards these results.
6. Take One Action
Taking the first step and doing something into the right direction again can be the key. We all are learning by small successes, we repeat what works (and stop what doesn’t work). So starting and doing one thing has the power to build positive momentum again.
But you need to use your new won focus and do something.
Ask yourself: What would help the most now?
Then start there.
7. Get Help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Tough times can show you who your real friends are. And helping each other out will deepen relationships and has the power to create stronger bonding.
When I suffered from clinical depression in my late teens, I remember clearly who helped me out (and who did not). Yes, you are responsible for your life, but that includes asking for help.
Talk with friends, ask people who have similar situations, ask for professional help. Do your part. And ask for what you need.
You are not alone.
@Mans, this compounding of steps into the right direction is probably one of my favorites principles in personal growth. You just don’t have to get there overnight.
Number six definitely resonates with me the best. Just start with one thing. I had somewhat of an epiphany that I needed to get my act together, but that still manifested in a slow steady process towards overall development.
That is really what you need to do if you want to be really successful. The theory of „ego depletion“, which I’m not entirely sure I agree with, states that you only have so much willpower at a given point. Build up habits slowly and you don’t really have to worry about this.
Cool Mike, thanks.
Great post as always. I love that Emotional Scale. It gave me a chance to check my emotional levels today to see which direction I was heading in for the day. Keep up the good work.
Thanks Jorge. Yes, then suddenly everything doesn’t seem so heavy anymore, right?!
Wonderful article, Myrko. I really like number 2 and I agree that it is the key to stopping your downward spiral. When you are able to separate the problem from your identity (not saying you’re a failure but rather recognizing that you failed), you will be able to see it in a different perspective and work at making things better.
Good stuff. Just finished reading your article from 2008 about life through depression. I would consider myself almost identical to your experience in regards to stroke symptoms and little help from others. Even though treatment 14 years ago would have been nice being 29 now.
I find myself at a certain tipping point that really pulls out a strange faith. Any day I feel like it can all change though as of now I do not know. What I find the most encouraging is to read that you too have been here and found the escape hatch. It encourages me to just lay it out their for my friends. I wish that I knew I had problems earlier and that it was more forgiving.
Regardless thank you
You’re welcome Shelly! All the best!
Thank you so much for this. I desperately needed to happen upon this lovely display of positive reinforcement and constructive „How-To“ where I am at in my life right now. Couldn’t have been bestowed upon me at a better time. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you very much, important insight!
Yes, the purpose is probably more a „knowing“, a sense of being in harmony with it. Trusting your authentic self – by giving it room – and letting it guide you may be the way to purpose.
I also find Myrko’s site and attitude outstanding! Looking forward to read Ben’s book! I am personally all my life had an idea to find my life purpose . It’s somehow very hard and elusive for me.Yesterday I tried dr.Roy technique and I think now that maybe a life purpose cannot be described in words, it’s may be of different nature. Somehow the concept ,the question of life purpose is mental, but the answer maybe hard to describe in words.
Hi Esther and Myrko
Many people have this very problem they don’t know how to discover their true life’s purpose. I work with school children and have developed as system whereby I help them to do just that. Prior to them making a career choice and thus pick subjects I help them discover what their life’s purpose is. I know that it is the most important thing any person must do or they end in a dead end street and become rudderless ships on the ocean of life and their dream end on the rocks. Not living your true life’s purpose it the biggest reason people fail at whatever they attempt.
I have seen it over and over, even with adults how they blossom after going through the process of discovering their true life’s purpose because it gives them a clear cut view of what they must do and thus they find life much more rewarding and then they excel at whatever they do! Having the bigger picture gives you the ability to see where your hearts desires fit in and what the next one will be in the process, which is a lifelong process, in the achievement of your ultimate purpose – inner peace, joy and happiness. All roads leads to Rome – that inner peace and happiness, your Rome and your heart’s desires is the vehicle to get you there and your true life’s purpose set the theme of your life.
I’m writing a new book and I’m 80% done, that describes the process in one of the chapters and has obligations toward my publisher so I can’t say much more. The process is simple and logical, one part of it involves a series of question with no right or wrong answers and a self-evaluation of your answers according to your own set of values. Besides that I teach them how to set up a two way communication system with their authentic-self to serve as a guidance, which gives you the potential to never make a wrong choice or decision ever again in your life and the feedback is phenomenal.
Myrko the work you have done is outstanding and I want to congratulate you, soon as the book is released I will let you know. It is my belief that it will put a new perspective and fresh approach on the law of attraction and the process of manifestation because once people understand the basics of quantum physics and the basics of the biology of their own bodies, together with understanding what we really are and why we are here the whole picture changes. There are those who succeed at a higher level because have unknowingly they stumbled upon their life’s purpose and those who excel really know their life’s purpose.
My editor said I’m notorious for typing errors and I made one with my own name HA HA so I fixed it thank you for a great website and the bottom line is this:
Earl Nightingale said “Success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal” Unless we discover our worthy ideal or true life purpose as the FIRST step toward success and you can’t pick one you must discover it because you picked it before you arrived here, people will continue to have failure after failure because the director will step in! And life will happen on a hit and miss basis because there is no clear cut purpose for doing what they are doing, they need to see the bigger picture and where their heart’s desires (AKA Goals) fit in.
I love your upward and downward spiral picture. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve had times in my life when I focused on the bad. As a result it seemed like the world was becoming a bad place and I was losing control.
That is why I always try to stay positive and focus on opportunities in life. The more I do that, the better I feel and the more good things I find about this world.
@Esther, for purpose I would look inside and try to listen to what your heart tells you. Also on the outside, I would look at a) what I love to do (Passion), b) what comes easy for me and where I can create very good results (Skill) and c) where I create value for others (Success).
I wrote about that briefly here: http://www.myrkothum.com/finding-the-right-career-part-1/
And I wrote about finding your burning desire here: http://www.myrkothum.com/ignite-your-burning-desire/
Good luck! :)
Hi, I agree with all that Ben van der Peol wrote, and all my life I am trying to find what my life purpose may be, and I still don’t have an answer…
@Glynis Jolly, I think we can always learn something from so-called negative times, important things. As for me I learned personal responsibility from a time of depression. And I turned that learning into a driving power for my life. I’m happy to have that now. I’m sure you will grow with your challenges too! :)
Myrko, You have given so truly practical advice here. I’m going through one of those periods of adversities right now. Because of past experiences, I know that eventually it will turn around. Maybe not 180 degrees, but things will get better. I have found that refocusing (#5 on your list) is what seems to do me the most good. I believe that in most situations, a negative can be turned into a positive with a little manipulation.
@Ben, I enjoyed the label „true hearts desire“ which distinguishes between an „empty“ goal and a goal connected to your life’s purpose. The analogy between actor (ego-mind) and director (authentic self) is a good one.
Your life can be compared to a movie, in your movie you are the star actor and the director simultaneously. The physical you or the actor is acting on the stage of life here on earth or the physical plane, and the director, your authentic-self or the nonphysical you is directing things from the nonphysical or spiritual realm.
The director, your authentic-self has and knows the script of your movie that you created before you arrived here on the physical plane. To play out your role the director, your authentic-self only gives you in the present moment what you need to do and know to play out your script. Not knowing to much about your future, your mission or your true life’s purpose is actually an advantage, the mystery is part of life, because your authentic-self can efficiently direct things from behind the scenes when you allow it to and in so doing it will increase the enjoyment of life tremendously.
Have you ever watched a movie several times? Have you also noticed how the level of enjoyment decrease with each time you watch it. This is because the element of mystery and surprise is gone because you know what is going to happen and how the movie ends. Therefore it is better not to know all the details of your life’s mission, you can’t see what your authentic-self can see, thus, all you need to know is what to do next and enjoy the journey.
Your life’s purpose is predestined by you before you get here and you also came here with free will, the director like any other good director will allow some improvising of the script by the actor to a certain degree, so you don’t have to play out the script exactly as it was written. When the plot or story line of the script is lost because of your improvising the director must step in to bring you back to within the story line of your script. You have free will to create your life and have any experience you desire but many of these experiences are not in harmony with your true life’s purpose and then turn into limitation. Thus, if you want to experience the unlimited possibilities that are available to you I suggest you supplement your efforts by working with your authentic-self.
You and your unique situation and circumstances can find the perfect solution to any problem or obstacle that present itself by working in harmony with your authentic-self. Through your authentic-self your life can be so much easier because you can reach specific, techniques, ideas, people and resources that will aid you in the achievement of your true life’s purpose that are not accessible through your ego self. There would be no more struggle, no more worries, bitterness, resentment or self-doubt and you can live in this great way all the time when you work with your authentic-self instead of against it. To be able to live like this you will have to stop your ego-mind from controlling you by opening yourself up to the ongoing assistance from your authentic-self.
If you don’t know what your true life’s purpose are you, the actor will be out of the story line of your script more often than not, thus the director, your authentic-self will have to step in and does so by presenting you with negatives. You experience these negatives as the so called bad circumstances, conditions, events, people and things. The very first way your authentic-self is “talking” to you is by presenting you with a negative emotion, always remember emotion are never good or bad but just positive or negative. All the emotions you are capable of experiencing are only and nothing more than feedback from the director to tell you whether you are on or off track.
If you don’t heed to the director’s “talk” or call to get back in line with the story line of your script, the director will intensify the negatives to such a point that you will be stopped dead in your tracks, when the negatives become totally overwhelming. Now it does not matter which goals you set if the goal you set whether consciously or unconsciously is not in alignment with your true life’s purpose you WIIL fail.
Thus the first step is to identify your true life’s purpose, when you pick a life’s purpose which is not a true purpose it is called a life’s calling. Any goals you now set will be called goals and through persistence you may achieve many goals. In the achievement of these goals you will come across many obstacles and even though you may have achieved some of your goals you will be stopped dead.
However if you go through the process of discovering your true life’s purpose you will find the main theme of your script and many people find their script by chance and become more successful but never really reach true happiness, peace of mind and fulfilment. When you discover the main theme of your true life’s purpose you no longer set goals that fall outside of the story line of your script because you now have true purpose you will select true heart’s desires that is a definite step in the direction of the attainment of your true purpose. By making use of true heart’s desires you will reach a point of true inner happiness, peace of mind and fulfilment. Thus you will have true heart’s desires and not goals of getting the things you want, need or would like to have.
Having a true heart’s desire you are laser focused, and no longer need extrinsic (outside) motivation, you will be driven by intrinsic motivation, meaning when you get up in the morning you can’t wait for the day to get going and you are in a state of permanent positive expectation. The chatter in your head is no longer trivial mental activity but clear precise thinking about your heart’s desire, meaning you have positive thinking processes of ask, answer, discuss about your desire. The effect is you have no contradicting thoughts towards your desire and you are now on the right side of the line for the ever working law of attraction to take its course to produce that which you desire.
What’s more because we think in pictures you will have a picture in your mind of the end result in your mind and effectively do visualisation. Combined with that is the positive self talk of ask, answer and discuss, real thinking which is in effect a constant affirmation and you are automatically achieving two objectives because of the intrinsic motivation that comes from within.
Wants, needs and would like to haves are just like new-year resolutions, failure ego statements with no real intent to be fulfilled, in comparison to true heart’s desires. Having a desire means you already have an innate ability to achieve and it is not a matter if you can achieve your objective but rather a matter of time before you have what you desired to have. Then you select the next desire which is the next step towards the achievement of your true life’s purpose.
Goals does not have the ability to generate intrinsic motivation or will power, goal setters tend to force things and their persistence is mistaken for will power, while true heart’s desires is the only way to activate real will power and calmness in the knowing it is only a matter of time before your desires show up. Will power and intrinsic motivation is the forces that leads to persistence to overcome the challenges you may experience along the way.
Goal setters will not experience challenges to grow from but rather obstacles that eventually become so overwhelming that they can’t be overcome no matter what they try. Their persistence, so called will power and motivation fly out the window, they stop the pursue of that goal simply jump in to the next goal that seam to be a nice thing to have and perhaps achievable all because there is no genuine purpose. Thus to discover your true life’s purpose is of upmost importance as the very first step in achieving any kind of successes because if you don’t you will unknowingly be in a dead end street.
@Dalia: Yes, because acceptance is alignment with truth again.
You probably have seen my other post on acceptance http://www.myrkothum.com/acceptance/
hi, what helped me the most and what helps me the most in my low times is acceptance and being with whatever that is, it took many many times to read and hear and watch someone say that in different words but the same thing: YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT WHAT IS, at this point in time, nothing is more powerful to me than that, and so reading this article, i find it that it would be more helpful at least for someone like me, to stress the importance of acceptance, and than of course explaining that it doesnt mean you have to stay where you are when you are being beaten up. and from my experience i feel maybe it would have been helpful to mention the importance that the reaction to any situation has the power over your state of mind, that it is never about the situation, ever, it is about how you react to it, watching your reaction or non reaction and accepting of what is, has not come across anything more powerful in life than this, mind blowing, literally:)