I recently came across a little card that I wrote to myself that said, “I choose happy!” I started to cry, ironically, because it brought back the memory of why I wrote this note. At that time, I was struggling to get out of bed in the morning and getting through the day was difficult. I thought my world had ended and I felt sad every single day. So, I wrote my note, “I choose happy!” as a reminder that I can choose to wake up with a different mindset and give myself a break from the sadness I was feeling. It helped me get through those difficult days and today, I still make the choice each morning to “choose happy!”

Finding that little note was a reminder to myself that I had made it through one of the most difficult challenges I would ever face.

Nobody likes going through difficult times. Whether the difficulty is because of health, relationships, career, or loss, these rough times we face can be so challenging. When we are first presented with the issue we are about to face, our first reaction is to resist it, fight it, and try to prevent it from happening. We do not want to have to deal with the struggle and yet in reality, there is nothing we can do to stop it from happening. I wish there was a magic cure, but there is no shortcut to the pain we are about to face.

I personally was faced with a life altering challenge about three years ago. I do not want to go into details because of how it may affect some of the people in my life. What I will share, is how I got through it. And no matter what you are facing right now, you will get through it. How you do this will depend on choices you make along the way. I decided from the onset of my challenge that I would become stronger and better than I was before it started. I would like to share ten things that helped me in the hopes that it will help you too.

  1. One day at a time; one step at a time. “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.” When faced with a challenge, we want the quick fix. Take the pain away. But the process of recovery isn’t that simple. Slow down and just get through the day. Tomorrow do the same. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
  2. Remind yourself that what you are going through will eventually pass. Time is a healer and the hurt will lesson more and more each day. “Tough times never last. Tough people do.” There are more rainbows in your future.
  3. Read articles about your specific challenge. Get tips to help you wherever you can. Search, “how to overcome . . .”
  4. Keep a journal. Write about your good days and your bad days. Keep track of your little victories along the way. Make lists of what helps you feel better. Write about why you are grateful.
  5. Accept what is happening to you. This doesn’t mean you have to like it or agree with it. Just stop resisting. When I was pregnant with my first son, my birthing instructor said, “Labor is going to hurt. If you fight against it, it will hurt worse. So, lesson the pain by accepting that it is happening.”
  6. Make yourself visual reminders. I hung positive quotes, sayings, and pictures all over my apartment. Everywhere I looked, I had something staring me in the face to encourage me to keep my chin up. I also made myself a flip book of positive affirmations that I keep on my desk.
  7. Appreciate your friends and family. “Hard times will always reveal true friends.” I would not have made it through without the people around me. My sisters especially really supported me in a way that I could never repay them. Take the time to appreciate your support system.
  8. Ask yourself what you can learn from this experience. “Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you,” Shannon Alder. Be a life learner and see this difficulty as a way for you to grow. Try to find the opportunities within the difficulty. It will change you so make it a good change.
  9. Be aware of the good days. Celebrate the days that you feel wonderful. I remember that as time passed, I would have more good days each week. Eventually, I stopped tracking my good days because the bad days occurred less and less.
  10. Allow yourself the space to heal. Sometimes there is no reason why this happened to you, it just did. There are no answers to your questions that will help. Forget the blame, forget the guilt, let go of all the confusion in your head.

Remember, you are not alone in your struggle. Somewhere, someone is experiencing exactly what you are going through too. You will get through whatever it is you are facing. Decide to rise above it and not be defeated by it. Three years later, I can honestly say, “I am better because of it.” My difficulty made me a better person and I wouldn’t trade all of the life learning opportunities I had to face to avoid the pain I experienced. In a sense, it was worth it. Not all challenges will bring that result, so I am grateful to feel this way right now.

Nobody likes going through difficult times, but rest assured, things will get better and you will get through it. If you are at the beginning, middle, or end of your struggle, keep going. Here is a quote that helped me focus on the day I would feel better. “When life looks like it is falling apart, it may just be falling in place.” Beverly Solomon

Side note: I found all the quotes used in this article on google. Some of the sources were not mentioned and even after searching I could not find the author. I apologize for not being able to give proper credit.

Featured photo by 30daysreplay on Unsplash.