week three: even in hard times
For most of us we’ll say that we can still flourish during hardship but our actions often prove otherwise. Have you ever been in a tough season and questioned your ability to not only get through it but also flourish while you’re in it? When everything seems to be going wrong it’s easy to fall into a mindset of ‘this won't change’, ‘what’s the point’ or ‘I’ll deal with that later’. But the reality is being able to flourish in the hard times is the best thing we can do for ourselves not only in the present but also for our future selves.
When it comes to navigating a tough season one of the first things that can support you in flourishing is to accept it. Accept what you’re feeling - both good and bad, accept where you are now and don’t resist your current place. When you focus your energy on the circumstances you’re in, the ones out of your control, you’re wasting precious energy that you could use to better the process and focus on flourishing. We each will navigate difficult seasons differently, but one thing that can support you through this is a mantra that you can focus on and even meditate on when you’re struggling. For me, that mantra has always been, ‘this too shall pass’ because even in the darkest of times the reality is it will pass. The only consistency in life is change, therefore change will come and the tough place you're at will eventually change and shift into a better place. By accepting this season for what it is, a learning season to connect better with yourself and a chance to find your inner strength, the sooner you’ll see yourself flourish despite the circumstances you’re faced with.
One of our biggest tools that we frankly don’t use enough is the power of our mind. Our mindset can set us up or tear us down when it comes to struggles out of our control. Finding and maintaining the right perspective and utilizing the power of our mind allows us to navigate a difficult season with less stress and anxiety. One technique that I often lean on for this is thinking of my future self and more importantly my best self - where do I want to be in 3 months from now? How would the best version of myself show up and subsequently feel? It’s easy to feel defeated when life isn’t going the way you want but rather than giving into defeat, stop and ask yourself, what would the best version of myself do? How can I handle this moment or situation to better myself for the future - even if it is short term? This can be seen as after a long day of work, do you sit down on the couch and feel defeated and choose to mindlessly scroll on your phone? I know I do, sometimes more often than I’d like to admit. But that isn’t using my mindset to better myself not only in the moment but also where I’ll be on the other side of this season. In order to flourish we have to think about our future selves and doing the things we want to do least, first. So for me, instead of sitting down and scrolling through my phone to avoid my feelings of exhaustion and defeat, I talk myself up (revisit week two and how I use my inner dialogue) to face what I need to head on. I’ll put on a podcast or playlist I love, get into the kitchen and clean up leftover dishes, prepare dinner - with love and joy - and remind myself that despite my circumstances I have the power and ability to flourish.
The most valuable lesson from hardship is what you learn while facing it head on. The sooner I accepted that life happens in ways I cannot control but how I react to it will always be within my control has allowed me to find joy in the darkest moments of my life and most importantly to flourish despite outside circumstances. Life will always have hard hardships, that’s something we can’t avoid, but our resilience to get up after we fall down and harness our mindset in order to flourish is all within our power.