I wish I could say I learned these lessons once and use them every time I have a bad day, but most I’ve learned the hard way many times. But once I do remember, most problems dissolve pretty quickly.
Is this challenge a reason I can’t enjoy today?
Is the problem I’m facing a reason I can’t be kind to people? Is it a reason I can’t eat healthy food? Probably not. Don’t use one problem as an excuse to create more problems.
Your feelings are valid.
Anyone would feel the same emotions you’re feeling with the same perceived threats you see. But they might not be real threats, so acknowledge your emotions, learn what you can from them and move on.
Can you use this as a chance to grow?
Can this challenge help you learn a new skill? Could it be a chance to practice patience or empathy? When you look for the opportunities inside challenges it completely changes your perspective. Life’s curveballs become batting practice. Then you feel great because when life doesn’t go according to plan all you see are stepping stones to getting better.
Don’t panic over things that haven’t gone wrong yet
There are things you can deal with now and make decisions about and there are things you can’t. Anything in the latter category does not belong to the now. Is the thing you’re worried about actually a problem right now? Right this instant? If not then you’re bringing tomorrow’s problem into today.
You’re not alone.
Have you talked to someone about this? Maybe they have good advice, maybe they don’t. But talking about this with the right person will make you feel better. And especially if you don’t ask for help often, others will feel special that you leaned on them. This hardship could reinforce a friendship as well as making life way easier than if you tried to do things alone. Not to mention they have probably felt the same pain at some point. Opening up reminds us we’re not alone.
No one actually wants you to fail.
Maybe someone asked too much of you. Maybe they were unkind. But you’re probably still on the same team – it’s good for them if you succeed. Don’t view other people as evil conniving antagonists. They want you to succeed, but maybe they don’t understand what they are asking or how upset you feel if they’ve put you in this situation. Getting things done is way easier once you realize most people are either on your side or indifferent.
It’s not about you.
Yes people treat us poorly sometimes. Are they scared? Are they worried, stressed? You’re probably a NPC in their own version of this event. Don’t take their actions personally. That helps you focus on what you can do and what you have control over instead of fantasizing about someone sabotaging you (they’re not).
The outcome of this challenge does not define you.
Much like having a six pack (or not) is only one small part of you, this challenge is even less a part of you than that. This challenge is the sum of a thousand factors you can’t control. You can ride it like a bull, have some fun, do your best and learn something, but eventually how other people label it as success or failure is not up to you. That’s okay. Just have fun with it where you can and do your best. Your life is bigger than this one thing you’re worried about.
I hope this was useful for you. It’s important to remember that we will never have life figured out. There’s always going to be bad days that throw us off, regardless of how much we improve. What matters is how fast you can get back to enjoying life when that happens. And it gets easier with practice.