When I was navigating through a particularly difficult time in my life (I happened to be going through a divorce, helping my young children through the family change, looking for a new job, selling and then finding a new home), I remember feeling a bit down one day. My dad must have instinctively known that I needed some words of encouragement because he sent me this simple text… “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. – Virginia Greene”
I’ll never forget reading that text. My heart immediately bubbled into my throat. That simple quote was the kick in the pants I needed to get back into the ring we call life.
Throughout our lives, we will always be presented with challenges. On any given day, bad things can happen – you find out your spouse has been cheating on you, you lose your job, you receive notification from the IRS that you owe thousands of dollars in back taxes – whatever the bad things are, they happen. And they can happen to the best of us.
So, how can we get through all of the bad stuff that comes our way and move on with our lives? Here are some of the things that helped me through my difficult times.
Let it go…
Try to get your anger, sadness, anxiety or bitterness out of your system. Call someone – your best friend, your mom or dad, your significant other – and just vent. Feel free to cry, scream, complain, curse, and cry again… just do whatever you need to do to let it all go.
Get Some Perspective
Things in your life may be going bad but if you are still alive and breathing then you need to understand that things are still good (or could be a lot worse). Even if you feel like you’ve lost everything (your spouse, your job, your home) at least you know you are alive and if you’re alive, you can still turn things around.
Learn From the Past but Live in the Present
Whatever happened in the past is in the past – it is now officially over. If you do anything with the past, just make sure you learn from what happened so you can ensure that history doesn’t repeat itself. But don’t dwell on the past.
If you lost a job, dedicate yourself to finding a new one that makes you happy. Many people don’t feel right about quitting a steady, well paying job even though they may truly despise it. On the other hand, if you are downsized, you have the unique opportunity to find out what you really want to do and you can pursue a job that makes you happy. Consider yourself lucky.
If you just ended a significant relationship, dedicate yourself to becoming a better person. Learn why your relationship fell a part and use those lessons to make your next relationship better.
If you made a big mistake in your personal life, learn from it and commit to making sure you don’t make the same mistake in the future. Whatever happened, learn from it, build on it, and move on with your life.
Things Happen For A Reason
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Whatever has happened to me in the past – both good and bad – I know that it happened for a reason and it is something that had to happen in order for me to get where I needed to be. So if you are going through some painful emotions because you didn’t get that promotion or you feel devastated because a significant relationship has come to an end, try to be open to the lessons that result from these experiences.
Isn’t it comforting to know that there is a purpose behind all of your experiences (both good and bad)? And doesn’t it leave you with a positive feeling knowing that you will be able to use whatever you going through to get to a better place?
Don’t Sit Around Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Moping around feeling bad at what happened in your life is OK for a little bit of time. (See the “Let if Go…” section.) But giving up and feeling sorry for yourself is not a long-term solution. Didn’t get that job you wanted? Got passed over for that promotion? Got dumped by your girlfriend? All of that stinks and you should feel sad, mad and/or bitter. But now that you have some extra time, why not make some positive use out of it? Maybe learn to play the guitar, take a new language course, start working out more or volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter.
Whatever you decide to do, take some time to work on yourself. The more time you spend staying busy, the less time you have to spend on dwelling on the past and thinking negative thoughts.
Next time life gets you down – and it always will – accept what happened, learn from it, use it to get to a better place and improve yourself even more.
Learn to dance in the rain – you may even have fun doing it!