Thank you to those of you who sent me some wonderful replies to my last blog about what to do when you experience severe setbacks.
Apart from feeling comforted from reading your encouraging comments and words of support, I also noticed that the sharp edge of my hopelessness and helplessness had dissipated.
Feeling loved, heard and understood goes a long way no matter where the love, listening and understanding comes from – our partner, our family, our friends, even strangers.
Here are other things that have helped that might help you too when faced with serious challenges and setbacks.
I’ve noticed that, as the days passed, the sharpness of the fear and feelings of hopelessness lessened.
- Doing something that give you a sense of purpose
In my case, running that workshop at Surrey University I mentioned in my previous blog felt great.
It reminded me that I’m good at what I do and that it makes a difference. That really matters to me and encourages me to redouble my efforts to do more of that.
- Doing something you enjoy
A dear friend responded to my blog with a list of tangible things he does that works for him in times of despair.
- Spending time with people you like.
- Watching films that make you feel uplifted (in my case, no violence!). That leaves courtroom dramas, stories of people facing and overcoming challenges (I love those!), mysteries, time travel and some romcoms.
- Reading books I enjoy. Right now I’m reading John Grisham’s ‘The Street Lawyer’. For me, un-put-down-able!
- Listening to music that uplifts me and makes me want to jump up and dance.
- The one suggestion he offered that I liked best was ‘eat chocolate’!
I did that this weekend. A friend brought me my most favourite chocolates of all time: M&S dark chocolate cherry brandies.
- Things to avoid
- The news.
- Whingers, moaners, complainers and blamers.
- Spiritual practice
I may have mentioned in passing that I’m a Buddhist.
Last night I went to our monthly discussion meetings which focused, of all things, how to be inspired in times when you feel discouraged and hopeless.
Unusually for me, I felt unable to contribute but, luckily for me, others did. They spoke of their struggles – both how they overcame them and one woman who was right in the middle of her own very challenging struggle. We all held her in our hearts with love and support as she spoke which is how she felt able to share her pain and what it felt like. She wept and felt all the better for being heard, understood and supported.
The discussion moderator also reminded us of some Buddhist principles.
The most relevant to me was being reminded that, when you take some positive action that may move you forwards, your negative inner critic becomes particularly active. Believe it or not, this is evidence that you are on the right track.
I knew that. I just forgot.
The Buddhist way to manage and alleviate the feeling of fear and hopelessness is by chanting and taking positive action, regardless of what things are like right now.
As Susan Jeffers said in her classic book, ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway”.
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to keep on keeping on.
That’s the message I would like to leave you with.
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. And something you may have forgotten, you’re not alone.
If you have and need a helping hand, contact me for a free Obstacle Smashing Exploratory Session. I will help you remember and what to do with the information.
With love and gratitude