You know you’re not in control anymore.
This is probably the most difficult realization about hard times.
What feels like overnight you are suddenly questioning what you thought you knew, perhaps you have to make big shifts before you feel ready or maybe life simply doesn’t seem to be going your way. Don’t fret, dear friend! I am here to remind you that it’s possible to turn even the most jarring situations into opportunities for healing and growth if you can call forth enough self observation, willingness, surrender, patience, and trust.
Here’s why these qualities are key to transcending our troubles.
- Self observation: Our pain can be our greatest teacher, we can use it for our own development if only we muster up the courage to lean into it. Relief and understanding comes, in part, when we stop fending off the unpleasant and allow it to be an equal part of our experience. Often, our initial reaction when going through a difficult time is to protect ourselves from being overwhelmed and hurt and we do this by ignoring and sometimes walling off our fear and uncomfortable feelings.
Yet, as you most likely have experienced, those fears have a way of penetrating through and causing disruption regardless. Do not grasp after the pleasant or push away the unpleasant, but give equal attention to everything there is to observe, taught the Buddha. You must acknowledge what you’ve avoided. This can be difficult at first but becomes remarkably easy once one gets the hang of it. Instead of avoiding the conversation summon the curiosity to turn in and ask “What is this fear about? Maybe I should take a look.” I think you will discover with much joy that all the insight you need for healing exists within.
- Willingness: Step one was about shining a light on the reality of your inner world through self observation while step two is about turning outwards and addressing the external world. You must be willing to do what you believe you cannot and see things–and people –as they are. It can be painful to call into question what we believe is true and unwavering about someone or something we care for or have invested much of our sense of security and and self in. But if you don’t deal with the problem with curiosity and courageousness I can guarantee your situation will be prolonged.
- Trust & Faith: These two principles are often confused but if you look closer there is a difference. “Trust is the belief that you can get through anything, and faith is the energy that grows from that trust, helping you carry on until things bet better.” –Iyanla Vanzant You can’t have the latter without the former.
- Surrender: It’s not about giving up or being weak. It’s about nurturing the knowing that there is a larger force, who is rooting for you, at work beneath the surface of your experience. You are exactly where you need to be. I admit that surrendering during hard times can be a huge spiritual challenge because it can be so difficult to accept the uncertainty and perceived instability. And there in lies the work! Having no guarantee of a specific outcome you must know that whatever happens, you will be okay!
Riding the wave of difficult times can unnerve the most centered of us, but in the same way we are unable to rush the unfolding of the seasons, we can’t force ourselves through a challenging experience in less time than we need to learn and grow. I do hope, however, this post has served you and with these tools you are able to navigate unpleasant times with more introspection, grace and faith.
Image credit: Jane Hudson-Blush Shop
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