Growing up I, like most, had many teenage crises (which really were not crises), and I remember my grandmother’s sweet voice saying: “Oh Andria, this too shall pass.” Now when I’m having a forty-something year old crisis, it’s my mom’s voice telling me the same thing. I guess it’s in the genes because here I am writing a blog post about it.
A few years ago, I had a most trying time in my life. In the midst of my dad getting sick and passing away very quickly from pancreatic cancer, one of my dogs passed away from cancer, and my business was in a state of flux. It often seems life’s trying times are compounded by one event after another. One of my clients recently experienced a similar effect in her life: mom diagnosed with cancer, husband lost his job, and brother struggling with addiction. I wish I had an answer for why life seems to throw us everything at once but I don’t. I only know one thing that’s certain about life: nothing stays the same.
When we are in the middle of hard times, it’s difficult to have perspective or remember that life is a series of moments in time, and our hard times are just that – moments. It may feel like they will last forever, but they never do. We are often gripped with fear that we will always feel heartbroken, sad, rejected, disappointed, or frustrated by what’s currently happening, but that fear is an illusion. It’s a story in our head.
We know, logically, that the hard time won’t last forever, but in the grips of difficult emotions and experiences we cannot believe it. Instead, we believe the fearful story that things will never change and we’ll be miserable forever.
This is a story that can be hard to override so I want to share a few things that can help when you’re experiencing an ongoing trying time.
First, feel your emotions. Don’t try to hold it all together. Allow yourself space to feel whatever emotions need to be expressed. Anger, sadness, grief, frustration – they are simply emotions, which are energy in motion (e-motion). They need to move. Let them be felt. One thing I tried to do while my dad and my dog were both dying was keep myself excessively busy so I didn’t have to feel any of the difficult emotions. It didn’t work. Those emotions needed to come out and be felt. When I allowed myself time and space to grieve and cry I was much more able to deal with the reality that life was presenting to me.
Second, find and express appreciation for life. I know this can be hard during trying times. And, this is when it’s most important. Even during my awful year, I still had a lot to be grateful for – my own health and that of my other animals and family members, my home, my husband, friends, clients, the list goes on… I also had a lot to be sad and angry about. Going through difficult times isn’t mutually exclusive of blessings or vice versa. Life is filled with all of it, all the time. It’s okay to be sad and joyful all in the same day! Allow yourself to experience the breadth of all of life’s moments, even during a difficult time.
And finally, remember, this too shall pass. Change is the only constant in life. As much as many parents want their children to stay young forever, they still grow up. As much as I don’t want summer and autumn to turn to winter, it still happens.
Change is certain, which means the trying time, the difficult month, or difficult year will also change. The pendulum will swing.
After my father died I didn’t think I’d ever be able to think about him without crying. I will never stop missing my dad and I still cry sometimes when I think of him, but the raw emotion of losing him has passed. And yes, I actually smile and laugh most of the time when I think of him. As with everything in life, the sad and most difficult time passed.
If you are dealing with a difficult time in your life I offer you this: be kind and loving to yourself as you let your emotions flow; try to not believe the voice of fear which tells you that life will always be hard; look for the blessings in your suffering; and…
Andria Corso is an award-winning life and leadership coach, author, and founder of AndriaCorso & Co. She is also the bestselling author of Fear to Flow: How to Let Go of Your Struggle and Allow Life to Unfold Perfectly which is about how to move away from living in fear and instead, live in the Divine flow of life. For more information, please visit www.andriacorso.com or connect with her at Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.