“Sometimes you go through things that seem huge at the time, like a mysterious glowing cloud devouring your entire community. While they’re happening, they feel like the only thing that matters and you can hardly imagine that there’s a world out there that might have anything else going on. And then the glow cloud moves on. And you move on. And the event is behind you. And you may find, as time passes, that you remember it less and less. Or absolutely not at all, in my case.” ~Cecil Baldwin

Sometimes we get sucked in by the tide and dragged off course.

It feels like despite our best efforts, everything is going wrong.

A friend of mine was feeling this way a couple of weeks ago. Just the week prior everything was relatively fine. But then all at once she was faced with a relationship reaching a crossroads, being warned her work wasn’t where it needed to be and watching a loved one deal with a health crisis.

She felt sucked in by a ferocious riptide.

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s our love life, our health, a job or a relationship, (or a medley of all these things), there are times we’ve all felt beaten up and defeated.

You catch a wave. You ride if for a bit. Just as quickly you stumble. You fall. You break.

You feel as though your life is collapsing and things will never be the same.

But then you take a pause. You take a step. You try again. You move. You cruise along with waves in the most carefree, natural way. You wonder at the beauty of beginnings and fresh starts. You marvel at the strength you didn’t know was in you. You watch your depleted tank become full again.

You catch a wave.

So it goes.

Sometimes we get sucked in by the tide and dragged off course. It feels like despite our best efforts, everything is going wrong—that at any moment we will drift so far off the map that we’ll be lost forever or that we will simply drown.

In those moments when it feels like things will never turn around, know this: they will. Maybe all your issues won’t be resolved. Maybe things will change in a massive, life altering way. Maybe you will suffer a deep and heartbreaking loss.

But things will transform.

Life can’t help itself. It ebbs and it flows and it is in constant change.

The problem is when we feel like everything is going wrong, we can’t see what is going right. @UniverseLetters (Click to Tweet!)

“No matter how bad things are, you can always make things worse.” ~Randy Pausch

We get so caught up in the causalities and conflicts around us that we have a tough time seeing if we can only stop fighting the tide, the shore is just within our reach.

Try to remember that the next time you are feeling defeated. Give yourself time and know that at any moment life can take a new direction.

Life can’t help itself.

Another week went by and my friend had turned things around. She simply woke up one day with a more positive outlook and decided she was going to make an effort to face these challenges in a more constructive way. She didn’t want to mope or feel defeated anymore. She made conscious choices to rise up and meet these challenges.

We always have a choice.

“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” ~Edwin Louis Cole

Choose how you will respond to the riptides. Choose when to let go and ride it out or when to reach for help to get you standing on solid ground once more.

And know this. In the times when we feel like everything is going wrong, recognize there may be a lesson to learn. Be mindful of the coincidences and feelings surrounding these events.

You might be surprised at what lies right underneath the surface, waiting for your attention.

Be aware that these rough waters may be pushing you to land somewhere else—somewhere better.

Tell me, what waves are you riding out right now?

*A version of this post was originally published on universeletters.com.

Angie Sarhan Salvatore received her M.F.A in Creative Non-Fiction. She currently teaches college writing and designs inspirational jewelry. For more of her work, you can follow her blog, which focuses on infusing more mindfulness and positivity in your day-to-day life. For your daily dose of inspiration, find her Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Image courtesy of Margie Savage.