“I think everybody has ups and downs in their lives. We learn from the biggest disappointments, right? You learn how to be humble to yourself and to be humble to others.” ~ Carolina Kostner
You know, lately I have been feeling very strange. Strange in the sense that one moment I’m up, flying high as a kite, feeling ecstatic, grateful and full of love. While the next moment I am down, feeling all fearful and anxious, as if something horrible had happened, or is about to happen.
And I have to confess that I’ve learned a lot from these ups and downs and that’s why I decided to write this blog post. What follows are 10 clever ways to deal with the ups and down of life.
1. Stop looking for the source of your unhappiness.
Life has it’s ups and downs. It’s perfectly normal. Trying to find the source of your unhappiness will only bring you even more unhappiness. So stop it! Stop asking yourself: “Why do I feel so bad? What is causing me to experience al these ups and downs? Why am I so unhappy. And instead, ask yourself: “What makes me happy? What are the things that cause me to experience joy and gratitude?” And let your mind look for those things, the things that make you feel good, and no longer the things that cause you to feel burned out, anxious, fearful and unhappy.
“No one should ever ask themselves that: why am I unhappy? The question carries within it the virus that will destroy everything. If we ask that question, it means we want to find out what makes us happy. If what makes us happy is different from what we have now, then we must either change once and for all or stay as we are, feeling even more unhappy.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Zahir
2. Cut yourself some slack.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling down from time to time. There’s nothing wrong with feeling cranky, angry and irritated. You can’t always be happy. I used to think you can but I no longer think so. So just cut yourself some slack. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling without judging and condemning yourself for not being ‘perfect’. For not being the ‘positive’ person you thought yourself to be. Understand that positive people get angry too. Positive people have bad days as well. So just be gentle with yourself. Don’t burden yourself in vain. Allow whatever you are feeling to just be, without labeling it as good or bad.
“As a human being, anger is a part of our mind. Irritation also part of our mind. But you can do – anger come, go. Never keep in your sort of – your inner world, then create a lot of suspicion, a lot of distrust, a lot of negative things, more worry.” ~ Dalai Lama
3. Don’t believe everything you think.
I am a person of extremes. When I’m feeling high, I can’t imagine my life being any different. When I’m feeling down, I can’t imagine my life being any different. And this kind of thinking is beneficial when I’m feeling high, but when I’m low, it’s not really helping me. And I’m learning more and more about faith and about trusting the wisdom of life. I’m learning more and more about recognizing that fearful thoughts are damaging thoughts, illusionary thoughts. And that only those thoughts that come from love are real.
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but thought about it. Be aware of the thoughts you are thinking. Separate them from the situation, which is always neutral. It is as it is.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Don’t believe everything you think. Especially if your thoughts come from a fearful place. Instead, look for reasons to smile, to be grateful and to appreciate all that life has offered you. Look for things that will help you think kind and loving thoughts. For that will help strengthen your trust and faith.Trust that things will eventually change and that the Sun will shine on your street again. Be led by your hopes, dreams and aspiration. Not pushed around by your fears, problems and difficulties.
“Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” ~ Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
4. Blame it on no one.
Blaming external forces for what you feel is not a good idea, for that only puts you in a weak spot. Making you feel powerless, a victim of your circumstances. Blame it on no one. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for whatever it is that you are experiencing.
“Because of your belief in external things you think power into them by transferring the power that you are to the external thing. Realize you yourself are the power you have mistakenly given to outer conditions.” ~ Neville Goddard, Your Faith is Your Fortune
5. You are never upset for the reason you think.
Life has an interesting way of being. Of showing us the things that are hidden deep within ourselves. An interesting way of ‘presenting’ us the things that require our attention, healing and forgiveness. There’s a great line in A Course in Miracles that goes like this: “I am never upset for the reason I think.” And it’s true. There’s always more to that which bothers us. We are never angry, upset, because of the reason we think.
If things in your life aren’t going the way you have hoped for, do not despair. Do not get mad. Instead, look to see where you aren’t behaving in kind and loving ways. Look to see if there are past wounds that still require healing, people or experiences that you haven’t yet forgiven and things you are clinging on to but need to let go of.
“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.” ~ Krishnamurti
6. Pain demands to be felt.
If there’s pain and discomfort in your heart, in your body and in your life, give it your full attention. Don’t try to run away. Don’t fight and resist your uncomfortable feelings. Love your pain away. Embrace and accept whatever you are feeling. Welcome the bad just as you welcome the good, with love and appreciation. Because pain, just like joy, happiness and many of the other positive emotions we so desperately seek, wants to be acknowledged. It demands to be
“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt.” ~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
7. With discomfort comes growth.
With every problem and with every challenging situation life sends your way, comes a great lesson. Something you need to learn and master. Something that will help you grow, expand and evolve into the wonderful being you were born to be. So start looking at your bad days, at your problems and difficulties as opportunities for growth.
“View all problems as challenges. Look upon negativities that arise as opportunities to learn and to grow. Don’t run from them, condemn yourself, or bury your burden in saintly silence. You have a problem? Great. More grist for the mill. Rejoice, dive in, and investigate.” ~ Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
8. Forgive the past. Release yourself.
Forgive the past. Let it all go. Release yourself from the chains you have been wearing around your ankles. Releases yourself from the self made prison you have placed yourself in all this time by not wanting to forgive. Let it all go. Let go of anger, bitterness and resentment. Forgive yourself. Forgive your life and forgive those who might have treated you unkindly. Forgive and you will be free. Cleanse your mind and heal your heart.
Understand that forgiveness is a gift, a precious gift that you give to yourself to be free, to be at peace and to be happy. You don’t forgive because you are weak, but because you are wise enough to understand that holding on to anger and resentment will only deprive you of the many wonderful gifts that life has to offer you.
9. Embrace your dark side.
Jess C. Scott once said that “The brightest light casts the darkest shadow.” And I’m starting to think this is true. As you start working on purifying, cleansing and healing your life more and more each day, wanting to live a meaningful, happy, healthy and balanced life, more of your shadows start to surface. As if they’re asking you to bring light where there was once darkness, ‘forcing’ you to face, love and embrace all that yo are. With both the good and the bad. With both your darkness and your light.
“We all need to look into the dark side of our nature – that’s where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we’re busy denying.” ~ Sue Grafton
10. This too shall pass.
No matter what you are currently experiencing in your life and no matter how bad and painful it may look and feel, it is very important to remember yourself that no storm lasts forever. It will eventually come to pass. And until that happens, to make things easier for yourself, look for things to do, things that will take your focus away from what you are currently feeling and experiencing. Do something that makes you feel good, something that makes you feel happy and excited. Go out for a walk. Watch a funny movie. Eat some ice cream. Go for a massage. Do things that don’t require too much thinking and too much intellectual work. Put your mind to rest and just go have some fun. De-stress yourself and de-stress your life. And always remember:
“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Source: “10 Clever Ways to Deal with the Ups and Downs of Life,” from purposefairy.com, by Luminita D. Saviuc