A hurdle, setback, or roadblock, whichever you prefer to call it, we've all experienced them. Those challenges in life that leave you wondering how to right the ship and keep moving forward.
It can feel like your life is falling apart or things have been turned upside down. It can test your self-confidence, raise doubt in your capabilities, and even have you questioning your worth. Fear quickly sets in and you feel like you're losing yourself in the process.
It doesn't have to be this way.
We have no control over what happens to us, but we have ultimate control over how we respond. Here are four tips to keep you focused and fierce in the midst of the storm.
1. Do not tie your self-worth to your circumstances.
Whether it's the end of a relationship or losing a job, we often allow that situation to determine our value and worth.
This can manifest as self-blame, chastisement, and the stories of "not being good enough." Here's the thing: There is a difference between taking responsibility for your role in a difficult situation (emotionally healthy) versus beating yourself up (not emotionally healthy).
The challenges you face do not reflect your value. They are merely a part of life.
No one can determine the currency of your value or worth. You have been and will always be worthy.
To begin adopting a healthier perspective, start by asking the right questions—questions that will create space in your mind to find positive solutions and help you move through rough patches with a little more ease.
Here are some great questions to get you started:
- What are the facts?
- What assumptions am I making?
- How else can I think about this?
- What actions steps make the most sense?
- What's possible?
2. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend in the same situation.
Ask yourself, would I demean, criticize, ignore, judge, or think negatively of a friend who was going through a challenging situation?
Absolutely not. You would listen, be supportive, kind, loving and offer helpful advice to that person.
When we criticize or judge ourselves, we are doing two things: First, we are affirming our negative opinions of ourselves, and secondly, we're adding to our pain and suffering. This is the perfect time to offer yourself the same kindness and compassion you would offer a loved one. Acknowledge that you're doing the best you can and allow that to be good enough.
Write down what you would say to a friend who was going through a tough time and offer those words to yourself.
3. Seek evidence of your strengths.
It's never more important to remember your strengths than when you're dealing with something tough. Remind yourself you've been faced with challenges in the past and you made it to the other side. Imagine what you are capable of.
You can do this by recalling a past challenge you have overcome or an accomplishment you achieved. Identify strengths you used to get through a challenge in the past or to achieve things you're proud of. Ask yourself, how can I apply these strengths to support myself now? What does this say about me? Also, identify resources (i.e., friends, family, a coach, a support group) that can offer you help.
4. Make (and keep) healthy boundaries.
This is a time to make sure you don't add extra stress to your life. During tough times, self-care is more important than ever. In my opinion, caring for your best self is a superpower that gives you extra reserves of emotional, physical, and mental strength.
So, shield yourself from negative people, drama, and don't even watch TV that gives you anxiety. Instead, use your stress-management practices, such as prayer, nature walks, yoga, listening to calm music, and journaling to restore and refresh.
It's easy to underestimate yourself when you're facing a challenge. But I promise you, you are stronger than you think.
Michelle Peña is the founder of LivTru Coaching, where she helps her clients unlearn the stories that hold them back from fully embracing themselves and their lives. She comes with a toolkit, experience, and a bounty of compassion, making her a true compassionate champion and coach for those who are ready to create change.