“Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. And I’ve been through some tough times, and I know a lot of people can recall tough times, and maybe are going through some tough times right now, but they don’t last.” — Alonzo Mourning
Life can be downright difficult at times. It can box you in and beat you down, holding no bars. While no one ever said that life would be easy, many of us were often ill-prepared for just how hard things could get. When we suffer through repeated failures and setbacks, getting through the tough times in life can seem like a fairytale fantasy.
How are we supposed to weather life’s many storms? What happens when the burden of responsibility is just too great for any one person to bear? How are we supposed to get through the tough times, especially when we have little support from the people around us? Does it get any easier than this, or is this all we can ever really expect?
If you’re going through a difficult time right now in your life, then my heart goes out to you. I sincerely feel for you because I’ve been there all-too often. I know the heartache and pain that comes along with major failure. I know what it feels like to have my life flipped upside down, not knowing where to turn or what to do next.
I won’t insult you by claiming to know what you’re going through, because when you’re wading through the seas of hopelessness, that’s the last thing you want to hear. What I will convey to you is the knowledge from my own personal experiences. I’ll tell you how I made it through the tough times in my life, hopefully shedding some light on the subject and offering up a sliver of hope.
Getting Through The Tough Times In Life
Pushing past difficulties and surmounting adversities, especially in the face of very trying times, is a monumental undertaking. To add to that, when you have the regular stresses of everyday life that include things like your finances, children, spouses or significant others, and the fact that you have to deal with life’s random crises, it can be too much to handle.
However, getting through the tough times in life can be just a little bit easier when you can rely on certain methods. When you can fall back on strategies that have worked throughout the ages, the tough times might not seem so tough. That’s not to say that life’s difficulties will immediately disappear. No, they won’t. You’ll simply realize the importance of the beauty, simplicity and miracle of life.
While this might sound Utopian in nature, it isn’t. Life is beautiful. Life is a gift. It’s been given to us by our Creator, whomever you believe that to be. If you don’t believe in a higher power, then revert to that spiritual oneness that binds us all, the energy that flows through the very fabric of life. I won’t get into an existential discussion or focus too much on religion, but rather on the simple beauty of life.
Look, I’ve had my fair share of tough times in life. I’ve suffered through the pain and torment of failure. I cannot even begin to describe the heartache that I have been through. So I know how it feels. I know that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. But I do know that life is what you make of it. As Forest Gump once said, “Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
The thing that we need to understand is that our existence here on earth is an infinitesimal blip on the annals of history as we know it. Humans, in our current form as descendants of the Hominins, have only really been around for approximately 200,000 years. But the creation of the universe itself spans something closer to 13.8 billion years.
The point? Whatever we’re going through today, someone else has gone through. Over the course of the centuries and millenniums, human beings, and our descendants have had to suffer through tough times. While only a short span of that time is actually available in recorded history, one can only imagine what our ancestors went through, things that will likely never see the light of day.
So regardless of how much difficulty you’re facing, or how much strife you’re in at the moment, tough times don’t last. While I don’t profess to have all the answers, I do know a thing or two about disappointment and failure, and overcoming difficult circumstances in life. My main goal and purpose with this blog are to share some of that knowledge and experience with you.
Below, you’ll find just that. You’ll find seven methods that I’ve relied on and will surely help you get through the tough times, no matter how hard they might seem at the moment. Also, if you have a story you want to share, please don’t hesitate to contact me and let me know what you’re going through, or if this information has benefited you in some way.
1. Look to the things you have rather than the ones you don’t
I know it’s tough to look at what you have rather than what you don’t have. It’s partially a problem that’s inherent in our society, one that’s permeated our minds for ages. The truth? We usually want what we don’t have, further exasperating the problem. However, to get through the tough times, we need to look at our haves rather than our have-nots.
Gratitude is the quickest pathway to happiness and peace-of-mind. Numerous studies have proven that when you’re grateful, you’re far happier. When you’re trying to get through the tough times, you usually don’t rely on your gratitude. Usually, you rely on your resent, defaulting to your anger or upset, which is the quickest pathway to lead you further down the road of disappointment.
Do this. In the morning, every morning, spend 15 minutes writing out everything you have to be grateful for. In the beginning, you’ll find this difficult to do. I know I did. But over time, as the habit builds, it gets easier. Keep in mind that habits take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form, with an average formation period of 66 days. So don’t expect this habit to form quickly.
Every morning, find every little thing you can be grateful for. You can be grateful for the air that you breathe, the blood pumping through your veins, your limbs, your fingers, your mind, the fact that you can read, write and reason, the clothes on your back, the food on your plate, the fact that you’re six feet above ground, and so on.
Seek and you shall find things to be grateful for. Whatever you have, no matter how little it might be, even if they’re problems, be grateful for them. Others would love to have your problems from around the world, and problems are a sign of life. We will always have problems and we will always deal with times that can be extremely tough.
2. Share your story or situation with others, there is solace in numbers
Getting through the tough times in life is a little bit easier when we seek out others with whom we can share our stories. Whether this involves joining a local support group or just sharing the story on social media, there is solace in numbers. While it might seem embarrassing or humbling, this is one of the best ways to get through the tough times.
In fact, you might actually be surprised at just how people respond. They will welcome you with open arms, sharing your story with others, and bringing comfort into your life. You can find strength in numbers also. When you share your story, you might be surprised at what comes out of the woodwork. You might also find inspiration in the stories of others in these situations.
Some people deal with disappointment by talking about it. Others shy away and retreat into a self-induced hibernation. But hiding won’t help you to get through the tough times; other people will. You might even find it within you to share your story on a greater scale by going to speaking engagements. Public speaking, while terrifying at first, is an excellent forum to sharing your situation with others.
This doesn’t mean that you need to get out there and start telling your story in huge open forums. Just focus on sharing it with a few others to start. See how it makes you feel. Then, like an open book, share it with others on social media. You never know what it might lead to.
3. Rely on your faith and lean on your Higher Power
Whatever you believe in — God, Allah, Buddha or the Spiritual Oneness that binds us all — learn to rely on your faith and remember that this too shall pass. Tough times don’t last, tough people, do. But in order to become a tough person, we often need to rely on something far greater than ourselves. This isn’t solely about religion. If you’re not a religious person, rely on your spirituality.
We are all interconnected in this universe. Every atom and cell in our body have come from a single source at the beginning of time. Whatever you believe in, you must believe that there is an invisible ether that runs through the fabric of life. Just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. For me, it’s all about God and my belief in Him.
I would have never made it through my tough times without relying on God and my faith that there was a greater meaning to my life. I remember, after one of the monumental failures in my life, how I decided to go to church every single morning at 6 am for as long as it took to get my mind right. I didn’t stay for long — 15 or 20 minutes. each time But the feeling I got from just being there was irreplaceable.
Whenever we open ourselves up, spiritually or religiously, we’re inviting in an element to our lives that doesn’t exist when we’re closed off or simply living a material existence. It’s one of the most powerful feelings that you can experience in your life when you allow yourself to just live and be present. There are a purpose and a reason why you’re going through the tough times, you just don’t know it yet.
4. If you failed or gave up, find out what went wrong and try again
I’ve failed repeatedly in life. If you’ve followed along with my blog for any amount of time, then you likely already know that. Each failure was painful. But somehow, one way or another, I made it through the tough times. It wasn’t easy, so I won’t even begin to kid you about it. Some of them even had me on the brink, contemplating whether my life was even worth living or continuing on.
Failure and the resultant pain it causes can do that to you. It can break you if you let it. But it can also be a platform for something far greater in life. I’ve failed all across the board. From marriage to business, personal relationships, and everything in between, I’ve experienced the bitter taste of failure. But those failures also set me up for something far greater.
The thing about failure is that it’s one of life’s greatest learning lessons. I know that, sometimes, our tough times didn’t happen because of failure or giving up, they happened because of loss. But even in times of loss, even when it seems as if all hope is gone, you will find the strength from within to conquer even the toughest of times.
However, when your tough times are the result of personal failure or the fact that you gave up on something, you should revisit that situation. Don’t lose all hope. Don’t give up on life or call it quits. Pick yourself back up again and do it one more time, but better. An old Japanese proverb states, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” No truer words have been spoken.
5. Find inspiration through others who’ve overcome similar situations
One of the most popular articles that I’ve written on this blog is about famous people who failed. Why is it so popular? Because we can relate to those people. We know their names and who they are, but often, we aren’t familiar with their journeys. It’s those journeys that resonate with most people because they realize just what they had to go through to succeed.
Nothing in life that’s worthwhile will ever come easy. When you can reach out and find inspiration in others that we might look up to, or others who’ve achieved similar things to what we want out of life, it can make the process feel a little bit less arduous. It can also help you to deal with the tough times and weather life’s storms.
Everyone in life needs inspiration. Everyone in life needs hope. In fact, many of the books that I’ve written deal with these very topics. Books like the Art of Persistence and How Not to Give Up are devoted to people that have dealt with the tough times in life, but will help them see things through. You can also find other sources of inspiration on sites like YouTube or TED Talks.
If you’re devoted to weathering the storm, there are ample opportunities for seeing things in a positive light. Keep in mind that life is very much what we make of it. It’s all in our minds. We have the choice to look at things negatively or positively. While that might not seem true to you right now, I assure you that no truer words have been spoken.
6. Seek opportunities to contribute something to others
One great way to make it through the tough times in life is to contribute something to someone else. You don’t need to donate money, but you do need to donate your time. What can you do to help someone else? This is a great way to shift your focus. When you contribute to others, you’re also sending a very powerful signal to your subconscious mind.
When you give your time or donate something else to others, you’re telling your mind that you have more than enough. Even if you don’t consciously think that, the signal that’s transmuted is precisely this. And when that thought permeates your mind, it helps to give you a sense of gratitude. Not only do you realize that others might be far worse off than yourself, but you feel good about what you’re doing.
One thing that I realized over the years is that life is about contribution. While humans might govern themselves, physically, on the selfish-survival principle, that’s not how many of us live our lives. We give to others, donating our knowledge and our expertise, finding the time to help people that can’t help themselves. Simply put, there’s just no better feeling than this.
So put some serious thought into this. Grab a sheet of paper and ask yourself what you can do for others. What value can you contribute to the world? How can you help people that are in need? Again, this isn’t about money; this is about your time, which is far more valuable in my opinion than any amount of money because time can’t be regained — once it’s lost, it’s lost.
7. Do something that makes you happy
The last, but certainly not least, way to get through the tough times is to do something that makes you happy. What makes you happy? Pull out a sheet of paper and write it down, right now. Don’t wait until later. Brainstorm 10 things that fill you with joy and elation.
Maybe it’s spending time with your kids, maybe it’s driving up the coast, maybe it’s reading a good book, maybe chatting with friends, whatever it is, write it down. Next, go about doing one thing that makes you really happy every single day. Schedule the time for it like you would schedule the time for a meeting. Devote at least 30 minutes to it.
If you love eating cookie dough ice cream while watching your favorite guilty pleasure on television, then write it down. Whatever it is, be sure to jot it down and devote the time to it. While this won’t help solve your immediate problems, it will give you some momentary relief during the toughest of times in life.
Of course, there is no one solution. You should find what works for you, but these methods have helped me get through the tough times in life, and I’m sure some combination of them could help you as well. I would love to hear your comments, so feel free to drop me a note or comment directly on the article.