hard timesEach and every day is an unknown. Sometimes I am in awe that we wake up and jump (or in my case crawl) out of bed so casually, when absolutely anything could happen. We have no guarantee that all will be well, that anything we expect to happen will happen, or that everything we hope to avoid won’t happen. We risk a lot, putting on our clothes and shoes, getting into our cars, driving out to be in the world for one more day.

Some days start out iffy, but then turn out so wonderfully by day’s end. Other days – well, let’s just say they seem to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and we go along for the ride whether we particularly want to or not. In my 42 years to date, I have had some of each and many with a bit of both, and I have learned only one thing:

I will get through it.

The good days pass, and so do the bad days. I can look back at days where I was on top of the world emotionally, and just feeling really grateful to be alive on that particular day to have that particular experience. Then I can look back at other days where it was literally a matter of gritting my teeth, breathing through my fear, exhaling out my anger, and opening again and again to the waves of grief pouring up and through me.

On these days too, I survived.

However, I spent many years looking for a “better” way to survive the hard times than what I just described. Some hard days were spent in fruitlessly pushing down or ignoring the challenging or painful feelings, telling myself that they weren’t nearly as challenging or painful as they felt. Other days I spent making emergency runs to the therapist hoping for a quick tune-up that would put me back together again like new by day’s end. Still other days I spent zoned out, in a daze from ingestion of anything and everything with the word “calming” written on it.

These days, I spend my hard times awake and aware. I have discovered that this approach is neither easier nor harder than the other methods, but it is both more honest and more courageous and I want more of each quality in my life. I also get the most opportunity to learn when I cease from pretending that the hard time I don’t want to be having isn’t happening. It IS happening. It is a part of my life, just like the good times, and if I didn’t somehow need to be having it I wouldn’t be.

By that I mean, sometimes I have a hard time because I haven’t yet learned a lesson I need to learn. In fact, most of the time that is why I have it. Until I learn that lesson, that particular hard time will likely continue making house calls in my general vicinity. For less future hard times, I have found it is best to strive to learn as well and fully as I can from the ones that are already here.

Today’s Takeaway: What is your approach to hard times in your life? Are you satisfied with the approach you take to handling them? Does your approach help you to get through them and learn fully – if so, I’d love to hear what you do that works for you!

Struggling woman photo available from Shutterstock