For some, the holidays represent the most wonderful time of the year. For others, its happens to be the most stressful and that happens to be for my sister.
After a long day of holiday shopping, I was riding passenger to my sister driving us home when we both saw her TPMS light turn on for the third time after just taking it the shop two days in a row to have it fixed. Immediately, I saw her eyes fill with tears as she began to break down.
When I asked “What’s wrong?” she told me, “How can I be happy when shit never goes right for me, even when I try to do the right thing? I am always alone and dependent on myself and it’s hard.” Having to hear that from my own older sister broke my heart.
The past four years, especially the holidays have been everything but wonderful for my sister. From having her engine break down on the way to a New Years Ever party, where the car had to be towed that evening and replaced, to being assaulted outside of a bar where she now permanently lives with a metal implant to correct the positioning of her arm, something as small as a TPMS turning on was enough to push her over the edge. That’s something we can all relate to – that overwhelming feeling of being constantly defeated and finally having enough.
We’ve all experienced some kind of rough patch in life, and unfortunately, some worst than others. For the past month, I took a hiatus from blogging because I was struggling with my own personal demons. After some time to reflect, refocus and reconnect with myself, I have managed to pull myself out of the dark hole I crawled into. And after hearing my sister break down, I was afraid she did not believe she could pull herself out from the sadness that was consuming her.
For all those facing the holidays with sadness in your heart, I dedicate this post to you (including you, dear sister) because I share your pain and I know there is always hope. Even when you feel down on your luck, here are four to be hopeful when times are tough.
1. You are not alone.
Maybe you support yourself. Or maybe you feel as if the world is against you. I want you to know you are not alone. Despite what you may think, there are others out there that are struggling with battles similar to yours. Surround yourself with the those who love, care and support you. Studies have shown that having and embracing social support is one of the biggest predictors of resilience after a trauma.
When you seek the support of others, such as talking to a friend about your struggles or reaching out for help, this can help you develop a level of comfort and safety to be hopeful for what’s to come. No one ever got where they were without help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it most.
2. Focus on what’s good.
When we go through difficult times, it becomes far too easy to overlook our everyday successes. Are you living paycheck to paycheck but managed to pay off the bills or feed yourself? That’s an accomplishment! Maybe you live in a less than glamorous apartment yet you’re managing to put yourself through school so one day you won’t have to. KUDOS!
If you’re reading this now, then realize you are doing so much better than you think you are. You obviously know what you want, and don’t want, and when you’re doing all that you can to make shit happen even as you encounter bumps in the road, that means you’re choosing to conquer. Life is hard enough as is; don’t be so hard on yourself.
3. Hang on to hope.
When you’re feeling lost and ready to give in, chances are you might have strayed away from what you believe in, what there is to be hopeful for and why. How can you be hopeful when you feel down on your luck? Studies have shown being hopeful is more than a feel-good emotion; it’s actually a cognitive motivation mindset that helps set you up for success. Being hopeful is more than simply being optimistic; it means you believe in yourself enough to know you have the power and knowledge to achieve your goals. While life is unpredictable and there will always be things out of our control, the one thing you have control of is your happiness.
4. Remember your “why.”
And when things get tough, whether you are busting your ass over three-part time jobs or things are not going your way, remember the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. You are not stuck. Every day you continue to focus and work toward your “why” means a day closer to where you want to be.
Have you gone through, or are going through, a rough patch? How do you find hope during these tough times? More than happy to provide some social support <3