Some of life’s best lessons are learned through the worst times. ~ Ani DiFranco
Living doesn’t always comes easy.
Life can seem like a series of losses. Loss of loved ones. Lost possibilities. Lost relationships. Lost opportunities. Lost jobs. Lost feelings that never return in the same way.
I lost my brother this week and it hurt. I’ve lost my parents and my husband and now my brother. Times like this can be a test of our souls, of our inner power and because of this they can also be the biggest opportunity for our growth into a greater self.
Loss is part of being alive and when things come crashing down around you, and you find yourself going through your worst times, you’ll need strong habits to fall back on.
I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with habits that would help me to not totally fall apart when the worst times rolled around.
Here’s some of the things I’ve learned and I encourage you to remember that in your greatest struggles you will discover a strength you didn’t know you had.
1. Look within
You might lose your good health, you might lose your job, lose a loved one, go through difficulties with others, be involved in divorce but if you stay connected to your inner self, however bowed you are, you won’t be broken.
The outer circumstances of your life matter, but they can’t take away your inner peace and strength without your consent. Once you become aware that happiness doesn’t lie in your circumstances, but in your heart and soul, you have discovered who you are at the deepest level. And this inner source of peace and happiness will be there for you no matter what.
You can connect to it through choice, even when surrounded by sadness.
2. Open your arms
We all want to protect ourselves from things that hurt or wound, but we can’t.
Life isn’t perfect and wanting it to be so only leads to unhappiness. Joy, pain and all the feelings in between are part of the reality of living.
You can try to avoid experiencing anger, loneliness, or grief, or having to deal with difficult experiences or being treated badly. But in the end, life always has it’s way.
Better to be compassionate with yourself when life deals a blow, and open your arms to all that life has on offer.
It isn’t always easy, I know…but don’t let your challenges rob you of the chance to find the key that unlocks the door to a greater and more fulfilling life.
3. Stop taking things for granted
Don’t let all the beautiful things in your life become invisible because you see them so often.
I sometimes fall prey to this.
But when I find that myself complaining more than I’m grateful, I turn my sights back towards all the magic that life has to offer and remind myself that whilst I’m focusing on stones, I might miss all the diamonds that are right under my nose.
Life itself is an awesome gift. The question is are we ‘taking it for granted or taking it with gratitude’. Reflect upon your blessings and you’ll discover you still have plenty.
4. Make the journey easier
It’s not easy when we’re alone in our grief, when we’re so frustrated we could scream or when we’re just plain old scared. That doesn’t mean we give up. You can get through these experiences. As Rumi says: “Your pain can become your greatest ally in life’s search for love and wisdom.”
Make peace with yourself and your past, and allow compassion and loving kindness to heal and bless you in ways you might not yet be able to imagine.
What if instead of wishing life was a certain way you decided to let that go and simply wish to feel happy; wish for guidance to open your heart to all of life and wish you could embrace every aspect of it with love.
Then the journey, difficult as it is, will become a little easier.
I’d love to hear from you. If you’ve been going through some worst times lately, what’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned so far that you’d like to share with us? Please let us know in the comments below.
Your insight may be exactly what someone else needs.
P.S. If you’ve got clients, colleagues or friends working their way through their worst times, send them this post. It might be the very thing they need to help them move forward.
Encourage one another.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Elle. I’m fortunate as I haven’t experienced any bad times of late aside from ongoing health issues. This is an excellent reminder for when they do come because loss is inevitable. All 4 points are so valuable. I especially resonate with the 1st one, to stay connected with our inner self. That’s my life journey!
Hi Sandra, I’m sorry for the health issues, that’s no fun. Staying connected to our inner self seems to be the way to healing on all kinds of levels doesn’t it? May your connection bring healing and wellness to you. xo 🙂
Thank you for these wise words from your experience. I want to extend love and light to you for your loss. I do appreciate that you say, “Loss is part of being alive.” We live as though it’s not and are surprised every time it shows up. For me, knowing that it’s all part of life, there is no happy without sad, helps me keep it in balance and perspective.
Thank you so much Debbie, words of comfort make a big difference. You’re right that many of us still get surprised when loss occurs…and worse we don’t always have that inner connection that helps lead us out of the darkness of despair. That paradox of life, no up without down, no happy without sad is part and parcel of the amazing and precious life we lead and I for one am in love with life, however it comes. 🙂
Dear Elle, I’m so sorry for your sad loss. Thanks for sharing some of your experience and wise words to support others going through a similarly tough time. I love the Ani DiFranco quote too – she’s a favourite of mine. Take care xx
Thank you Ellen. I know you’ve experienced a loss lately and I’m truly saddened for you. We’re on similar paths in our life’s journey…and I know it will lead to more wisdom and greater love for us both.
Ani DiFranco is just great…I’m glad you liked her quote. 🙂
I have folded on and attached to my fridge a reminder of all the tools I have at myself all the things I çan do if I am going through a rough time. I know it by heart now but I keep òn my fridge just in case. ..
You drd have some great ideas!
What a great idea Tillie…I have notes to myself tucked into the front of my kitchen cabinets, especially near where I make my tea since I’m over in that area a lot! Like you I know them by heart, but it’s a tool to keep my attention where I know it does the most good. Love your idea and hope others in our wonderful community follow suit. 🙂
Elle, this whole post could have been written by me – well, maybe not as well but the words are words that I’ve repeated.
I’ve lost a son, a father and recently, my husband. People keep going on and on about how strong I am (as I am positive you are, too!) and all I do is say that death is part of life. Not living it to its fullest will not bring the loved ones back and will not honour them.
Life is a fabulous gift and yes, there will be hardships but there will be fabulous-ships (like my new word?) as well. We have a choice to embrace all that comes our way and that Ani DiFranco quote are words to live by.
Thank you for writing such a wonderful post!
I am so sorry for your losses Dale. You have had such a difficult path to walk and yet here you are, determined to honour your loved ones by continuing to live life to the fullest. And yes that takes courage. I read somewhere that grief is like the ocean that it ebbs and flows and the best we can do is learn to swim. Bravo to you, you sound like a strong swimmer and I stand in awe and wish you every blessing for your future. 🙂
Dear Elle…be at peace. If we choose to live in love and harmony, any loss brings sadness and mourning. In all my struggles – which Now, I have learned to embrace and grow from are moments that strengthens us to see clearly and move in the right direction or directions we need to go. May your brother rest in peace.
Thank you so much Margaret. How wise you are to allow your struggles to support you in moving onward and upwards. I appreciate you taking the time to share your insights and your words of comfort. 🙂
Elle, what a fantastic article you penned in your time of loss !
It’s not easy, not even with months of seeming preparation for the inevitable . . . that we will all experience as participants . . . either as grievers or transcendors.
Which puts the focus on your brilliant line regarding life – are we ” taking it for granted or taking it with gratitude?” ! WOW !
Thank you Elle, for sharing this article !
I know you are surrounded with Love and Light as you work through this time.
Thanks Joseph…I appreciate your kind words. I especially love the idea of grievers or transcendors. What a brilliant phrase. 🙂
I’m so sorry for your loss Elle.
It’s truly amazing that you were able to quickly share what you’ve learned despite what you’re going through. Thank you for sharing. And my deepest condolences.
Thank you Lea…I appreciate your loving thoughts. 🙂
Thanks for another awesome post. It always amazes me about you Elle how selfless you are. Even though you are going through your rough patch like so many of us are you take the time to not only share your pain but to encourage others.
Also, hearing of what you are going through makes me realize that my troubles are nothing at all. I must therefore focus on what truly matters and how lucky I am.
Thanks for being such a source of strength for others and I do hope I can be yours as well.
Peace be with you during this time and remember the memories that you have made together. No matter what happens you will always have those awesome memories as reminder of how wonderful he was.
Thank you Rose…your kindness and encouragement mean the world to me. I’m so grateful that we can all share in this wonderful community our heartaches our joys and our daily ‘in-betweens’. It’s wonderful to be a part of such a loving, caring and encouraging community. In which you play a large part. I thank you. 🙂
You write very beautifully. It is like a work of art in itself. What you have written hits home for me in different ways. I use prayer to help me but tools and other people’s experiences , I believe can help too. I’m very sorry for any pain you feel. Hugs to you Elle. Please write to me whenever you wish.
Hello Little Swiftwind and thank you for your loving words. I’m glad you have prayers and tools that help you and I so appreciate your offer to write to you. I’m grateful for your loving support. 🙂
You are welcome, anytime. Thank you for your gracious response to my offer. It warms my heart. Take care dear Elle. Warm wishes to you.
Beautifully written post. I can feel the emotions and truthfulness inside. It is not easy to open our arms and embrace life’s challenges but it is something that we should do to live a life of peace and happiness. Thanks so much for always sharing a great post.
Hello Sherill…glad you enjoyed the post. You are right about embracing’s life challenges and sometimes the hardest one is simply to stop what we’re doing, take a breath and wait! 🙂
So profound and beautiful…whilst I’m focusing on my stones. I might missing my diamonds under my nose. This is a wake up call. Thanks.
Who hasn’t done this Lynne. The good news is that the diamonds are there, we just have to switch our point of view a little. That’s one of the cool things about life. 🙂
Thank you for the reminder. I needed to see this as life is dealing me difficult times, and many losses…
Hi Amy…so sorry to hear that life is difficult right now. I do hope something in this article will be supportive and helpful to you and that you begin to see brighter days ahead. 🙂
So sorry to hear of your loss. I try to remind myself in hardship that this life is a blip in my soul’s life and that all lessons are for soul growth. We’re all here to learn to love fully and deeply and even though the experience is temporary, the love lasts forever. Peace, Sue
Hi Sue and thank you for your kind words. I think you are very wise indeed and I agree entirely that deep within is the self that knows all is always well with them. And so I continue to practice joy within so that I may experience more joy in my outer world. 🙂
I was in a motorcycle accident 3 months ago. I escaped with a fractured left pelvis, and broke all the toes in my right foot. Non weight bearing both legs, all this time, was in two hospitals for bowel blockages, in two rehab. facilities recovering, and have been also had deep vein thrombosis in both legs as a result of this accident. But it could of been worse. I’m alive.
I am so sorry Jeff. How terrible that accident must have been…and I so admire your amazing attitude and spirit. You my dear are an inspiration to us all. May your recovery continue to be fast and easy for you. 🙂
Awesome post Elle.
Will certainly be sharing it.
Hi Glo…thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and thanks for sharing…I truly appreciate it along with your kind words. 🙂