“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” ~Desmond Tutu
Have you ever found yourself feeling hopeless, helpless and entirely alone? Chances are that if you are or have previously been involved in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you have.
And, my guess is, if you’re here, reading this article today, you know exactly that feeling I mean. It’s when your stomach stays in constant knots, you always feel a lump in your throat and your tears are always just below the surface, ready to burst forth at any inappropriate time.
It’s when your heart has been broken, or when you’ve finally felt the final “snap” of a broken bridge from a life you’ve left behind. Sometimes it’s when your children grow up and leave you, and other times it’s when your parents pass away, or when you lose the job you’ve loved for so long.
Whatever the reason for your pain, it’s there and it almost feels like the physical side of it can be as intense as the emotional side. You can’t eat, or you over eat. You can’t do anything – you are lucky if you even shower, much less function on a “normal” level.
You dissociate and you cease to exist, at least on certain levels. It feels awful, and it’s unhealthy. It’s time to change your mind, because if you don’t, you’re sure to continue on your current unhealthy and potentially devastating path.
You’ve got to take back your life, friend.
What do you do when your heart feels broken beyond repair?
How do you deal when your whole world seems to be falling apart before your eyes? What does it take to survive the difficult times? How can you get through the most difficult days of your life when all appears lost?
How do you find the will to go on and do the regular, everyday things that you need to do in order to maintain a life?
Whether it’s the end of a relationship or the inevitable foreclosure of a home, some circumstances are simply beyond saving. Some situations have to run their course and other plans need to be made. But hopeless events don’t exclude the possibility of better days ahead. If you’re in a hopeless situation, letting go, learning, and moving on can be a great solution.
Try these strategies when it appears all is lost:
- Let it go. If the outcome is inevitable, does obsessing over it ever help? This might feel like giving up, but how intelligent is it to continue with something that can’t possibly be won? Make the decision to let go and get on with the rest of your life.
- Purge your emotions. Hopefully, you already know several healthy ways to make yourself feel better. Perhaps you feel better after a long exercise session. Others feel relief after a good cry. Maybe having dinner with a friend will boost your spirits. The key is to find a healthy solution. Drinking, drugs, and spending money irresponsibly are a few examples of unhealthy alternatives. Choose wisely.
- Try to learn something. In most cases, hopeless situations are at least partially the result of poor decisions. Think about how you contributed to the situation at hand. Did you ignore warning signs when you first started dating your partner? Did you take out a larger mortgage than you could afford? It’s common to repeat our mistakes. What can you learn to avoid a repeat performance in the future? Imagine how great your life would be if you only made each mistake once.
- Enjoy yourself. Now might be the perfect time to visit your favorite restaurant, take a walk in the park, or see a movie with a friend. Just because life has thrown a curveball doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Have a good laugh and forge ahead.
- Keep up with your responsibilities. Your children still need your love and attention. The bills still have to be paid. Avoid letting the other areas of your life suffer.
- Create a plan for the future. Looking forward to an interesting and exciting future may be the best way to move forward. If the future seems bleak, it’s hard to be happy. Allow yourself to be open to the possibilities and create a compelling future for yourself. Then take one small step towards making that future a reality.
- Make a list of all the things that fill you with gratitude. It’s likely there are many people in the world with far more challenging circumstances. It can be easy to forget this fact. If you think about it, you have lots of things going for you. Make a list and add to it often.
- Remember other situations in your life that seemed hopeless. Odds are you survived and ultimately came out on the other side more resilient and knowledgeable.
Hopeless situations happen. Not every situation is salvageable. Letting go and moving forward can be the best solution. Worrying has never changed the actual outcome of any situation. Allow yourself to enjoy life and create a future that keeps your eyes facing forward.
What’s the True Definition of Inner Strength?
When we go actively searching for ways to beef up our inner strength, it’s because we’re in a state of helplessness – almost like we’re hanging on by a thread and feel like if we don’t get a stronger hold on our emotions and confidence, we could lose everything.
Everyone has her own definition of inner strength. You might see it as simply being able to say no when you want to, while another person might consider it living life in a way where every action and emotion you have is geared toward your happiness.
We’re All Born With Inner Strength
When we’re first born, we are void of excuses – of negative thought patterns about ourselves or life in general. There’s nothing we can’t do. You’ve seen babies and toddlers move about – they do it with no fear. They attempt things without thinking of consequences.
Of course that kind of carelessness can have a negative impact on you as well, so there’s definitely a health balance between not caring and caring so much that outside factors cripple or paralyze you.
We Allow Events and People to Chip Away at Our Inner Strength
It doesn’t just dissipate like steam rising from a boiling pot. Inner strength is envied by others, and ignored by tragedies that we go through. In order for this to occur we have to hand over a certain amount of permission allowing it to happen.
As children, we’re taught that other people have power over us to some degree – teachers, parents – any and all authority figures. We’re taught to play nice and cave in to some activities and elements of life we may not enjoy just to be polite.
It’s hard to grow out of that mindset, but kids usually take a path when they reach the teen years – and it continues on throughout adulthood. As a teen, you either were labeled headstrong (which translates into inner strength), or not labeled at all – because people without inner strength are barely noticeable. They go along with whatever expectations people have of them.
Sometimes even if someone starts out on the right path – of having ample inner strength – they can lose it as they let their defenses down and allow other people to deeply influence them. Or, they go through a series of situations that bring them to their knees and with every encounter, they’re a little less strong.
Inner Strength Can Always Be Replenished
No matter how often you feel like you’ve been knocked down or that you’re unable to face a situation, you will always have a spark of inner strength ignited in your soul. Sometimes it will be a large flame and sometimes you’ll wonder if it’s gone for good.
But it’s in there. You simply have to fan the flames and focus on it to get it back. Like a muscle that’s atrophied, your inner strength has to be flexed for it to work again. It has to be used on a regular basis – tested so that it becomes a force that’s able to protect you from harm and lift you to heights you never knew were possible.
A final bit of advice, from me to you: if you are feeling guilty or nervous about moving forward, ask yourself how much control you really have over the causes of those feelings.
If you are able to control the situation, then make the necessary changes and move forward – guilt and anxiety are doing you no good. If you cannot control the situation, you must let it go and focus on what you CAN control. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your energy and doing yourself and your loved ones a huge disservice.
You feel me?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section. Let’s discuss it.
So, you need or want a woman to do something for you, but you’re not sure how to make it happen.
Lucky for you, I’m one of those people who does not believe in secrets – and as a woman, I totally understand how us girls work.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, there has probably been some time in your life when you needed or wanted a woman to do something for you. Or maybe you just wanted her to do something for her own good.
Whatever the case, you may have failed to get what you wanted for a number of reasons. But I’ve got great news for you: if you make a few small tweaks to your own behavior, you can get almost any woman to do almost anything you want (within reason).
Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self
Women rarely respond well to demands, ultimatums or faith-based manipulation. Those who do may have been trained to do so, but it doesn’t do their souls any good when they bend against their will.
It’s better to help a woman understand what you need or want and why. Then she can understand your goal or intention, and that means she can understand a big, important thing for every woman: how she can help you reach that goal. Which brings me to my next point.
Ask her to help you
Few women can resist someone she likes or loves who needs her help. This is even true with strangers in many cases. We can’t help it – we are wired to take care of people.
Don’t go all feminist on me now. This is not about that. The fact is that as humans, men and women are wired to survive and to carry on the species.
Obviously that means different things for men and women, so the caretaker urge we women have is simply an instinct we can choose to nurture or not. Most of us tend to just go with it because it still works for us today.
Treat her like someone who matters to you
Here’s the bottom line on talking to women and getting anywhere, ever.
Do NOT, I repeat, do not treat her like anything less than your equal. I don’t care if she’s your wife, your sister, mom, boss…ever your daughter…whatever. Treat her as if she is as important as you. At the very least.
Give her a little pedestal to stand on and she might really shine.
If nothing else, just remember this: No woman will respond positively to someone who treats her disrespectfully. At least none who have self-respect (a super-important part of what makes any woman particularly hot, on an unrelated note).
Tell her she’s pretty/smart/amazing
Look, not gonna lie to you. Us women? We love a good compliment, especially when it’s genuine. Don’t try blowing sunshine up our asses now. Understand that we know when you’re lying.
But find stuff to compliment us on and watch how we light up. When you’ve got us all warm and fuzzy? We are always willing to be more generous with our favors.
Tell others how awesome she is
Because honestly, next to being complimented directly, hearing that someone thinks we are awesome enough to be bragged about to others is the best feeling in the world.
That makes us like or love you that much more. The more we feel connected to you by positive feelings and experiences, the more we want to make your life easier too.
Do her a favor once in awhile too.
You know how we (women) never forget when you hurt our feelings? Well we don’t forget favors either. And a lot of us like to pay it forward. The rest, conscious or otherwise, will automatically be a little friendlier and more generous with someone who has offered us the same kindness.
It doesn’t have to be big, either. Open the door for her. Help her carry on the groceries or the stuff for the big presentation she’s giving.
Watch her kids for a few hours and give her some freetime. Cook her dinner one night and save her the trouble. Take out her trash, do her dishes or mop her floor. Clean her closet or walk her dog. You know what she needs done. Do it and make her feel appreciated.
Of course, bigger favors are always appreciated as well. Don’t get me wrong.
Bottom line: never be a jerk
Jerks come in all flavors and they can be men or women. In this case, if you ever want a woman to be available to help you when you need or want it, treat her with respect all of the time.
Don’t talk badly about her to other people and don’t talk to her like she’s anything less than important.
Don’t take out your anger on her, don’t be rude or short with her. And if it happens, be a grown-up and apologize. Women are often happy to forgive when a genuine apology is accompanied by a positive change in behavior.
One more thing: JUST ASK!
Communication is so important to everyone – but women are especially wired for it. So if you need something, all you have to do, so long as you are generally a decent human being who treats her with respect, is just ask.
Don’t try to give her hints or clues or talk around the subject. Just say what you want. That’s probably where you should start, actually.
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“Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” ~Oscar Wilde
When was the last time someone really pissed you off, hurt your feelings or shocked you (in a negative way) with their behavior?
People can be cruel–let’s face it, some of them are downright assholes who bring a serious element of toxicity into your life. They say and do the meanest, most damaging things. I have been personally shocked on more than one occasion at the blatant rudeness of some people.
(This is especially the case when we’re talking about narcissists!)
When it happens to you…
Having been a victim of unkind treatment, you’re probably reeling with anger. You feel like forgiveness is the least suitable response you can give.
Surprisingly, however, forgiveness is the quickest and most lasting way to get over the anger and hurt! But how can you just forgive someone who has hurt you so?
Achieve true forgiveness and gain peace with these approaches:
Confront the issue. It’s very easy to want to block negative situations out of your consciousness, but that approach may be causing more anger than you know!
- Take a hard look at the issue. Say aloud, “This happened to me.” Doing that may cause some of the feelings to resurface. But when you’re done crying, you’ll likely be free from tears going forward.
What happened was a thing of the past. It happened, and you’re still here to tell the tale. Is it really worth affecting your peace of mind? It’s probably time to move on with your life!
Consider your involvement. Perhaps you didn’t consciously trigger a reaction from the other person. But there could very well be something that affected them. They just chose to address it in an unhealthy and unhelpful way!
- It’s really not about playing the blame game. One human being has no right to offend or hurt another. If you were offended, take a look in the mirror before deciding how to deal with it. You’ll likely recall scenarios where you may have wronged someone as well!
Wear the offender’s shoes. Consider how it must feel for the person who now realizes that they hurt you considerably. After the initial emotion passes, they start to feel regret for their actions.
- It’s always a good idea to try and switch roles. See it from their viewpoint. If you’re yearning for someone’s forgiveness, you’ll likely rejoice when you finally get it.
Consider the impact of anger on your life. When you hold on to the anger and resentment, it starts to eat away at you. Whether or not you know it, your happiness ends up being a fraction of what it could be. Anger negatively affects your quality of life!
- Do you find yourself being short-tempered with loved ones and friends? You may feel your reaction is justified. But if you think about it, you might see that you overreacted.
- Take some time to consider why you’re so angry or maybe sad. Grudges almost always bring and sustain negative emotions that can affect you long-term.
Once you try these approaches, you’ll experience the benefits of forgiving those who offended you. You’ll see how useless it is to allow the negative emotions of holding on to your hurts to drag down your quality of life. In fact, you’ll likely want to go back and forgive everyone who has ever hurt you!
Learn to freely forgive others and give your mind the rest it deserves for a peaceful, truly happy life.
So, you’re having one of those “someone peed in your Cheerios” kind of days, huh? Think you’re wasting your time trying to find out how to have a better day?
You KNOW for sure that having a bad attitude isn’t serving you, that it is likely to breed more negativity in your day, but at this point, you don’t see how it’s going to get any better. You’re ready to throw in the towel and try again tomorrow.
But You Can Have a Better Day, Right Now!
I’m here to tell you that you can do some pretty simple things to change your perspective, this moment. You really can have a better day, I promise. Stick with me here.
As you probably know, a simple change in perspective is all it takes to begin to make things go your way. You can literally change your life by just changing your mind.
But when you’re having those rough days, what can you do to quickly change your vibe and improve your outlook?
I know how all too well how difficult it can be to get over whatever it is that’s got you down, but I also have a few tricks up my sleeve that can make it a whole lot easier.
How to Have a Better Day, Right Now
Put Yourself Back On Your Priority List
Listen, I know how it is. Life feels hard sometimes–you get busy, you take care of your family, your home, your job, your life. And you forget to take care of yourself.
You think, “oh, that’s just the way it goes.”
You reason that it’s your responsibility, your burden to bear–you might even think it makes you a better person to put your own wants and needs on the back burner in favor of someone else’s.
But here’s the deal–if you don’t take care of yourself first, you’re not going to be as awesome as you might otherwise be.
Not only that, but you’re going to be a shadow of the person you really want to be, and you won’t be nearly as effective in any capacity as someone who does put herself at the top of her priority list. Seriously. So put yourself at the top of your list, pronto. You won’t regret it.
Tell Someone They Rock Your World
Or that they are beautiful, or cool, or smart or just plain spec-freaking-tacular.
Just give someone in your life a little boost by saying something nice to them. A compliment is a two-way street–you give one, and you not only make someone else feel good, but you get to feel good too. Win-win, I say.
Remember: what you put out into the world is what comes back to you. And who isn’t a sucker for a good compliment?
Act As If It’s Impossible to Fail
And you just might get everything you want. Some people think they have to suffer to meet their goals.
They think that they can’t enjoy the process, and that they will never have true happiness until they reach what they have identified as the ultimate success.
We’ve all done this. We might say, “I’ll wear that beautiful dress when I lose 15 pounds,” or “I’ll finally be able to have fun when I finish writing my book,” or “I won’t be happy until I get that promotion.”
Here’s the secret: it doesn’t have to suck.
You really can be happy and continue to work toward your goals. It’s all about putting it out there–being clear on what you want, and then taking what I like to call inspired action to make it happen. And it’s easier than you think. You can start by just KNOWING that you CAN and WILL succeed in manifesting your desires.
Lose the Gavel
It’s human nature to judge other people, but try NOT doing it, just for today. When you see that woman at the grocery store with a snot-nosed, dirty kid, try to imagine what her situation might be.
You don’t really know why that kid’s nose is running or why he’s dirty. Maybe they are homeless, or maybe they couldn’t afford to pay their water bill.
Or maybe they just came from a very messy playdate and stopped at the grocery store to pick up some antihistamine for the kid’s runny nose. You don’t know, so don’t judge. Instead, smile at her and have a little compassion.
The thing is, when you’ve got compassion for others, they’re more likely to have it for you.
And when you stop judging the people around you in a negative way, you’re also bringing more positivity (and less negativity) into your own life. It works, I promise.
Even if you never tell them. We’ve all been hurt in our lives, whether physically or emotionally, by someone we thought cared about us. Sometimes, the feelings and resentments that go along with painful situations can begin to fester and cause you to lose your lust for life, to say the least.
If you can forgive someone who hurt you (note: I did not say forget–some people are genuinely dangerous and you should steer clear of them if that’s the case), you can begin to heal within yourself.
Your outlook will almost instantly improve–it’ll be like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
And, honestly, you might feel like someone who hurt you doesn’t deserve to be forgiven for what they did–and you’d be right in some cases.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t forgive them within yourself and release the pain. And it doesn’t mean that you have to offer your forgiveness to the person who hurt you–just know within yourself that you’ve done it.
So what about you? How do you change your perspective when you’re having a bad day? Tell me in the comments!
By Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
We’ve all been hurt by another person at some time or another — we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt.
And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.
This causes problems. It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.
We need to learn to let go. We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.
This is something I learned the hard way — after years of holding onto anger at a loved one that stemmed from my childhood and teen-age years, I finally let go of this anger (about 8 years ago or so). I forgave, and not only has it improved my relationship with this loved one tremendously, it has also helped me to be happier.
Forgiveness can change your life.
Forgiveness does not mean you erase the past, or forget what has happened. It doesn’t even mean the other person will change his behavior — you cannot control that. All it means is that you are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.
It’s not easy. But you can learn to do it.
If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, read on for some things I’ve learned.
1. Commit to letting go. You aren’t going to do it in a second or maybe not even in a day. It can take time to get over something. So commit to changing, because you recognize that the pain is hurting you.
2. Think about the pros and cons. What problems does this pain cause you? Does it affect your relationship with this person? With others? Does it affect work or family? Does it stop you from pursuing your dreams, or becoming a better person? Does it cause you unhappiness? Think of all these problems, and realize you need to change. Then think of the benefits of forgiveness — how it will make you happier, free you from the past and the pain, improve things with your relationships and life in general.
3. Realize you have a choice. You cannot control the actions of others, and shouldn’t try. But you can control not only your actions, but your thoughts. You can stop reliving the hurt, and can choose to move on. You have this power. You just need to learn how to exercise it.
4. Empathize. Try this: put yourself in that person’s shoes. Try to understand why the person did what he did. Start from the assumption that the person isn’t a bad person, but just did something wrong. What could he have been thinking, what could have happened to him in the past to make him do what he did? What could he have felt as he did it, and what did he feel afterward? How does he feel now? You aren’t saying what he did is right, but are instead trying to understand and empathize.
5. Understand your responsibility. Try to figure out how you could have been partially responsible for what happened. What could you have done to prevent it, and how can you prevent it from happening next time? This isn’t to say you’re taking all the blame, or taking responsibility away from the other person, but to realize that we are not victims but participants in life.
6. Focus on the present. Now that you’ve reflected on the past, realize that the past is over. It isn’t happening anymore, except in your mind. And that causes problems — unhappiness and stress. Instead, bring your focus back to the present moment. What are you doing now? What joy can you find in what is happening right now? Find the joy in life now, as it happens, and stop reliving the past. Btw, you will inevitably start thinking about the past, but just acknowledge that, and gently bring yourself back to the present moment.
7. Allow peace to enter your life. As you focus on the present, try focusing on your breathing. Imagine each breath going out is the pain and the past, being released from your body and mind. And imagine each breath coming in is peace, entering you and filling you up. Release the pain and the past. Let peace enter your life. And go forward, thinking no longer of the past, but of peace and the present.
8. Feel compassion. Finally, forgive the person and realize that in forgiveness, you are allowing yourself to be happy and move on. Feel empathy for the person and wish happiness on them. Let love for them, and life in general, grow in your heart. It may take time, but if you’re stuck on this point, repeat some of the ones above until you can get here.