Helpless is not hopeless.
Perhaps you've had a knock back.
You’re pootling along in life, nothing out of the ordinary particularly happening, nothing particularly remarkable, just the usual usual.
You’re getting on with your life, in your way, day by day.
Regular laughter, minor frustrations, irksome ponderings, magnificent musings, just the regular, usual, comfortably normal every day, when suddenly …
Something knocks you off your stride.
Something big. Something out of the ordinary.
A death, a diagnosis, a job loss, a break-up, a pandemic!
Suddenly that one thing changes everything and you are catapulted into a world that seems strange and unsafe.
the non-negotiable side of life.
This lovely life, so full of hope, potential, and plain comfortable “same old, same old” is transformed in an instant.
You are plunged into uncertainty.
It’s painful but the facts are the facts, what has happened has happened and life will never be exactly the same again.
The straw that broke the camel's back.
Or perhaps it wasn’t one major event that plunged you into the unsafe unknown.
Maybe you have been plugging away at something for the longest time, aiming for that elusive goal and your ordinary every day has been like a relentless cycle of trying but never quite getting what you want.
And suddenly, in a moment …
You get yet another rejection, or missed promotion, or negative thought and your bubble bursts.
And with it your resolve to dust yourself of and keep going evaporates.
Suddenly, all that you have striven for seems pointless.
You question yourself and sow seeds of doubt about your abilities, aims, and dreams.
All of a sudden it feels like all resolve, ambition, confidence, and surety is swirling away, like water down a plughole.
Nothing seems clear any more. It’s like navigating in darkness.
So seek out the light.
We live in a world of opposites and although you feel as though you have been plunged into darkness, at some level you know darkness does not, can not, exist without light.
Find your hope, find a thread of optimism, even the merest chink of light can guide you.
stop, look, listen.
Do you remember the “Green Cross Code” road safety advertising campaign in the 70’s for children? Or am I just showing my age?
I don’t know why, but it just popped into my mind and it strikes me that the “Stop, Look, Listen” tagline can be helpful to adapt and adopt for facing the most challenging times in life.
Right at the point of “Wham” or “Pop”, when the world seems to shift beneath your feet, use the “Stop, Look, Listen” as a refocus and means to help you find your equilibrium, and then your way.
When the world has become alien and you are feeling unsure, it is perfectly acceptable to stop everything you are doing.
Retreat into a safe space and look after yourself.
Give yourself time. Let the world be busy around you but for a moment, an hour, a day, a week or even longer give yourself the grace to embrace stillness and being apart from the wider world.
In stillness you can find calm. You may still have pain, fear, sadness or any number of uncomfortable feelings but in the calm you can begin to gently absorb what has happened to you and in the quiet consider what it means.
Look not with your eyes but with your mind and heart, and look inwards.
Feel your feelings, acknowledge and honour them, they are there for a reason.
Look at how recent events or new information has affected you and be filled with self-compassion and kindness.
Listen not with your ears but your entire being.
Listen for the messages and the understandings that lie within that may help make sense of what has happened.
Listen for acceptance even if what has happened doesn’t make sense.
Listen for that inner resource that will make itself known in the stillness and will help you in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Then begin to move forward again.
Whether on the same path with renewed faith or on a brand new path, begin to move forward.
Move forward in millimeters or in great enthusiastic bounds, but move forward.
You see, dear heart, you have a choice.
Even if it doesn’t seem like much of a choice, there is always a choice.
And there will still be joy and laughter, and pain, and sadness.
But you will not be broken.
Even the most compromised life is still life.
And in all life there is potential.
Work with what you have, that potential is great.
Pick yourself up, and take your joy in pocketfuls.
Joy is always there for the taking even if it is in short supply, it is there if you choose to see it and embrace it.
You remain the hero in your story, the lead character, and the most important person. Treat yourself like nothing less.
Although the effort may be exhausting, pick yourself up and continue in whatever way you can.
And be the author of the storyline you want to follow.
With a smile and warm regards,