Things can get tough from time to time.
There were times you didn’t know what to do, how to respond, or what to say. You might have even wondered if you had what it takes to get you through it.
Sometimes you might have not recognized yourself and thought you were acting “out of character”. More likely than “out of character”, perhaps you acted “out of your role”.
Like you, I don’t like facing discomfort. But I refuse to let discomfort become my permanent address. I look at it as a temporary challenge to grow in my character and choose attitudes and actions to change for the best.
I wish life events would be smooth and effortless. However, I also understand the feeling of discomfort is a path to higher understanding, refined development of the soul, and refinement of your highest life values.
What do I do when things get tough?
It depends on what I do when things are easy.
It is harder to resolve issues if you have led an unhealthy lifestyle up to that point. More often than not a new issue just amplifies your existing behaviors and habits.
As a sports analogy, athletes train a thousand times longer than they spend in competition.
The preparation for a game defines how well the athlete will perform. It is not only physical preparedness but also extensive mental conditioning.
The same is true for everyday life. When things are easy, you may not be ready for a big challenge. Comfort and complacency can be a trap to become undisciplined physically and emotionally.
Some people say “a person’s character comes out during difficult times.” Only in a difficult situation can you find out if somebody is trustworthy or not.
So what will you do when things get tough? You will be just yourself.
You will behave exactly as you do every day.
Now is the time to ask yourself: Will that get me through the crisis?
Your attitudes and behaviors get amplified at the time of a crisis. The mindset you create over the years will dominate your thinking process.
It is a matter of authenticity. Being authentic means your actions will show your true self. You express who you are in a genuine manner – what you think and how you feel.
To do that, you have to know who you really are, not what others think about you or how you want to be in the future.
It can be a challenging prospect and perhaps you have never thought about that.
Is it realistic to believe that somebody will suddenly start behaving with integrity if they have been dishonest as a lifestyle? Or that they start working hard if they have been complacent and lazy as a lifestyle?
It takes time to know others, and it starts with knowing yourself.
Life training never ends. There are times for enjoyment, and times when things get tough.
And you will have a chance to understand others only if you know yourself first.
You have to pay attention to your attitudes through good times. Are you grateful? Do you appreciate what others do for you? Do you appreciate others for just who they are?
Self-examination is not a tough thing to do when you do it periodically. Just as your muscles require exercise, your mind needs constant conditioning. It doesn’t mean you have to be paranoid or hyper-vigilant. It means you have to be gently and continuously paying attention to the world around you.
My suggestions to prepare yourself for tough times:
What to stop doing, starting today:
- Making excuses. Ever and in any situation.
- Blaming others.
- Blaming your childhood, your parents, your ex, or the life situation you have ever faced. It makes you a permanent victim and weakens you in every way.
- Unhealthy behaviors such as habitually clouding your mind with alcohol and engaging in other destructive addictions. It provides a temporary escape and it slowly conditions you to be powerless.
- Taking advantage of others, using people, lying, and being narcissistic. It includes self-deception.
Do this and it will work wonders in your life. You will be in top shape when things get tough.
- Be kind to everybody and everything around you. Help every time you can.
- Be grateful for what you have and ever had
- Be grateful you have lost something you didn’t need
- Be grateful for everybody you ever met, even if they hurt you. I’m not saying it lightly, it took me a long time to realize
- Be especially grateful for everybody who has ever shown you kindness.
- Take care of your body; this is the only body you will ever have. Embrace healthy nutrition and mindful exercise movements.
- Find a cause you are passionate about.
- Meditate regularly. It will relax and clear your mind from the excessive habitual chatter.
- Take care of your mind. It will help you to take care of everything else.
When you embrace it as a life choice, you have a chance to discover who you are.
You will never have to choose how to behave, and it will not be difficult for you. It starts with a decision.
And it will be enough.
Dr. Maya Sarkisyan
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