Sometimes life is like that moment that comes along in the night and steals your spirit. Not literally of course, but in a way that leaves you wondering what it’s all about in the morning. And you wake up with a foggy brain and a moody heart and you just aren’t sure why you keep on going. You may not be thinking of ending it all, but you find yourself growing smaller and smaller inside yourself, inside your world, wondering if anyone would even notice you if you completely disappeared.
If you’ve never experienced a moment like this, beware. They do happen from time to time. It’s an unsettling event and if you’re not careful, it can wash over you like the tidal wave in that one scene on the movie Soul Surfer. As someone who’s been there, I can assure you, it’s frightening. The sound of the ocean is in your ears and not in a comforting way. Your mouth and nose and ears are filled with salt water and your entire being gets tossed about. You feel broken and lifeless in the undertow.
One thing I’ve learned is that it’s possible to overcome the moments like this. It’s possible to see that wave coming and step out of the way before it drags you under. You might still feel the effects of the wave, as if you’re a child being thrown into the deep end of the pool, but with float wings on. It’s still painful, but not quite as scary.
There are some things I’ve discovered from experiencing moments like this that have been helpful; I thought I’d pass them along to you, just in case you need them.
First, don’t struggle. It’s drowning man 101. When the water rushes up on you and you can feel yourself start to panic, don’t flail about. Panicking only makes it worse. Focus on staying calm. The calmer you are, the less power the tidal wave of emotions and pain and hurt can have over you.
Second, practice happiness. I know that may sound absurd at the time, but it can be done. Whether you count your blessings or start a gratitude journal or just practice smiling in front of the mirror, it’ll be worth it. Practicing happiness will remind you of all the good things you have in life. It may not seem like you have anything going for you in that moment, but you do. Look for those things, think on those things; they haven’t vanished just because of this one moment…they just might be harder to see right now.
Third, feed yourself. Not in a way that results in you stuffing yourself with an entire chocolate cake or three full bags of spicy Cheetos (though we all know those are amazing comfort foods), but feed yourself with positive self-talk. Remind yourself of who you are and what you’re capable of. Prior to this moment, you likely had life by the tail. It may seem like the other way around now, but don’t let this one moment derail you.
Finally, in the words of Winston Churchill: “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense." This moment you’re experiencing may change things. It may take you off course or down a path in life you never thought you’d be on, but it doesn't mean it’s over. It doesn't mean you aren't worth it or that your dreams aren't worth it or that life isn't worth living. Because you are, and your dreams are, and it is. It really and truly is.
And when this moment fades away and becomes a small part of your life story, it’ll be different…One day you’ll wake up and life will be like this moment that takes your breath away. You know the kind of moment that fills your heart and mind with all its wondrous beauty? The kind of moment that brings tears to your eyes because your life is so full and you’re on track with your life goals and all you can think about is just how blessed you really are.
If you’ve never experienced a moment like this, beware. I assure you, they do happen. And when they do, you’ll be overwhelmed with the thought of just how wonderful life really is.