How to keep your spirits up when the situation seems so desperate?

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Charles R. Swindoll

I have been asked several times the following question in relation with my publications on LinkedIn: “When everything seems to be going against me, how can I keep my spirits up, especially when the situation seems so desperate?” To answer this question, I have decided to share my own experience with you so that you open your mind to the idea that in fact, the worst things that happen to you in life can lead to a very positive outcome, and, also to show you that I apply to myself what I preach which is the basis of authenticity.

I have started this article by a quote. Please, keep this quote in mind as you read through the article. I am going to demonstrate you how true this quote is so that next time something you consider as bad happens to you, you don’t let negative thoughts invade your mind right away – which is what your brain will be tempted to do. You just take a break, then take a step back towards what is happening so that you can consider all aspects of the situation as well as potential outcomes.

Do you think I don’t know how tough life can be? Do you think that I just belong to those high-flying coaches and counselors that make you believe they master everything and sell you impossible dreams? I might disappoint some of you but I am not. I am a human being like you with – this is true – a firm character and a very high resilience. Do you think I was born like this? No! I was a rather shy and fragile kid. I had to learn and trust me, life has done all it could to make the path really hard. The harder the path became, the more I learnt. People who are successful – the majority of them – do not succeed by chance, they succeed after long and continuous efforts. They accept the fact that life can be really tough sometimes, that outcomes do not always turn out the way they had expected and they learn how to cope with it.

Let’s go back to my personal example. Two years ago, I was lucky to cross the road of a very special someone to me. I insist on the word “lucky” because when you are going to read what follows, you are going to interpret my story from your own point of view. This is really important for you to take into account. The way you interpret what is happening in your life will decide of how you will react to it. Anyway, when I met this person, I wrongly thought I had finally found love and happiness. I had a lot of expectations and this was my first mistake. I am not saying it is a bad thing to expect things and positive outcomes but most importantly, it is important to remember that your expectations are yours, that others have different expectations and that you need to adjust constantly. I am not going to write more about the concept of “adjusting” in this article as it is not the purpose of the article. Anyway, and without going too much into details, instead of being the fairy tale I was expecting, I can basically summarize the experience as being the most difficult and hurtful of my whole life. When something like this happens to you, there are many reactions you can have. I could have chosen the following options:

  • I depress myself
  • I consider this person is the biggest idiot I have ever met – this would mean not recognizing my own mistakes
  • I get into the vicious circle of guilt blaming myself for the mistakes that I made – I made mistakes that were the consequences of my disappointed expectations but I am not responsible for the behavior of the other person, this behavior was his choice and his right to do so
  • I get into the vicious circle of regrets where I constantly refer to this past experience in the present leading to paralyzing consequences as far as present relationships are concerned
  • I get really angry at the person for his reactions and the way he treated me and I spend years in anger, resentment and other unhealthy negative emotions

Do you think I took any of these options? Certainly not. None of them would have generated positive outcomes in my life. Instead of this, I decided to take the experience as a lesson and an opportunity to take a break and have a look at my life. At that time, I was living in a city that I really disliked and where I was completely bored. My private life was leading me nowhere and I was having the most boring job of my whole career. I realized that what was left to me was the right to decide how I wanted to react to this experience, what I wanted to learn from it in terms of behaviors that I could change to improve my life, wrongly set expectations and how to better balance expectations, understanding of others and how I wanted this experience to impact my life. Whatever happens to you in life, keep in mind that you have the power to choose how you want to react to it! There isn’t only just one truth, just one choice, just one possibility – there are thousands of them! It is a matter of mindset, adjustment and flexibility and the good news, is that you can learn, thanks to therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), to change your mindset so that you can expect different and better outcomes in your life.

Want to know the “end” of my story? The first beneficial decision I made was to quit my job. There was no way I could go on with this job where I couldn’t see any future for me and that simply did not make sense. I decided to go back to studying and to feed my brain with new skills that I had been looking forward to studying for many years! I left the country I disliked and moved to a new one and I started my own company. I am really happy with my new life. I am very grateful for this experience as it gave me the power to change everything I disliked about my life. Of course, I had tough times but I grew stronger and stronger during those tough times. I strengthened my resilience, I improved my empathy, understanding of situations and people. Without this experience, I would still be in my boring job, boring country, boring life with no meaning and far away from my values.

If there is something you need to remember about what you just read, it is that things happen to us in life. The way you perceive them – as either negative or positive – will decide upon how you react to them. Remember that you are free to decide how you want to react. If you have a tendency to see the world in black, you will respond to events in a negative manner, only seeing problems and completely ignoring the opportunities that most of the time are hidden behind each perceived negative event. Our brain can be educated so that you learn to change your mindset and your thoughts and expect better emotional state, behaviors, reactions and outcomes. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is the most suited form of therapy to change thoughts and behaviors, it has proven to be very successful. You might still think that I am stronger than you are and that you would never be able to react the way I did? I heard this sentence so many times from friends and acquaintances! Let me tell you that you are wrong. I might be stronger than you but this doesn’t matter. You can learn to become stronger than what you currently are too and change your life! It is more a question of will. All you need is the will to change, therapy will bring you the learning and tools you need.

Learn more about me and check out my coaching and counseling programs here.

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Evidence Coaching
Evidence Coaching
I am a highly trained Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Certified Professional Coach, Nutrition & Diet Advisor, Holistic Therapist and founder of Evidence Coaching; a private integrative coaching & counselling practice located in Barcelona, Spain. I work with clients of all cultural and professional backgrounds as well as an exclusive clientele. I offer face-to-face services for my clients living in the greater Barcelona area, on demand around the globe as well as distance services via phone, Skype and email in French, English and German. You want to give your private or professional life a fresh impetus? Address your concerns? Contact me to find out how my services can positively impact Your personal and professional life! Guaranteed discretion and confidentiality. Welcome to Evidence Coaching’s exclusive world.

Carole Besson - [email protected] - Founder of Evidence Coaching, Dip.Psych, Dip.CBT, Dip.Couns (online), Dip.NLP Master Practitioner, Certified Professional Coach (CPC, CEC, CCC), Nutrition & Diet Advisor, Holistic Therapist.

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