We all have challenging times in our lives, some more than others, and it usually involves change.
Why do we find change tough?
The fear of the unknown often means we would rather stick with what we know, even if that's not great. We can resist new ideas if we are uncertain of the outcome, yet the truth is, change can be positive if we navigate our way through it and give ourself the chance to explore.
When big life changes comes our way, whether it may be health, relationships, financial or career changes, we can feel like we are in stuck in a dark place. The struggle to get out of that place can be more challenging than the actual change itself.
My life changing injury which left me as a wheelchair user affected my body in so many ways; no sensation or movement from the chest down, loss of bowel and bladder function, poor temperature and blood pressure regulation.
Yet the mental aspect was destroying me. No one talks to us more than ourselves. My mind was full of hateful thoughts about my body; the way it looked, how it didn't work as it should and what it could no longer do. That was part of coming to terms with this drastic change in my life.
It was a process of grieving for all I lost, accepting what had happened, adapting to my new situation and finally embracing new opportunities.
So how did I get from the dark place to reach the light at the end of the tunnel?
I am often asked this and it wasn't one defining moment, it was lots of small efforts. I think it came down to making myself do things when I really didn't want to- this was the key. There were many other factors too, here are a few of them:
Discipline. When faced with change, motivation can go out the window and we need to force ourselves to do things. If we keep doing this eventually it will lead to motivation. "No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up"
Acceptance. Once you let go of the things you can't change you have the energy to put into the things you can. You have a choice of so many different paths but you need to be open to try new options- this comes when you 'let go'. "The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not fighting the old. but on building the new"
Set goals. Goals will give you a focus and encourage you to think forwards rather than backwards. Accomplishing the goals will increase your self esteem.
Teamwork. You are more likely to see the light at the end of the tunnel if you surround yourself with positive people or people who bring the best out of you.
Fake it. When I forced myself out the house I didn't feel better but I faked it. I pretended I was ok. Our behaviour affects our feelings, and like a miracle I came back feeling better which can lead us on to doing more, and getting closer the the light. "Fake it 'til you make it"
Gratefulness. Even when you are in a tunnel of darkness you can choose to focus on the positives in your life. When we are in a dark place it can be harder to do by my word it helps.
Reach out for help The decision to get some help can edge you closer to the light. This could be professional help, friends or family or someone in a similar situation.
If you persevere through the difficult times you can discover that the light brings many new opportunities.
It's mainly down to one person to make your life better, and that's YOU!