How many struggles have you experienced that now you can hardly remember? While in the middle of struggling it is hard to see the future and what it will be like when you are past it.
I remember with the birth of our first daughter (now in her middle teens), and again later with our twins (now pre-teens) how much our lives were turned up-side-down. The life that we had with new born babies at the time seemed to be the life we would always have. I know it isn’t rational but I remember thinking “our life is getting up in the middle of the night to feed and change diapers”. We couldn’t just pick up and go places anymore. While painful, it was of course wonderful at the same time. As I think back now, I can hardly remember that time.
I felt the same way about going to college. I couldn’t imagine having my degree until it was handed to me. I’ve also felt this way in jobs that I didn’t like anymore. I couldn’t imagine a career where I would be happier.
Of course all of that was ridiculous. Our kids can take care of themselves now and my career keeps growing and getting better.
When it feels like nothing is going to change:
- Make a list of what is so difficult to deal with right now. Write specifics about what is so hard (like getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby, or studying when you would rather do something with your friends).
- Think about your past when you had this same feeling. Use these past experiences as tools to remind yourself that you will some day be out of this experience.
- Create a vision of the future. Allow yourself to picture what it will be like when you are done with this period of your life.
- Enjoy what you can from this challenging time. There is always something to learn through any kind of strife. Make a list of what you can learn from this experience. Maybe you will make a different choice in the future (like seeking a job with a different career path). Maybe what you are experiencing now will help you experience greater joy later (getting your degree or having a self sufficient child).
It is so hard to imagine but nothing ever stays the same. It will change. Being able to see that things will be different is a great tool to making it through difficult times now.
What do you struggle to remember now about a difficult experience from your past? What did you learn from that experience?