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A Life Worth Living

Stop Being Miserable! Self Help to Recovery

By 17/11/2022June 7th, 202318 Comments
Stop being miserable
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In this sprawling digital universe we live in, jam-packed with self-help articles, books, and how-to videos, you might be asking yourself: why on earth did I decide to toss another pebble into this ocean of advice? Well, grab a coffee, sit back, and let’s have a chat about that.

Here’s the thing. We’re human, beautifully flawed and continuously learning. We need nudges, guidance, and most importantly, conversations. We’re wired to reflect, to talk, to share—that’s our superpower. It’s what makes us, us. It’s why we’re not just another species roaming this planet, but the ones shaping it, transforming it. We’re survival artists, learning and growing through the stories we tell, the opinions we argue about, the values we hold dear, the facts we discover, and the experiences we share.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not about to unravel some secret, life-altering wisdom that’s never been heard before. Let’s be real: it’s a big, old world out there, and there’s very little that hasn’t already been said or explored. So yes, the thoughts I’m going to share might sound familiar. But hey, repetition has a purpose. Sometimes, a message is like a favorite song—you need to hear it again and again, in different moods, at different times. Sometimes, it’s not just about what’s being said, but who’s saying it, and how they’re saying it. And who knows? Maybe the way I strum these words will make the song resonate with you, nudging your life, dreams, and happiness in a slightly new direction.

Understand why you’re really feeling miserable

 

Stumbling into a rut of sadness, sinking into a pit of despair, it’s a brutally tough place to be. Trust me, I’ve been there and back, trudging down those dark paths more times than I’d like to remember. That’s why it’s super important to get to the heart of what’s triggering this heavy-heartedness. If we don’t, it’s a lot like not knowing what’s causing a nagging pain— we might try to soothe the symptoms, but the cause will still keep flaring up.

Take this story from my past. Many moons ago, I worked with a guy named Allen. Picture this— a middle-aged guy, always wearing a grimace and a cloud of complaints. It didn’t matter whether the issue was big or small, he’d blow a fuse, bickering with anyone within earshot. He seemed absolutely miserable. At first glance, you’d bet your bottom dollar that his job was the bane of his existence, the root of all his fiery temper tantrums.

But here’s the plot twist. After spending some time deep in conversation with him, allowing him space to self-reflect, it turned out he didn’t hate his job. Quite the opposite, he actually loved it. But he was going through a rough patch with his partner, and they were teetering on the brink of breaking up.

Allen’s home troubles were the real reason for his gloom and he didn’t know how to handle it. It was a heck of a lot easier to blame it on things he could control or things that didn’t sting as much. He vented his frustrations on his coworkers, losing a bunch of friends in the process. It was a wrecking ball to his relationships. Deep down, he knew it. But until he pinpointed it, wrapped his head around it, and accepted it, there was no way he could tackle it. And shoving people away wasn’t doing him any favors.

Don’t allow one aspect of your life to define you as a whole

 

Allen’s personal strife, as heart-wrenching as it was, seemed to seep into every corner of his existence— his work, friendships, dreams, and even his well-being. The issue largely lay in his tendency to let this one aspect overshadow everything else, leading him to lose sight of his individuality. He failed to acknowledge that he was his own person before he met his partner, someone with a distinct life and identity independent of any relationship. He struggled with the reality that he had no control over his partner’s decision to leave and seemed to have lost touch with his self-worth. In his mind, his partner was his “better half,” and without her, he felt incomplete, reduced to nothing.

Coming to terms with the fact that most things in life are beyond his control took him some time. The reality that he couldn’t control others, couldn’t control the world around him, and even the inevitabilities of his own body, such as aging, hair loss, and dental issues, was a bitter pill to swallow. He needed to make peace with the fact that loss is an inevitable part of life.

Yet, he also needed to realize that one aspect of his life he did have control over was his emotional state.

Undoubtedly, his partner’s departure would stir up a storm of emotions— a quintessential human response. However, letting these emotions define his identity or dictate his behavior towards others would only perpetuate his misery.

Allen had to learn the art of compartmentalization— a way to separate and manage his thoughts and feelings. For instance, while at work, he couldn’t do anything about his home problems, so it made sense to focus on the task at hand. Similarly, if work-related stress was gnawing at him, he had to learn to box it away when he clocked out, preventing it from leaking into his personal life. This way, he could avoid triggering confrontations that were unwarranted and unfair.

Make conscious choices and decisions

 

Though Allen had come to grips with the reality that much of life was outside his control and losses were inevitable, this realization didn’t absolve him of his role. It didn’t mean he could sit back and let the world happen to him. On the contrary, he had to shoulder the responsibility for his choices, and those choices had to be rooted in sound judgement, not swayed by transient emotions alone.

He found himself at a crossroads, needing to decide whether the issues straining his relationship were insurmountable, warranting a separation, or whether their bond was worth fighting for. He had to objectively evaluate if preserving their relationship would be a catalyst for further despair and declining health. Once he’d weighed these decisions, it was then time to roll up his sleeves and take practical steps towards resolution or acceptance.

Don’t just stand there! Do something!

 

Navigating through the choppy waters of his relationship, Allen decided to try to stitch things up with his partner. That’s when the penny dropped. He had been wrestling with a similar issue in their relationship as he had in other parts of his life— skating over the deeper issues while sparring with the superficial ones.

Underneath it all, Allen and his partner had an unspoken, shared desire for a family, a dream thwarted by their inability to have children. It wasn’t something they outwardly argued about, but it was the silent instigator fueling their tumultuous dynamics.

The time was ripe for action. The discontent wasn’t anchored in work-related dissatisfaction or relationship spats. It was rooted in the primal longing to nurture a family.

So, Allen found himself standing at a crossroads, confronted with a choice that could drastically alter the course of his life. It was time for a heart-to-heart with his partner, an earnest dialogue to chart their way forward. Their options? Keep trying for a child, maybe with a little help from medical science, choose different paths to independently chase their dreams, or hold onto each other while reconciling with the possibility of remaining childless.

Nobody promised this decision would be easy! But it was unavoidable. Hesitation, sitting on the fence, only meant a recurring cycle of firefighting, a ceaseless spiral of misery, casting a gloomy shadow over their relationship and life in general.

However, no matter the route they decided to take— keep trying for a baby, part ways, or accept their current reality— the chance for happiness and contentment was still on the table. At the end of the day, it all comes down to perspective and acceptance.

Embrace your emotions but be rational

 

Often, an emotional whirlwind can cloud the rational faculties of your mind, making clear-headed decisions an uphill battle. It’s a challenge to rein in, especially since it’s woven into the very fabric of our being. But what transpires when you do tame it? What happens when you don’t let your emotions call the shots? You seize the helm of your ship, steering clear of looming icebergs.

This can be an intimidating endeavor. Your brain will exhaust every trick in the book to safeguard you, to shield you from the emotional agony that comes with making wrong decisions. This might freeze you in your tracks, keeping you from taking any action. But remember, inaction is a decision in its own right, and it might be the most regrettable one you ever make.

This is where tackling the problem head-on comes into the picture. This is where you tap into your inner courage to foster positive change.

You’re probably curious about Allen’s story— the choice he made, and how it all turned out.

You’ll be heartened to know that Allen valued his relationship enough to initiate that challenging, yet crucial conversation with his partner. After much soul-searching, they decided to stand by each other and continue trying to conceive. Even if the medical interventions didn’t pan out, they pledged to not lose hope— neither in their dream of having a family nor in their bond. They resolved to accept any outcome gracefully, ensuring that it didn’t ignite emotional wildfires.

I hesitated to wrap up their story with a ‘happily ever after’ because life doesn’t always align with such idealized endings. Life is a journey filled with hurdles, failures, and losses. But what I can tell you is that Allen honed new skills to tackle the challenges that lay ahead— and you can do the same. It all begins with identifying the root causes of your troubles and summoning the courage to confront them head-on.

However, this doesn’t imply you need to gear up for battle at every turn. On the contrary, you must discern your battles wisely— you won’t always hit the bull’s eye. Mistakes are part of the journey, and your approach towards them can make a world of difference.

Be honest with yourself. Be fair to yourself. Be good to yourself.


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