By Laura Lifshitz
It is really hard to think optimistically when things aren’t going your way. Especially when this happens for more than a day, a week, a few months or even a year. It’s very easy to believe that your projected life outlook is going to be “utter crap” when it seems as if all you’ve been dealing with is well, utter crap.
I mean, when you are at the bottom it seems to last exponentially longer than when you’re at the top, right? It’s almost as if your mind has decided that if you are at the bottom now, there is no way up to the top. Your thoughts and energy become incredibly negative unless of course, you change your way of thinking and your viewpoint.
That was me.
A year and a half ago around summer time, I found myself descending into the bottom. With each thing that happened whether it was a health scenario, divorce drama or a financial hardship, I seemed to think that I had finally hit the lowest point. Of course, life laughed in my face and the hits kept coming. I was strapped financially…struggling. My daughter and I were adjusting to a move, amongst other major family matters. Whenever a new stressor came my way, I seemed to panic.
Imagine wearing a viewfinder 24/7 and only seeing black.
It took a lot of work to retrain myself to realize that my position at “the bottom” wasn’t a lifelong destination, but just a temporary “landing place.”
When the following summer rolled around and I endured another major hardship—loss of employment—I was forced to change my way of thinking. If I sat around feeling like nothing would get better, nothing would get better.
I tried to see the silver linings in everything.
Being unemployed meant being home with my daughter.
Being broke meant reassessing what my daughter and I really needed rather than what we wanted.
Having my daughter by myself for the majority of the time, meant I had developed an extremely special and close relationship with her. It meant she had more time to make connections in our community that she loves.
I had setbacks mentally in which I didn’t sleep much and worried myself sick, but mostly, I started to find solutions to my issues. I worked hard to gain clients for my business. I applied and interviewed like crazy for full-time jobs. I exercised my butt off. I spent a lot of time with my daughter. I advocated to get us both covered under the state’s health insurance plan when I couldn’t pay my private plan anymore. I went above and beyond. Every single day was productive.
Every. Single. One.
Today, things are still hard but I know I am doing the best I can. I know that this is temporary and transient. Sure, it may go on for another year or so, but I am climbing my way out from the hole.
Despite how hard it is and often lonely, here are reasons to be thankful for your time at the bottom. I know for me, each and every one of these points are relevant to me. These are the reasons that I know my time on the “dark side” has been a huge growth period for me.
1. You Become Stronger
Nothing prepares you better for life, than life. With each adverse event, my tolerance, strength and wit got stronger. The things that seemed so big became small. I can handle more.
2. You Make Strong Connections
During this time, I have made new friendships and strengthened old ones. I still haven’t found a life partner to be by my side, but I have made an amazing and supportive inner circle that I cherish. They have lifted me up every step of the way.
3. You Appreciate More
The small things like being able to buy groceries… a sunset run…a welcoming hug…time spent with friends…time spent cuddling my daughter…I appreciate it more.
When something is accomplished, I feel that victory, more.
I have a greater appreciation for the smaller things that really aren’t that small.
My friends went away all summer or fancy vacations or even weekend getaways.
I still had fun. I still experienced joy.
4. You Grow Confidence
Because of all these hairy situations and life setbacks, I have grown confidence that didn’t exist before and couldn’t have come just by waking up every day to the easy life.
I needed this time at the bottom in a way, in order to grow quickly.
I can see how my efforts make me a better role model for my daughter and eventually (hopefully very very soon!), a fantastic life partner!
5. You Become Resourceful
When you have little, you learn to become resourceful.
You learn to find ways to get stuff you need based on your means, whether those are financial, physical or emotional needs.
You’re not apt to flinch in the sight of adversity. You find answers where others find problems.
6. You Are an Ally to Others
Because of my experiences, I can turn and help others in need. My empathy level has grown. I have seen a whole different side of life that has changed me, for the better.
The way I see it is I am not hunkering in some black hole.
I am a diamond, waiting for my time to be mined.
With every step and effort I make, I am becoming a shinier, bigger and brighter diamond that when truly mined, will give off light and love to all around me.
About the Author
Laura Lifshitz is a Freelance Writer, Content Creator, Comedienne, & Obsessive Chocoholic