Editor’s Note: UPDATED as of October 25, 2016 for relevance and accuracy.
At times, we can go through a period of life when nothing seems to be going the way we want it to. The life we had imagined is just not there, and we seem to be swimming upstream. These times are a test on who we are and what we want to be. These are merely roadblocks in life.
When this happens, what do you do?
Here are some simple steps to keep in mind when you are facing such difficulties in your life:
Tips To Keep In Mind When Facing Roadblocks In Life
1. Stop Comparing
Your problems or concerns may be very different from others – but the emotions tied to them are the same. The feeling of helplessness or despair crosses the world. Shaming or pitying yourself is NOT helpful. Face your issues and remove judgement from them.
You have your own journey as does everyone else. Also, there is no way to know what someone else is going through, just as you may find it hard to find someone else who can understand your situation.
So take a step back from everyone else! See the big picture and let go of the small details. We can get overwhelmed with all the little things we think we need to do: laundry, dinner, doctor’s appointments, work deadlines, etc. So finding a way to sit back, take a breath, and see the larger view can help.
2. Change Perspective
Seeing roadblocks in life as a problem tend to make them even more so. Do NOT minimize or negate what you are facing but try to see it as a challenge. This can help alleviate some of the pressure we put on ourselves. We may not be able to know the outcome now, but we can always take the next step.
Here is a wonderful opportunity to learn something new or grow in some way. Be aware that is may be a bit painful, but change often is. Yet at the end, you will be better for it in some way. Look at this as a lesson to be learned and your experience in this will allow you to help others later on.
3. Set Small Goals
It can be tempting to ignore what is going on or try to escape it. Dreaming of running away to a tropical island is great – but remember that you are still bringing yourself along on that trip.
So instead, face your roadblocks in life and take one small step at a time. Break everything down to more manageable pieces and let go of the things you cannot control. For instance: you may not be hired for that dream job, but you can put in the effort to apply for it.
Get a list or a calendar and start planning it out. It may not be the most fun; however, it can help you to see the reality and the fullness of the situation. If there is a financial issue then make a budget. Remember to try and remove any shame or judgement you may have associated with it! You are being practical and logical at this step.
4. Admit It
Share what you are going through with someone but do NOT ask for advice or help.
Explicitly tell that person you are not looking for their opinion, just their presence. At times like this we can wish for someone to just come in and solve it all or give us the precise steps to fix our life. Unfortunately, that does not happen. But it is important to talk about it. And in that conversation, you may even be able to find some answers yourself.
Okay: life sucks right now and laughter may be the furthest thing from your mind. Yet, it can help.
When life seems overwhelming and there appears to be no “right” step, we need to take a moment to find the little bit of beauty in life. Take the time to just smile. Say hi to a neighbor, play with your kids….find ways to remind yourself why you are working so hard.
The only person you can control in whatever situation you may find yourself, is YOU. No matter how much work you put in or try to get others to think as you wish them to, there is NO guarantee. So be grateful for what you already have been able to create. Write it down if you are having trouble appreciating it.
Acknowledge the fact that you are amazing in your ability to recognize roadblocks in life and you are willing to try and change that. That, is beautiful!
Don’t skip this step! Sometimes we can get so focused on having to “do” things that we miss out on the experience. When everything is going wrong, we often think that if we just work harder, sleep less, or put in more hours, that it will all turn around. Yes, putting in effort is a part of change – but burning yourself out is of NO help to anyone.
So take a moment to breathe. Maybe meditate if that is what you like, or just go for a walk. Do not exercise if you are using it as work! Be relaxed and present in whatever you choose to do. Running on a treadmill to achieve a certain calorie mark and thinking about your problems during the run is NOT relaxing.
We have the power and skills to accomplish many things. The key is to embrace what you are experiencing and feeling, while not trying to run from it. We have the ability to design a life that works for us. Each painful process we go through is just a way to help us learn something for later! While we may have to experience hurt in order to grow, we have the ability to control how long that pain lingers with us.
So choose to be in the moment rather than trying to worry about the past or predict the future. Roadblocks in life are difficult to accept, especially if they go against what we wanted. But we do not know what is in store for us. So we need to be patient, breathe, laugh, set goals, and view this as a part of the journey you are on.