Don’t wish your life was easier. Instead focus on becoming stronger

Don’t wish your life was easier. Instead focus on becoming stronger

4 keys to developing mental tenacity

Life can be hard. I say this with an equal dose of reality and optimism. Tragedy, devastation and storms come to us all albeit in unequal measures and at disparate moments. What separates those who will be swept away from those who will remain standing, depends on the strength of the foundation they have built their life upon. Because even when they do fall, these people will find the courage and capacity to pick themselves up and keep moving forward. How? The strategy they have created in advance especially when times are good.

This is about voluntarily and willingly putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable. This way you can increase your resistance to adversity steadily and over time. When I decided to start a business three years ago, I recognised that even in the face of ambition and drive, I was still lacking in courage. Hence getting into a habit of setting myself challenges. Cold showers for 30 days, 30 minutes intense workout every morning, saying hello to a stranger, saying yes when asked to do a talk etc. As I followed through on these challenges, I started to identify myself as being someone who feels the fear but takes action anyway.

Self-consideration gets a bad rap for being equivalent to self-indulgence or self-seeking. Whilst consideration for others on the other hand is applauded and encouraged. I now actively practise the latter as a way to achieve some balance after a lifetime of putting myself down for the preservation of others. 
‘You must first put on your gas mask before you can save others’. This is about discovering your own intrinsic value alongside your external relationships. And more-so outside of the things you own. This is how you endure.

One of the greatest challenges in life is how we manage the detangling process after being intertwined with people and things for so long. How we pick up the pieces and then put our lives back together after a heartbreak. Our appreciation of our value and worth even in the absence of the things we have shaped our identity around, derived a sense of value from.

It takes mental strength to come to terms with the fact that people leave and the things we own can get lost or diminish. What helps us thrive past these episodes is our ability to find the enthusiasm to fight for ourselves. Because if you decide that you are of low value, then you unconsciously give up.

For a major part of my life, I was terrible at facing uncomfortable emotions head on. In the face of anger, hopelessness, helplessness, fear, disappointment and guilt, I would feel overwhelmed. Thus my default approach was to shut down, run away if possible, and metaphorically go into my pod of ignorance. Until I realised that ignorance is not bliss and avoidance is not a coping mechanism. Just like closing the door to shut out or hide a messy room. This act doesn’t create the magic so the room can tidy itself, neither does it minimise what needs be done. 
In identifying and acknowledging our emotions, we can subsequently select the best way to move forward. And in some cases, build the bridge that faces outwards so that our loved ones can support us when necessary.

Happiness is not for sale. Neither are the other qualities that we admire in others such as peace, self-acceptance, courage, boldness and perseverance. Whatever stage you are at right now, appreciate that the change you seek is likely to be a slow process. Therefore grant yourself the patience to allow time to create the healthy distance from the past.The grace to forgive yourself and start again every time you slip up. The courage to keep evolving and recreate yourself as many times as you wish. The boldness to examine your life, take responsibilities for whatever results you have achieved so far, and subsequently decide what you need to do and then DO it.

I sum this up by saying that there was a time when I used to pray and wish for an easier life. My pleas went unanswered. So I have since shifted my mindset and now focus on the task of becoming stronger.

Don’t wish your life was easier. Instead focus on becoming stronger

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