As a motivational speaker I often leave events with a heavy heart, because even though we laughed together and found a new sense of passion and purpose, I was also invited into your lives to hear your struggles and see your tears. And it’s hard to walk away and not take you with me. I take my mission to bring humor and hope to people seriously – and so this moment is for those who need a little hope. For those sitting in the dark shedding tears. For those standing in front of a mountain so big they can’t even begin to see past it. For those who feel as if all hope is lost, and are having a hard time finding the strength in them to continue. This message is not from an expert – this message is simply from a friend who has heard your cries. A friend who hopes that you are listening and who hopes that you will find something in this little note to keep you strong until the next person finds you to deliver a message.
1. Yes, this SUCKS. Sorry for the bad word, but I will not even begin to minimize your problems. I will not throw happy quotes in your face, tell you it could be worse (at least not yet) or shout “You can do it!” and walk away. This is me giving you a virtual hug and agreeing that you have been dealt a big old fat ration of crap. This is me shouting and stamping my feet and asking “Why?” to the heavens. To everything there is a season – and this moment is for the rage and the heartbreak that you need to get out. Remember that kid in the Walmart who threw the temper tantrum and banged his feet on the floor and screamed at the top of his lungs? In this moment, you get to be that kid.
2. Just BREATHE. Often when faced with something really big, I start to panic and I have trouble breathing. My mind races to all the worst case scenarios and the room starts to spin. And I have to remind myself to stop and just breathe. In and out. Nice long deep breaths. Take a moment to turn everything off – except maybe some nice music – and just breathe. Step away from the problem for a moment (it will probably still be there when you return to it) and go to that quiet place where you can be still and silent. Away from the noise. Away from distractions. Preferably close to chocolate. And if the breathing turns into sleeping – good for you. Your body needs to rest during this stressful time. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for your perspective. But if you can’t get out of bed, you need to dial a friend and ask for help. If you are having trouble doing even the most basic of tasks – you need to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you are weak – it just, in fact, my be the strongest thing you do.
3. Put the “What If’s Away”. If you’re like me, you have jumped past the obstacle in front of you, and into every scenario that could possibly happen. This is wasted energy. Put those things that might happen away. They aren’t here yet. Focus on today – focus on now. You have strength in this moment – in today. Tomorrow will bring enough troubles of its own. And often we worry today about a tomorrow that never happens.
4. Find a hug. They are closer than you think. It’s okay if the hug comes from a stranger, someone who drools, or is covered in fur. There is amazing hope in a hug. (Find you a plus-sized person! We give great hugs that last forever!)
5. Determine what you can control and what you can’t. Easier said than done, I know. But it still does no good to try and control what can’t be controlled. So focus on what you can. Make a list of all the things you have the power to do. Smile as you see how much power you really do have.
6. Find the courage to do what you know you need to do. Prepare, plan, and practice. And then follow through. Nobody said this would be easy. Life isn’t easy. It’s messy. And sometimes you have to face the fire. Hiding does not make the problem go away. Talking about it is not the same as doing something about it.
8. It could be worse. I know, this is where you want to smack me and the blog I rode in on. But truth is truth. And if you think this is bad, I will challenge you that there is a worse scenario out there.
9. Keep everything in perspective as much as you can. Look ahead to the end of your life and determine how important this really is. I’m not minimizing your problem unless you have made a mountain out of a mole hill. Many of us look back on obstacles and realize they were really opportunities in disguise.
10. Take care of yourself. Stress will attack you – not the situation. Your reaction is what will take you down – not the problem. So eat right, move, get plenty of sleep. Take care of yourself, or you will be no good to others. Decide that no matter what happens – you will not let this break you. Tell yourself over and over: ” I am not going to let this take me down. I will remain calm. I will not let what is happening around me affect my health and well being.”
11. Believe in yourself. You are stronger than you think you are. You are braver than you think you are. You can do this. I believe in you. But it’s not enough. Now you must believe in yourself. Remember that truth trumps feelings. Just because you feel it, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Try to see past the emotion to the truth.
12. Serve your way out of the problem. Sometimes we need to go focus on somebody else just to take our mind off our own pain. Serving others just might give you the healing you need.
13. Find God. If I had to pick only one thing on this list, this would be it. You can’t understand until you know Him. Why look to me to answer your big questions? Why not look to the creator of the universe? Why not ask HIM to guide you? I promise that He is more powerful than any problem you have – smarter than the smartest person you can find – more loving than anyone you can find here on earth. His promises are good – His hand is mighty – and He knows you and loves you better and more than anyone here on earth. He has you in the palm of His hand. Even when it doesn’t feel like it. It’s the truth. That I promise. So don’t find me. Find Him. And you will tap into a much bigger power. Just seek Him. He promises that if you knock, He will answer.
So there you go. That’s all I’ve got. I wish it was more. I wish I had the magic words to make it all go away. I wish I could ease your pain and wipe away your tears. But I can’t. All I can do is tell you that you’re not alone. Someone hears you. Someone cares. Even if it doesn’t feel like it. All I can do is pray for you, and hope that tomorrow brings a better day. Because no matter what, there’s always hope.
Please share this with someone you think could use a little hope today.
If you think humor and hope aren’t important, I’ll show you someone who doesn’t have any.