When it comes to tough situations, there are always some ways to make the most of them. Blaming yourself and mulling over what has happened can be one the unhealthy ways to go about unplanned or negative situations. Instead, looking for silver linings can make things a little more tolerable. So, how exactly can you make the most out of a difficult situation? Here are five ways how you can achieve that.
1. Challenge Yourself to Think More Positively
I’m not talking about taking a “Pollyanna” approach to your problems. It’s one thing to try to bypass our emotions, which is not what I mean. I’m talking about bringing awareness and intention to the situation, not emotional bypass.
Thinking positively isn’t easy. In the midst of challenging times, being the “half glass full” type of person is not likely something that will come naturally. I’ve found myself victim to the “glass half empty” mindset many, many times. Is there anything wrong with not being overly optimistic? No, not at all, especially when it comes to calling out toxic positivity. It’s okay to be realistic, and it’s okay to be negative from time to time. We don’t want to fall into the trap of negativity, downward spiraling in our thoughts, and not taking proactive action while we’re spiraling. This inaction of succumbing to your thoughts is like fuel on an already blazing fire.
Seeing the silver lining in things will make most situations slightly more bearable. However, I don’t believe we can take a passive approach. It can be helpful to bring Byron Katie’s, The Work into the situations you face. Her work is about looking for the proof, or the evidence, of what your thoughts are screaming but may not have valid proof to back up. As your brain looks for the evidence and doesn’t find it, you see the situation differently. Your thought pattern changes. Therefore your feelings and actions towards that situation change as well. This is reframing in action. So no, it’s not emotional bypass or taking a passive approach – not in the least. And, it’s not as simple as when people say, “Just think positive!” either.
2. Seek the Right Support from Others
Having a different perspective on a bad situation makes it so much better. It doesn’t mean that the situation you’re facing isn’t any less harmful, but getting another perspective could help you see why this situation is happening and the good side. Another perspective can help you out with this too.
As you’re taking action towards reframing your thoughts and perspective through step one, it’s helpful then to bring a disinterested third party into the conversation. Why do I say “disinterested third party?” Because when we are faced with challenges, it’s usually best to bounce thoughts and ideas off of someone who does not have skin in your game of life; there is nothing in it for them, nor do they have nothing to lose. This strategy is also important to consider because, according to mental health statistics, there are many people struggling right now. Choose your neutral heart with ears wisely. Carefully consider reconsidering asking for support from someone who simply does not have it to give because they’re in need. That doesn’t mean that hearing other people’s perspectives isn’t a good thing. However, people often provide values-based advice, and what if your values are way different? This comes back to intention; go in asking for support from the other without getting advice. Sometimes just speaking out loud and having our voice heard is enough for us to discover the answers already within our hearts.
3. Stick To Your Values and Principles
Society tends to want things to be perfect. When not perfect, a person should feel bad for it. It’s too easy to beat yourself up when things go wrong. You may find yourself playing alternate scenarios in your head of what you should have done and what you could have done. But, mishaps and disappointments are just what happens in life. Lessons are to be learned; it’s just the reality of it all.
Sticking to your values and principles will keep you from dishonoring what is most important to you. Values also light the way for choices we are often faced with. When facing a challenge, consider what you value most and what is in the integrity of your heart. This ties into step two in seeking support. But, this is an essential mention for a step all its own because we often dishonor our values and remain in relationships or situations where others continually dishonor our values. It is possible to stay in a relationship with someone who dishonors your values as long as you have firm boundaries. Because, let’s face it, sometimes we can’t wholly “write off” a relationship. Sticking to your values and principles with strong boundaries (and a lot of grace) can make those challenging situations tolerable.
4. Be Patient (With Yourself & Others)
While it may depend on the situation you’re dealing with, be patient. Sometimes, you can’t fix everything immediately, and it needs to take time. The dust may need to settle; you may need to find your internal peace to make a clear, sound decision before taking action. And sometimes, action needs to be immediate, and you have to address the consequences later. But, if in a situation or challenge where time is in your favor – take it. Push pause, take a step back, take several deep breaths, and reassess. You may need to channel anger (or other strong emotions) into physical or action-based activity, fully expressing it in a medium that feels right for you, then come back to the challenge without being attached to the intense emotion.
5. Acceptance That the Situation Happened
Of course, you’ll need to accept the situation has happened. But even this alone could be a silver lining. Challenges, and the changes that come as a result, can be a good thing. When life happens, as it will and continues to do, it can propel us forward into a new path. We can be shot out of our comfort zone like a rocket, and there’s only one thing to do: accept what was and embrace what could be. Allow ourselves to be molded into an evolved, hard-Knox-educated, 2.0 version of ourselves.
Sending you light and love as you move toward making the most of your challenging situations. 💛