by Diane Wing, M.A.
We’ve all been there, the moment where we feel completely powerless in a given situation or relationship. Powerlessness turns to hopelessness, a giving up response to a seemingly desperate situation. The experience may last a day or can persist over time. The danger in staying in a despairing state is that depression sets in and motivation goes out the window.
No matter the circumstance, we always have choices. If in a bad relationship, we can choose to leave. If going through abuse at a job, we can bolster our skills and start working our network or job boards to seek out other opportunities. If there is a sense of loneliness, with no real friends in sight, find meet-ups of likeminded folks, volunteer, or get professional help.
The last thing we want to do is decide that there must be something wrong with us for these types of situations to keep happening.
While there is always the potential for self-improvement, it’s increased self-awareness that will lift us from the slump. Identifying the patterns that continually arise and create sadness and difficulty points the way to overcoming the current issue while preventing similar conditions from happening in the future.
So where do we start? Here are five ways to take action right away to dig out of the difficulties and see a glimmer of hope to use as a springboard toward a better life.
- Assess: Determine the significance of the event and the nature of it. Is it personal or professional? Which parts of the situation are in your direct control (other than your ability to choose how you feel about it)? In what ways is the situation impeding you from moving forward? In what way is it harming your mental, physical, or emotional state? This step gives you a clear picture of the extent of the issues and helps set priorities.
- Determine Options: Make a list of possible actions that are within your control. What are the pros and cons of each? What resources do you require (money/professional services/etc.) to take these specific actions? Make a list of who is able/willing to help you? This step enables you to understand that you have alternatives to the current way of being. It opens you to possibilities and potentials rather than limiting your way of seeing yourself and your life differently.
- Move the needle: Make the decision that something needs to be done. Choose a small step toward change. The smallest action can make a big difference and starts the ball rolling to initiate future change. If you’re lonely, try to meet one new person today or join a meet-up group (check out www.meetup.com). If you’re planning to leave a bad situation, start purging items to reduce your load and search for affordable housing options. If you’re bothered by your job, refresh your resume.
- Address negative self-talk: Telling yourself you can’t afford to leave an abusive relationship or job diminishes the motivation you need to make a move and change things for the better. Every time you have a thought that says “I can’t,” then stop and replace it with the thought of an action you can take right now, no matter how small.
- Do it: Don’t just think about taking action, actually do it. Get the support you need and take the first step to a new way of being. Anxiety lessens once you make a decision and you take the first action.
In the meantime, ground and center yourself (https://www.dianewing.com/grounding/), walk in nature to clear your energy, and be in high service by sharing yourself with others in a way that lifts them. Helping others puts things in perspective and lets us interpret our circumstances in a different light. Create a calm place within yourself from which to make decisions and take action. You have the power to change your situation, even when you feel the most powerless.
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