At the time of writing this post, it is the beginning of winter. It’s dark when we wake up and dark when we leave work. Perhaps when you are reading this post, it’s not winter, but a darker time in your life nonetheless. I want to meet you wherever you are and let you know these feelings you are experiencing can be temporary, there is hope.
When we feel stuck, lost, or missing purpose, moments of joy can feel fleeting. It’s easier to allow ourselves to fall into the depths of negative spirals rather than give ourselves the space that we actually need to reflect, embrace, and lead ourselves upwards to the light. In this post, I am going to present some ideas for you to connect and recover from the dark side and step into the light of hope.
When we find ourselves in a low, our reaction can be very individual. Some of us may look for a distraction, others may find it hard to leave their beds, and others may reach for the bottle. Whatever poison you may feel compelled to follow, I’m going to challenge you to start to notice where your spiral into the darkness begins. Once you know that, you are already empowered to give yourself a glimmer of light or hope. If we can’t see it coming, darkness can blindside us as is its nature.
Give yourself some time and space to reflect on this. Looking back on the darker moments and recognizing how you got there, can give you enlightening information to understand what happens inside you that brings you to a low. Reflection is imperative to your well-being regardless of time because there is so much there to learn about yourself. I’m sure you know someone in your life who is keen to blame others for all of their problems, victimizes themselves and puts the blame on the outside. Those are people who are not reflecting because they are avoiding the work.
Those who do the work understand that no one can “make” them feel. We are accountable for our own feelings and what we do with them. Sure, outside situations and people can spark feelings within us, but it’s what we do with that information next that matters. By creating the space in between to reflect, we can understand where we’ve been…and then how we want to carry ourselves forward. Reflection can be an internal or external process, meaning you can do this in your head or with the support of others. Through reflection, you may discover themes, intuitive guidance, or ah-ha moments about yourself that contribute greatly to your personal growth. This growth is what will give you hope for a better future and motivation to get there.
One way to reflect is to go on a Vision Quest and see where it may lead you. This is the best way to discover and lead with your intuitive voice as you embark on a journey of self-discovery. You can read all about what a vision quest is and how to do it here.
Embracing hope sounds like such a cozy concept, yet it is a difficult one to do because most people will avoid the reflection they need to get to the embrace. But not you, because you are reading this and ready to embrace hope! In order to embrace hope, it is important to allow ourselves to feel all those negative emotions that the darkness brings. I know it sounds counter-productive, but trust me it’s the opposite.
We are often taught to ignore, repress, or replace negative emotions with positive ones through our culture, generational upbringing, the media, etc. Toxic positivity is a prime example of this on social media. Toxic positivity is when you surround yourself with all the positive people and posts, hoping all that positivity will rid you of the negative emotions. The only way out is through. That’s why it’s called toxic positivity, it’s toxic because it’s sending the message that the best way to rid of negative emotion is to avoid it. I call that emotional bypassing and can tell you that my clients who emotionally bypass themselves work themselves into a deep depression because they feel guilty for not being positive enough.
You are allowed to feel ALL emotions. You are human, and the beauty of being human is allowing yourself to experience the whole spectrum of emotion through your life experience. You are not a robot! Finding hope can be through embracing all your emotions, even if they are confusing and conflicting. What I want you to do here as you embrace these emotions you may not want to feel is to nurture yourself. Come from a place of compassion and self-love. We can be hardest on ourselves without recognizing it. Nurture yourself by reminding yourself that it’s OK to feel negative emotions. It’s ok to not have a good time. It’s ok and it’s temporary, life is full of happiness and sadness and you know what? We need both of them to balance and flourish in our lives.
We’ve given ourselves some time and space to reflect and we’ve learned to embrace all the feels in order to find the glimmers of light that give us hope in the darker times. Now, how can we continue to lead with hope as we move forward in our lives? This is personal because, on one hand, it’s how you show up for yourself in your everyday life. On the other hand, sometimes we need tools to guide ourselves to where we want to be. When we are lost, there are times we may need a little help from friends or something like a self-help book to help give us hope and find those glimmers of light.
You can also create a vision board which is a visual tool that you can view and meditate on daily that consists of ideas, things, or experiences you would like for your life. A lot of people think a vision board is pieces of magazines of what you want, but it is more meaningful than that. I suggest reading this post on how to create a meaningful vision board here. There is a free template in that post that will help guide you through the process.
In the darkest of winter, in the darkest of our emotions, it is possible to grasp onto those glimmers of light that give us hope. Give yourself space to reflect and learn about yourself and how you handle negative experiences. Embrace all of your emotions by not allowing yourself to emotionally bypass them. Lead from a place of self-compassion and learn what works for you to find the hope and let the darkness fade when you are ready to let it go. Now you understand that when you surround yourself with toxic positivity, you potentially set yourself up for failure and you are not meant to fail.
You are a beautiful human who has many gifts to give to others and to the world. Your soul shines a light on whoever you pass and your heart beats strong with the hope and compassion you give yourself through your darker days.
If you are suffering and considering the worst, please know there is help out there. Dial 9-8-8 in the United States or Google your jurisdiction’s crisis line. I love you for you and even if we’ve never met, I am certain you are meant for more.