How Can We Stay Hopeful and Present During Difficult Times?
Like it or not, there will be difficult times in our lives. You might lose your job, fail in your business, or have an illness. Whatever it is, it’s essential that you don’t lose hope. You must have hope that you will go through it. If you don’t, you will only drag yourself down. You will enter a vicious cycle where your negative attitude makes the situation worse, which makes you even more negative, and so on.
Don’t let that happen to you. Be prepared for difficult times so that you are ready when they come.
Here is how not to lose hope in difficult times:
1. Have faith.
Based on my experiences, to not lose hope you must have faith. You must believe that things will work out well in the end.
In my case, I believe that God is in control of my life and has a good plan for me. No matter how bad the situation looks, I’ve learned to trust Him, even if I don’t understand how things will work. Time and again, things turn out to be good, often in a way that I couldn’t understand earlier.
Just to give you one example, several years back I failed my Master’s degree at a local university for reasons that were beyond my control. It was a really bad experience, especially given how hard I had been working on it. But I learned to trust God in that situation. That gave me the faith to get through it. Long story short, I eventually got a scholarship at an overseas university that was of much better quality than my previous university. I learned a lot more there than I could ever otherwise.
Experiences like this strengthen my belief that having faith is essential in difficult times. In fact, I believe it to be the most important tip here, which is why I list it first.
2. Remember your “why.”
When you are in a difficult time, you should remember: why do you do what you are doing in the first place? What is it that you are after? Remembering your why gives you the strength to keep going because the cause will pull you ahead. As Viktor Frankl once said: “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’”
There are two points here:
- Always have a cause in whatever you do. To put it simply, if you don’t have a why, then don’t do it.
- Always remember what the cause is. Keep it front in your mind so that you don’t lose sight of it.
To be effective, the cause should be bigger than yourself. A self-centered “cause” won’t work. It must be something that gives you inner satisfaction rather than external rewards. It must be inspiring.
3. Be around supportive people.
Going through difficult times is hard, but going through them alone is even harder. You need a group of positive people who can support you. You should become a part of a community that cares and encourages one another. If you don’t, my suggestion is to start looking for one. Don’t wait until you need it, because by then it will be too late. You need the community before difficult times come.
4. Help others.
An additional benefit of being in a good community is it encourages you to think about other people. It pushes you to help others and, therefore, think about other people. This way you shift your focus away from yourself. As a result, your situation won’t look as bad as it would otherwise.
Often the situation looks worse than it really is because we give it too much attention. Shifting some of your attention away will put the situation in a better perspective.
When you are in a difficult time, remember: don’t lose hope. Hope is essential; once you lose it, you already lose the game. Furthermore, it’s your responsibility to not lose hope. You can make it as long as you don’t break it.