The world you know has ended. Do you feel like giving up? Life seems this way when we have major changes, especially losses. Loss and grief can feel like a physical pain. The first loss is the hardest. It is never easy, but you do learn some skills along the way.
Divorce is one of those times when life as you know it is over. Maybe you struggle with guilt or shame. If you have children, you may worry how the end of the marriage will affect them. There are other times of darkness, like when a relationship with someone you have been dating ends, especially if it was long term or your first after divorce. When you lose a job, the world as you know it is over. When, God forbid, a child is severely injured or has a debilitating disease, or if you are diagnosed with a chronic condition, your world has changed. There are some things you must remember when things seem hopeless.
Grief is Part of Being Human
You may feel as if you are the only one, but you are not. We all hurt. We all grieve. All of us have something in our life that is not the way we prefer it to be. In some ways, what is unique to us is what we have in common with the rest of humanity. When we compare how we feel on the inside to how someone else’s life seems from the outside, it seems everyone else has it better than us. But do they? Sometimes at the moment their life may be easier, but usually it is just different.
You Control Your Attitude
The world shifts and is never the same in happy times too. When you have a child or get married, life will never be the same. When we choose these seismic shifts, they seem different because we were in control of them. But even in the worst of times, you control your attitude. This is easier said than done, but it is worth the effort. Like any skill, you gain competence with practice.
Rising Above Hardship
Much is written about this. Victor Frankel talks about it in Man’s Search for Meaning, which he wrote while he was in a concentration camp during World War II. He observed that even in horrible conditions, some people were able to rise above their circumstances. Richard Rohr wrote Everything Belongs to help give meaning to suffering. One of my favorite ideas from this book is that although some people grow spiritually by prayer and meditation, Rohr states he needs hardship and adversity to learn and grow. I am like Rohr in this respect. I would avoid much of the hardship I have been through if I could; however, looking back those were the times of significant growth. My mantra to remind me more light is coming, even in the darkest times, is “This too shall pass.”
I wrote more about learning from hardship in Hardship Can Hold a Hidden Gift and What to Do About Hardship.
T.C. Hamlet wrote a delightful poem based on a Russian fable about two frogs who fell in a cream bucket. One frog gave up and drowned. The other frog decided to keep trying. He swam and swam, and after an hour or two he was able to hop out via the butter he had churned. You need to choose to be the frog that keeps swimming. I started a private facebook group Single Mom Tribe so we can reach out and empower each other. We would love to have you join us in the group.
Build Your New World
Use times of seismic change intentionally. You will take some of the old you and your old life into your next chapter, but you will need to construct other parts of your life anew. Decide what you want your next chapter to look like and set goals to move yourself in that direction. Is this a time to return to school or change careers? Time to move to a different home? To reconnect with family or friends? Choose your future and set goals. It may not be the life you knew, but it is your new life.
What gives you hope in times of adversity or suffering?
See my Pinterest Board Self Care for more ideas.
One way to care for yourself is to prepare healthy meals. I have a plan to make it happen faster than drive thru and I would like to share it with you.
Hi, I’m Tamara the creator of Empowered Single Moms, a single mom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and the author of Thriving a Single Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Positive Life and Thriving a Single Mom Journal. I have a solo private psychotherapy practice where I treat anxiety, depression, and relationship issues.
As a member of the Empowered Single Moms community, I believe you can stop carrying the weight of the world alone and build a life you love. Join my mailing list and get 5 Keys to Single Mom Success.
Girl @ girlintherapy.com
I appreciated your post.
“Grief is part of being human” and we are not alone in our grief. Oftentimes I forget this. It’s easy for persons like myself to forget this and end up isolating.
In relation to what you’ve talked about, I just want to share that I’ve learnt in my Codependency recovery that there is a gift after every feeling. For example, after sadness there is healing.
That’s a very comforting thought and I shall try to remember it. Just wanted to share it with you and your readers.
Thank-you very much for stopping by, girl, I am glad it was helpful. I agree that even in the midst of darkness there is a gift. Some gifts are harder to see than other until we are once again in a more hopeful place.
This too shall pass…one of my favorite mantras. It helps so much
It is one of my favorite too, Michelle, thanks for stopping by.
Good Post…I have had a lot of loss and learned to live through it and even thrive. I lost my son a few months ago and that hasnt been easy to get past. I am doing the best I can. Sometimes that is all we can do.
Renee, I agree our best is all we can do. How horrible to loose a child. I think that is the most painful loss of all.
I LOVE THE RUSSIAN FROG STORY! Adversity does seem to be a CATALYST for change. I remember my Dad saying when I was a teenager to take care because life change change on a dime. It took me until my 20’s to really understand that expression.
I heard the frog story at an event months ago and it kept rattling around in my mind, so I had to share it.