How to Get Your Spark Back When It Feels Like a Struggle
“When you get to the end of your rope, put a knot in it so you can hold on.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Have you ever woken up one morning and been completely unable to remember who you were?
When I woke up each morning for the previous four years of my life, I had the distinct impression that I was participating in the film Groundhog Day.
Every day was the same, and I was left with the same dreadful sentiments throughout each and every one of those days. My life was governed by anxiety, sadness, and a sense of helplessness.
At one point in time, I had everything figured out. I was making progress in both my professional life and my pursuit of my lifelong goal of becoming a psychologist.
I was fortunate to have wonderful coworkers, a large number of supporting friends, and a loving family.
There was a consistent sensation of “all working out for the best,” and it flowed through the air like a warm breeze. Whatever challenges I have will shape me into a more resilient person who is a better psychologist and friend.
A better person. As a result, I was able to enjoy the highs and lows of life without harboring any regrets and with very little effort.
It appears that I woke up one morning, and nothing was where it had been the day before.
My schooling could no longer be paid for since I had lost my employment. I cut myself off from the lives of all of my friends since they all struggled with substance misuse, and vice versa.
My dearest buddy since I was five years old, my dog passed away four days before my birthday. Pain was a constant companion for me as a result of Lyme disease and an unidentified tick-borne sickness. I had the impression that my whole existence was disintegrating before my eyes.
My hopes and wishes were no longer being realized. I’m still really baffled as to how I managed to get myself into this predicament without realizing it.
It seemed as if everything negative that had happened to me occurred all at once, including the loss of the greatest portions of my life.
It was no longer possible to have positive sentiments such as “let it go; everything will work out for the best” It was completely black there. I had completely lost both myself and my enthusiasm for life.
The hardest thing was that I was aware that I could return to that location if I made the effort. But I was clueless as to how to do it.
Years went by during which I yearned for that spark, for that sense of contentment with my existence. I simply couldn’t put my finger on what it was that I was lacking in any particular way.
I didn’t even notice it was gone until it appeared so far away that it couldn’t even be seen.
I had no idea at the time, but looking back, there were really quite a few things that I could have done on a daily basis to help myself climb out of this hole.
These could be of assistance to you as well if you’re having a tough time right now.
1. Acknowledge and appreciate everything that occurs, even the things that don’t appear to have a positive outcome.
During my so-called “golden years,” I took stock of all that had gone well for me up to that point. It appeared as if the more I acknowledged and appreciated the fortuitous circumstances that life had bestowed upon me, the more of these fortunate occurrences occurred in my life.
When I became confused and lost my bearings, I was so preoccupied with the painful and overpowering emotions that I began to believe that nothing nice could ever happen to me again.
I had to come to terms with the fact that one’s perspective is the only determinant of whether or not anything is favorable or unfavorable.
I could spend the whole day dwelling on how much I detested the woman who was my boyfriend’s mother. It was easy for me to dwell on how badly she treated me from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until the time I went to bed at night.
Why is it that she couldn’t simply accept me for who I am? In the end, I adore her kid more than anything else in the world.
After dealing with this for nearly a year, I eventually came to an understanding of why she had become such a significant part of my life at that moment.
It was her mission to instill compassion in me. True, loving compassion for a person who, up until the moment you opened your eyes and considered what it could be like to be in their shoes, you believed you couldn’t stand.
It is fortunate for me that she is a part of my life, and despite the fact that she often causes me difficulty, this is not necessarily a negative aspect of our relationship.
My eyes were opened by her to the fact that individuals do not just fall into two categories: either nice or evil.
There is nothing intrinsically evil about anything; it simply is. Your filters, your beliefs, and your assumptions are applied to the information that is being processed by your mind as it goes through this process.
This is the cause of our negative emotions, such as anger, sadness, and disappointment. It is not the item that she said or even what he did that infuriated you; rather, it is how you interpreted both of those things in your head.
2. Confront limiting and unreasonable ideas with reason.
We have a tendency to cling to our illogical notions like a life preserver when things go wild, but what we truly need to hang onto is our inner calmness.
I had the firm conviction that I could think my way out of the pit of despair I had dug for myself if I only tried hard enough.
I spent the whole day trying to make sense of everything and pulling what I wanted out of every interaction, but I was obsessed with something and kept thinking the same things over and over again.
My thoughts were a jumbled mess, and I kept myself stuck in a negative state by dwelling on them. Nothing was ever satisfactory; in fact, nothing was ever satisfactory in any way.
And there was seemingly nothing I could do about it other than become even more obsessed with it.
My partner and I weren’t getting along, and I would worry about it often. Did he adore me to the end? Why hadn’t that spark seemed to be there any longer?
It was impossible for him not to have been unfaithful to me. Why weren’t things allowed to go back to the way they were before? Why did he say that to me this morning, the thing that gave me the impression that I wasn’t loved at all?
I came to the realization that all these ideas did for me was give me something external to focus about, which diverted my attention away from the actual issue at hand.
The truth is that my own fears were the root cause of both my discomfort and my inability to break free from this cycle of thinking.
I had a nagging sense he would cheat on me because I didn’t feel like I was good enough for him, and that led me to suspect he would cheat. My preoccupation with what he may do prevented me from resolving my own problems.
I lacked self-confidence. I had severe problems with my sense of self-worth, and I refused to acknowledge the reality that I was the cause of all of this trouble from the beginning to the conclusion.
It was my anxieties that led to my thinking in such a manner. If I chose to maintain the belief that I was not deserving of success, it was my ideas that would one day make it possible for these things to take place.
When you spend your whole day thinking demoralizing and restricting ideas about yourself, you will eventually learn to believe that these beliefs are accurate.
When you begin your relationship with yourself from a position of love and acceptance, it has a significant impact on the way you think about the major things in your life.
When I was in a state of panic, my thoughts went straight to the source of the problem and enlarged it, grew it, and made it more formidable until I was no longer able to ignore the actual issue that was there in front of me.
When you are able to accept and love yourself in your current state, as well as when you are able to sense the inner stillness and quiet inside yourself, you are able to see right through the tricks that you play on yourself.
3. Make time to do something that is just for you: Everyday.
I am a responsible person, and I have always carried out all of the responsibilities that have been assigned to me. I was a nice girl. I headed to the office.
I performed my job. I was fatigued by the end of each day since I was responsible for doing the dishes and the washing. But I was unable to go through the night without waking up.
I had the impression that nothing was ever really accomplished. There was never a shortage of work to be done. When I was younger, I recall seeing a filthy bottle and suddenly breaking down in tears.
Being everything to everyone is pointless if it prevents you from enjoying even a few minutes to yourself every now and then. You are the only one who can really value who you are.
I gradually began to replace responsibilities with activities that I desired to perform. Instead of going home and cleaning the living room when I got there, I would work out when I got there.
After I was through, I felt better, more calm, and more invigorated than before. The picking up went swiftly and without the bitterness that comes along with never having any time to do anything just for myself.
It’s weird how all of these people are depending on you, yet the only thing any of these individuals really needs is you, not the actions that you take.
They don’t love and appreciate the tidy home as much as they love and appreciate you. I had this preconceived notion that now that I was a mother and an adult with responsibilities, I was no longer able to have any fun. That I would be unable to engage in activities that I like.
Take the opportunity to engage in an activity that brings you joy and to just be yourself. Put your needs ahead of all other concerns for the day. After that, the rest will fall into place by itself.
4. Open the door to enjoyment.
Do whatever it is that makes you happy—tickle your partner, dance to your favorite music while driving, dig your hands into the soil when gardening, create a mess—whatever it is that brings you joy, give in to it.
It would seem that as we mature into adults, the expectations placed on us to behave maturely and gradually eliminate all of the joy in our lives increase.
You slowly come to the conclusion that you no longer appreciate any of the things that you once did.
5. Regain control of your life.
You should make the most of the time that you have, regardless of how much time you really have. It’s OK to let your imagination go wild.
Get your hands filthy while engaging in an activity that brings you delight. Try to conjure up the feeling of what it was like to be a child again and lose yourself in an activity just because you enjoyed doing it so much.
Put away your list of things to accomplish and focus on taking care of yourself. Love wholeheartedly, open your heart, and behave like a child, and who knows? You could find that you’re starting to experience some of those feelings again.