Most of us will experience a low point in life, where we’ve become lost and have wandered off of our path. It can be scary and depressing, and this feeling can cause many people to lose hope and become disconnected from the love of the universe.
There are many reasons one may find themselves in the darkness, and some of them are certainly very serious. Many people suffer from abuse, addiction, or dysfunctional relationships. Others have lost a job, experienced bankruptcy, had a serious illness or endured the death of a loved one. These are just a few examples, there are many more out there.
When you are feeling lost, here are 5 steps you can take to find your way through the darkness and back into the light. Depending on the circumstance, these strategies can be interpreted in different ways-so if you are looking at this list for yourself, observe it through the lens of your particular situation.
1. Stop staring at what is:
When we are lost, we often spend a great deal of time focusing on what’s wrong. We think about the problems in our relationships, our illnesses, the jobs we don’t like and the traits about ourselves that displease us.
One way to find our way back into the light is to stop staring into the darkness. There are things that all of us don’t like about life, but to be happy and connected we must choose not to fixate on them for too long.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about a bad situation, so don’t beat yourself up for reacting the way you’ve reacted. Allow yourself to feel how you feel, but once you’ve gotten dragged down far enough it’s time to make the choice to distract yourself from what’s wrong.
The more you think about the problem, the worse you will feel and the worse your situation will get.
2. Look for the good to get back into the light:
In addition to looking away from the darkness, start to look for the light! Stretch yourself to find the things in your life that are pleasing. They could be big things (like family) or small things (like your comfortable bed).
The more we get into the habit of appreciating the things that are good in our lives, the more good things will come to us, and we’ll start to see the sun peek out from the clouds.
3. Take responsibility for where you are:
This is a big one, and it can be a challenging step for some people. Taking responsibility for our lives is key if we want to have better ones. How can we trust that we have the power to create great lives for ourselves if we believe that everything that happens to us is someone else’s fault?
At the end of the day, our lives are a culmination of the decisions that we ourselves have made. We’ve made some mistakes, and sometimes we’ve allowed outside circumstances affect to our lives in negative ways. We’ve also made good decisions and made the best of some situations, and it’s important to give ourselves credit for these things to.
Instead of pointing the finger at the things that are outside of our control, turning the finger on ourselves to handle the situation in the best way we can will empower us. By blaming other people and situations for our sadness, we only keep ourselves stuck in the darkness.
To be clear, when bad things happen-it’s ok to feel sad for a while. There’s nothing wrong with getting upset about upsetting circumstances. Taking responsibility doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to get upset, it simply means that you know that your emotions and your reactions are your choice. It means that you know it’s up to you to turn your emotions around when you are ready to move on.
4. Forgive to find your way through the darkness:
This item goes hand-in-hand with the last. Forgiveness is key.
It’s impossible to move into the all-accepting and all-loving light when we continue to be angry about the things that happened in our past. Some of us are angry at other people or situations, and some of us are angry at ourselves. Regardless of where the anger is directed, it’s best to forgive if we want to move back into the light.
Forgiveness, when all is said and done, isn’t really about making what happened “ok,” it’s about making the choice that you’re no longer going to let it control your life. As the famous quote from Buddha states “holding on to anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die.”
Let go of your anger and forgive, not for anyone else and not because it makes what happened “ok”-but for the sake of your own well-being.
5. Take care of yourself and handle your business:
Clean your house, put yourself together, eat healthfully and treat yourself a little.
Our distress can often be amplified when we allow it to manifest into a more chaotic experience than it initially was. When we are in a dark place, we often let a lot of things go. Then, we find that we aren’t just upset about what originally was bothering us, but we’re now also upset because our house is dirty, our bills are unpaid and/or we look haggard and unkempt.
Picking ourselves up when we are down by cleaning, staying on top of our business and taking care of our health and appearance will give us enough of a lift to start to turn our emotions around. Bad things will happen to all of us from time to time, but if we want to get back into the light we can’t let a little negative energy come in and destroy everything in our lives.
It’s normal for all of us to feel a little lost from time to time. Unfortunate things do happen in life. There are breakups, there is dysfunction, there are lost jobs, addictions and even deaths. These things will happen to many of us.
However, we have the ability to pull ourselves out of the darkness. This might feel a little daunting at first, but it’s actually a really good thing. It means that we are extremely powerful and that we have the choice to direct our lives the way we want to.
It’s up to us to decide when it’s time to get back into the light. No one else can do it for us.