Mandy Kloppers

When Life is Tough


Mindfulness (Photo credit: RelaxingMusic)

No one escapes the hardships of life. It is often the wise, kind, selfless and well rounded people who have known misery, despair and have faced challenges in their life. When life is tough you have two choices-you can sink or swim. Sinking does not bear thinking about so here are tips on how to face the tough times:

1. Acceptance

When you accept that life is a series of ups and downs and that this cycle is inevitable, you can begin to see that there are natural flows in life. When life is tough, it teaches us what we are made of and they also help us to appreciate the good times. Embrace the tough times as an opportunity to expand your skills and knowledge-see it as a learning curve. Every hardship is a lesson for you to learn about life.

2. Attitude

Your attitude determines whether you will fall at the first hurdle or whether you will get up and continue regardless. When you monitor your attitude and fill the content of your mind with gratitude, positive expectancy (seeing life as an adventure, seeing each day as a gift) and possibilities the world around you offers this up.

3. Control

Knowing the difference between what you can and cannot control will save you a lot of stress in life. We often have blurred boundaries regarding what we can influence.I see many clients who try to fix issues that are beyond their control, such as other people’s behaviour. Remind yourself that the only things you are really in control of your own thoughts and behaviours. Use these wisely.

4. Self belief

There is no point in seeking validation outside of yourself. This is a precarious way to feel good about yourself. You’re not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations. Find your own unique path. Define your values and have a clear understanding of what is important to you. When you set your sights on a goal, do not allow others to dissuade you. When we allow ourselves to be ‘drowned’ in the noise and opinion of others, we can end up sinking. imagine yourself on a small canoe-the balance is great and you are floating peacefully down the river. Imagine the opinions of others as heavy loads. When you take these on board the boat gets heavier. Be safe in the knowledge that you have everything you need in your small canoe, taking on too much from others’ will lead you astray.

5. Mindfulness

The present is all we have. Life is in the here and now, not in some distant imagined future nor in what happened yesterday. Appreciate where you are right now. Focus on your breathing, take in your surroundings and be in the moment. Modern technology does not help mindfulness. How many times have you been in a public place such as a restaurant and noticed people that are on their mobile phones or iPads? This is not being mindful. Engage your senses, quieten your thoughts and try to enjoy life in the moment. When life is tough we tend to worry too much – mindfulness helps keep control of this.

6. Don’t compare

it is easy during the tough times to feel that we are alone in what we are going through. Everyone else seems to be having the time of their life whilst we feel so alone and miserable. Remember that we are all struggling in our own way. We are also conditioned to put our best foot forward, put on a fake smile and pretend that everything is fine. Many others, in fact everyone on this planet, has their ups and downs. See yourself as part of the bigger picture. We are all connected, leading parallel lives and facing difficulties on a regular basis. When you step away from denial and acknowledge what you’re going through, others will open up too. There is a lot of support out there if you want it.

I have faced many tough times over the years-health issues, separation, depression and feeling afraid. I take a philosophical approach to these experiences, try to learn from them and let them help me to be the that compassionate, kind and well rounded person.

Mandy X