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Oct 11, 2018

Remember These 12 Important Things When You Feel Like Giving Up

Once upon a time, a young man and woman met, gazed into each other’s eyes, kissed, and knew for certain that they were supposed to be together forever. In the subsequent days, weeks and months everything fell into place just as they had anticipated. He was perfect in her eyes, and she was perfect in his.
Oh, it’s the majestic harmony of young love! When two souls who barely know each other believe they know everything that they must know to live happily ever after in their own blissful bubble. They think this way because it’s what their emotional hearts and minds tell them is true at the moment.
But you know what happens next. It’s what always happens next in contrived fairy tales like this. For one reason or another, logic trumps emotion, their bubble bursts, and the two lovers tumble back down to Earth, bruising themselves along the way and realizing that their perfect, easygoing partner isn’t so perfect or easygoing after all.
Maybe he learns that she doesn’t like to dance, and dancing is extremely important to him. Maybe she learns that he never makes the bed, and making the bed is extremely important to her. Regardless of the specifics, our lovers are finally beginning to see each other for who they really are—imperfect human beings. This is the turning point at which “falling in love” ends and the real work and test of true love begins.
Either their mindset adjusts and they accept reality—that true love isn’t so much about ease and perfection as it is about growth and patience—or they give up and move on to the next short-term fairy tale romance in hopes of finding that one easygoing, perfect soul mate who does everything just right.

Why am I telling you this story?
Because the fluctuating feelings that steer our romantic relationships are quite similar to those that steer our motivation to make a meaningful impact in our lives, and thus a meaningful impact in the world. A little passion is all that’s required to start, but only sustained perseverance makes it worthwhile.
Sure, short powerful bursts of effort and seemingly giant leaps in a single bound appear to be remarkable. But they fade as fast as they arrive, and all we’re left with in the end is an unfulfilled void, an empty promise.
An enduring dedication—fulfilling promises by marching forward with one foot in front of the other, even when the going gets tough, and even when it would be much easier to give up—is what true love is all about. And it’s this kind of love, and only this kind of love, that can make the world a better place, and us stronger, healthier, and happier human beings in the long run.

A real-life, heart-wrenching example…

“I’m dying of Leukemia at age 23. I was sent home from the hospital for my final few weeks 156 days ago. But now I’m back at the hospital being treated again. My doctors now believe there is hope. And I just want to thank you and Angel, because your Getting Back to Happy course has been my single source of guidance and inspiration on the absolute hardest, loneliest nights.”
That’s the opening paragraph of an email Angel and I received recently from a course student named Susan (I’m sharing this with permission). Susan’s words continue to remind me that harsh circumstances will occasionally break us down to the lowest of lows. But if we keep our minds focused on the positive, our hearts open to love, and continue to put one foot in front of the other, we can recover the pieces, rebuild, and fight back with more strength and determination than we ever imagined possible.
Susan has literally been fighting against all odds, and gradually overcoming them! It has been incredible to witness her progress firsthand through our phone and email communication. Day by day, she has emotionally freed herself from some of the ideals that once meant a lot to her—like not being ill—so she can move beyond them and the pain they bring. This has ultimately contributed to the progress she’s made and the renewed hope her doctors now have.

Think about how this relates to the “enduring dedication” I mentioned in the first story above.
And, think about how it relates to YOUR life…
Your response is always more powerful than your circumstance. A tiny part of your life is decided by completely uncontrollable circumstances, while the vast majority of your life is decided by your responses.
The goal isn’t to get rid of all your painful thoughts, feelings, and life circumstances. That’s impossible. The goal is to follow in Susan’s footsteps, and change your response to them today!
It’s never too late. Just decide to make the best of it. No excuses. No resistance. No giving up. No regrets.
And when the going gets really tough…
…remind yourself:

1. There is a massive difference between ‘I give up’ and ‘I’ll try again’, make your choice wisely.

We are all going to experience a time in our lives when we question whether we can continue to keep pushing forward. You can’t control what’s happening at that moment, we all face challenges, but you can control how you choose to react to it. Rather than throwing in the towel, brush yourself off and give it another try. You may be one more attempt away from all your goals and dreams, wouldn’t it be a shame to throw it all away when you’re so close?

2. Positive thinking doesn’t mean denying the existence of negativity in the world.

This is a common misconception, but an important one to understand. When someone is telling you to think positively, they don’t actually expect you to deny that there is any negativity in this world. Instead, it involves recognizing the negativity in the world and then choosing to push past it. You can’t overcome if you don’t first acknowledge its existence.

3. Life is an ever-changing journey of highs and lows.

If you are currently going through a time of struggle, feeling as though everything you once held dear is falling apart, rest assured that this is time will pass. Life is a journey, filled with incredible highs and life-altering lows. The one thing that is true throughout it all, however, is that we are always moving forward. If you are in a dark stage of your life now, the light is waiting just around the next corner. Just keep moving forward and you will find it.

4. There is no point in worrying about that which is yet to come.

Too many people spend their lives wrapped up in anxiety about the future, but at this present time, the life before us is still out of our hands. You can’t change tomorrow and worrying isn’t going to make a difference. So why accept this negative form of thinking? Instead, focus your time and energy on the only time that you can change, today. This very moment in time. Learn to appreciate the little details, opening your eyes to the many great things around you.

5. Just a little extra effort can make all the difference.

If you feel stuck in your career, take a look at someone who is succeeding. Have you ever wondered what’s different between the two of you? It all comes down to the little extra effort they are willing to put into everything that they do. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but don’t settle for ‘good enough’ when you know you can do better.

6. – The toughest times build the strongest people.

This may sound like some cheesy saying designed to downplay your struggles, there is some truth to this. When you are going through challenges in life, it will force you to get in touch with a side of yourself you may not otherwise be familiar with. You discover your inner strength, your resilience, your problem-solving skills and more. Someone who is aware of these traits is far more successful, as they are able to then use them in their efforts to overcome life’s struggles.

7. – Courage and strength aren’t always bold and loud.

We all know that person, the one who screams strength and bravery, able to overcome anything that life throws their way, and to do so while holding their head high, a fire in their eyes. Don’t let this fool you, however, there are plenty of others in this life that exhibit strength and courage each and every day, they just aren’t as obvious. Courage may manifest as the little choices you make each day, the baby steps in the right direction. Or simply finding the strength to get up and get out of bed each morning. Never downplay your courage.

8. – You control your thoughts and your focus in this life.

If you find yourself completely preoccupied with negative thinking, you don’t have to feel powerless. In fact, there is only one person who has control over your thoughts, and that’s you. Happiness is a choice. You don’t have to engage in the stress and toxic energy of the world around you. Instead, choose to focus your attention on your accomplishments, where you are going and the many great things along the way. There is no greater stress relief.

9. You don’t have to engage in every drama that you encounter in life.

The world that we live in is filled with drama, most of it completely petty and unnecessary. However, there are those who feed off this toxic energy and for that reason, you will encounter this drama every day of your life. This is where the choice is yours – will you engage in this drama, or move past it and spare yourself the trouble? There will be situations that require your attention but learn to pick your battles.

10. Give yourself permission to experience joy in this life.

It’s time for a little tough love. If you feel as though there is something standing between you and your happiness, preventing you from enjoying all that this life has to offer, this may be true. However, the barrier that is keeping you from happiness may not be what you expect. Take a long, hard look at your life, because that barrier may actually be you. There is no justifiable reason to deny yourself joy, so, it’s time to let go. Focus on the reasons you have to be happy, not the negativity around you. Most importantly, give yourself permission to embrace this happiness.

11. Love is the real power that makes this world go ‘round.

When we look at the way our world operates, and the ultimate quest for success and happiness, there are many aspects of life people point to as ‘the secret’. You may find yourself focused on fame or fortune or measuring success by the size of your house or the car you drive. However, the true secret to happiness and success is love. The love of others, a love for what you do and a love for the destination that you are working towards. If this is missing, it’s time to step back and listen to your heart.

12. Every relationship is going to have its tough times.

If you are currently struggling in a relationship, whether it’s a romantic connection, a friendship or the relationship you share with a family member, you don’t have to allow this to define you. In fact, every relationship will see tough times. Every pair will fight. If not, then one (or both) of you is holding back and failing to be honest. These disagreements may be rough at the time, but our connection is stronger on the other side.

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