We’ve all had times when giving up seemed like the easiest option. Perhaps you’re halfway through a degree you hate, your final year project feels like a complete disaster or you’re having a hard time making friends in college.
No matter what you’re going through, know that you can and will get through this. Here are some reminders to keep you going.
#1. You’ve overcome this before
Before making a decision, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Have I reached this place before? Does this feel familiar? What am I feeling hopeless about? What roadblocks am I facing? What am I doing, or not doing, that’s getting in my way? What do I need to do to move forward?”
Chances are, you’ve encountered similar situations when you felt like giving up, but didn’t. Look at where that took you and look at how much you’ve grown and accomplished since. Plus, because you’ve gotten through it before, you now know how to strategise better and how to overcome this new challenge you’re facing.
Take the time to reflect on your past experiences as it can help redirect your thoughts to something more positive. In fact, it may even open you up to answers you didn’t have earlier.
#2. This period of discomfort is only temporary
Think about a time where you had to do something you dreaded. Regardless of how you felt at that point in time, it’s only a short moment of discomfort that’s part of a larger picture. The report you’ve been procrastinating on? It will be typed to completion in a week. The group project from hell? It will be over by the end of the semester.
Try not to think of the discomfort as something that’s wearing you down; instead, embrace it. According to research, putting yourself in new and unfamiliar situations triggers a part of the brain that releases dopamine, nature’s happy chemical. All you have to do is maintain perspective. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, it means you’re progressing.
The best part is, one day you’ll look back at what almost broke you and you’ll see how you’ve grown stronger, how much you’ve overcome and that it’s no longer an uncomfortable thing.
#3. Comparison is an act of violence against yourself
Are you beating yourself up because your peers are progressing at a quicker pace than you are? Perhaps you’re not at a place where you thought you would be. Whatever the reason is, you’re doing yourself and your growth a great injustice by comparing yourself to others.
If you’re caught in this rut, consider taking this moment to go back to your own future aspirations. Stay focused on your end goal and keep up your daily action plans to achieve it. If you find yourself feeling envy or resentment, ask yourself what is driving those feelings. Instead of feeling shame or guilt about your progress, look at others as inspiration to do better but at your own pace. The trick is to find peace and contentment in your own imperfect existence.
It’s also important to take into account that no one person shares the same journey. Who knows, others may be at an advantage with certain privileges like financial support, knowing the right people or having the right qualifications. Comparing yourself to others who started ahead is an act of cruelty to your authentic self. Instead, focus on your own path, how you got there and what needs to be done to reach your goal.
#4. You’re never alone
It’s natural to think that your struggles and challenges are unique to you. Whether you’re finding it difficult to keep up with your assignments, struggling with a particular subject or just having a hard time in general, chances are there’s at least one other person who is experiencing the same thing. Recognising this is crucial so that you do not put too much pressure on yourself.
If you feel like it’s too much for you to handle alone, you can always reach out for help. Confide in a close friend or someone you think may have gone through this before. Sometimes, just talking things out can provide you with a new perspective. At the very least, you would have let out your frustrations and negative emotions, which can provide you with some relief.
If you’re still stuck, try seeking professional help and get the support you need. There are plenty of resources that can help you figure out how to move forward.
Hurdles and challenges are just part and parcel of life. You may feel discouraged and experience moments of self-doubt, but with courage, patience and being a little kinder to your progress, your breakdown will eventually turn into a breakthrough.