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In a Slump?

Your Bad Times are Not "Bad"

We don't have enough appreciation for the difficult moments in life & their capacity -- scratch that -- necessity in helping us grow.

When you're in a slump, whether physically or emotionally, you most likely feel incredibly anxious to get back to baseline, to get back to "normal." You're taught to think that there's something wrong with you if you're upset, or feeling blue, or working through a physical downturn. You're taught to feel almost shameful and that you should be in a rush to fix things so you can be happy again.

So you fight against your bad times. You push the feelings down. You feel sorry for yourself. You numb. You'd rather hide in food, Netflix, shopping, alcohol, drugs, busyness than face the uncomfortable feeling of not being at your best. All the while you carry around this panic inside that things aren't working out for you despite all your best efforts:

I'm trying so hard...why can't I get back on track? Why am I still injured/depressed/lethargic/gaining weight/weak/timid/indifferent?

What's wrong with me?!

Usually when I use the word "fight" it's in a positive in fighting to find your worth and power. But this is something you don't want to fight. This is something you actually want to embrace. If you want to learn how to use life's difficult moments as something more than just a cause for pain & suffering, you have to embrace them for what they are -- opportunities to shift.

These low times are just as important as the happy ones. They have so much potential to teach you things, to give you a different perspective on your life, to help you adjust your course. But you're so busy running away from them, pretending like they don't exist, covering them up, or being too afraid to go deep enough into them to learn anything.

Make no mistake, these difficult times are the moments that shift you. They allow you to pause from the usual rat race and give you cause for reflection -- a chance to evaluate where you are on your path, whether you're traveling where you actually want to go, and what you need to move in the right direction. In other words, they help you see the things you need to change in order to be a better version of yourself and lead a more fulfilling life. Sounds pretty useful to me.

But be careful...there's a difference between wallowing in the pain and going into it. Embracing your low moments is not an excuse to become a victim, feel sorry for yourself, and use your suffering to define your ego. You must have the intent of going into your pain to discover something about yourself. This requires a certain curiosity and awareness over shaping your life & owning your choices. This requires a confidence that only you have the power to create change and direct your life. This requires you to shamelessly seek out what isn't working, adjust it, and then move baby step at a time.

Instead of wasting your energy fearing your bad days and anxiously trying to get back to normal, try moving forward instead...into unexplored territory. Whether it's a physical slump from an injury or the normal wear & tear of life that has worn you down...or an emotional slump you find yourself in, don't run from the pain -- dive into it. Instead of ignoring it or being unconscious in it -- use it. Embrace it for what it is. Stop thinking there's something wrong with you for feeling sad, depressed, or blue. Instead, start trying to discover the way out.

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Photo credit: Steve Vaccariello