When things aren't going your way
There are times in our lives that we wonder why things are not going our way. Perhaps like a reverse of the Bing Crosby film “Going My Way”. In some cases it may be that there seems no light to lead the way ahead. A dark night during days of living can be a great burden and can lead us to think that there will never be light again.
This may be all too true or it could simply be a particular situation. It may be simply that from another perspective things are all right, and just time needed to change the problem. Or it could be that really there is a difficulty in what you are living and something needs to be done about it. What we should do is avoid thinking the road leads to nowhere. There is no such thing. We have to see that there is a road we are on and it is how we deal with the walk on it that changes the perspective. It could be that you are at this moment simply crawling through something that makes this unbearable, but all things pass.
What we can do is to look at where we are and re-assess the current situation, where we were some time ago. Perhaps looking at who we were or where we have been can allow us to see that we have come a long way, we are not the same people we were a year ago, or two years ago, etc. Even in what seems a dark place at the moment there may be something positive but we are “blinded” to it. Not everything is as dark as we may perceive it, because that is what it is … a perception. Let the moment settle and wait to see the better light coming by not anticipating it. There may very well be a positive in the situation but unless it is pointed out by another whom we trust, we might never see it.
So we need to begin somewhere. We need to sit and take stock of the good that we have, the things and people who are important and who help in our lives, even in a small or limited way. Maybe the lady who sells the morning paper who smiles as you are waiting for the bus. That smile, the act of smiling back has to make a small change in the mind and the heart. Start in places like that. If you are sitting on the train and notice the one next to you is reading over your shoulder your newspaper or book, perhaps share it. Everyone searches for contact (you can read something of this in my earlier blog posts) and someone else might be in a spot worse off than you or me. Come to the realisation that we are not alone. That our experiences are not completely unique though lived by each of us. Phenomenology is a fascinating study should anyone want to understand experiences of others which may in turn help us to see that we are not alone when when things are not going our way.
Something all of us can do is set goals, reasonable goals. These might be for the short or long term. Businesses know that goals and business plans are essential in order to remain focussed and see that there is growth and improvement. When the plan is not working it is revised. This could be a simple way for us to see that we are not down a dark hole, but are really on a road towards a goal and the light. Be aware that we can and should set some goals so that we can see when we have reached them and set new ones. When we have none we seem to flop about like fish on dry land without the ability to move forward. Ludwig Wittgenstein said: “A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push”
Take some initial steps. Begin with a new beginning if necessary.
Make a limited plan, prepare some ideas, write them on paper or in a note in a mobile app so they are not lost.
List your abilities and gifts.
Find someone you can confide in about the current situation and your ideas for change or progress.
Be ready for change should it be necessary.
Listen to good, objective advice.
Find inspiration in talks or books.
I write this as neutral as possible because not everyone reading this will come from the same background, but some things are likely to be common to all of us whether from a faith background or not. I find inspiration in the written works of saints and the Bible and some of what people tweet or blog. I like listening to people like Jerry Banfield and the Franciscans of the Immaculate (both available in YouTube), learning something new always lifts me (and can be as simply as what type of pen is a better choice). There are days we are not going to feel good and we are not going to think it is all going our way. Just know that when things aren’t going your way, there is likely a way out, a better state coming. Just be patient.
This is a portion of what St Theresa of Avila wrote in her Breviary and is worth keeping close when we feel things aren’t right or going the way we would like:
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing…