Mind & Heart Development

Techniques That Can Help You Survive Life’s Worst Moments


Step 1: Slap yourself in the face. Hard, preferably. Because if a slap in the face seems too painful to consider, then whatever problem you’re dealing with right now is really not that big of a problem. You’re likely just milking it for attention or the chance to feel sorry for yourself.

It’s only when you’re truly wallowing in the depths of pain and failure that you think, “Hah! Slap myself in the face? That’s nothing compared to my problem. Watch, I’ll do it three times.”

So either slap yourself or shut your mouth and get on with your life.

Step 2: Don’t compare your suffering to others. No, it doesn’t matter if your brother had something twice as bad happen to him last year. It doesn’t matter if your cousin got hit by a car and never complained about it.

You don’t actually know these things, so you don’t get to compare yourself to these things.

We all feel things slightly differently. Therefore we all suffer slightly differently. Stop measuring how much of a right you have to feel bad and just let yourself feel bad.

Step 3: Identify the feeling. What is it? Anger? Grief? Jealousy? Sadness? Despair?

Step 4: Don’t repress it. Repressing negative emotions kills you.1, 2 That’s kind of literal. That means if someone close to you asks, “How are things?” You respond with, “I feel like dog shit,” not with, “Oh, I’m greeeeeeat,” and then run away to cry into your cereal bowl and wonder why nobody in the world cares about you.

Speaking of which…

Step 5: Go ahead and cry if you need to. No shame. It’s healthy.3 We all need to cry sometimes.

Step 6: Seriously. Don’t worry. I won’t make fun of you. I promise.

Step 7: See, doesn’t that feel nice? You want some tissues? A hug maybe?

Step 8: Solicit Mark for a free hug. There may be some logistical issues involved, but whatever. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Step 9: Blame somebody else for all of your pain. Now that you’ve cried it out, let’s get to what’s really important: whose fault is this? Who is the idiot here? Figure out who that person is ASAP so we can lynch the bastard.

Step 10: Once you’ve figured out who to blame, immediately forgive that person. No matter how hard it is.4

Step 11: Identify what you could have done better. Maybe what happened to you wasn’t your fault, but that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t have handled it better. What did you mess up? What do you wish you could go back and change?

Step 12: Immediately forgive yourself too. We all could be better.5

Step 13: Understand that life has costs. Anything good in life requires some sort of risk or sacrifice. No exceptions. None of us make it through life without a few scars.

Step 14: Understand that pain, no matter how deep, eventually passes. Nothing lasts. It will eventually get better.

Step 15: Understand that at the bottom of every shithole there’s buried gold. Stop trying to climb out and start looking for it.

Step 16: Tell somebody close to you how you feel. Expect nothing from them in return. If they don’t hug you, I will.

Step 17: Tell them “I’ll Be OK” even if you don’t believe it yet. Because you’re right, you will be OK. Even if you’re dying, you will be OK.

Step 18: If you have nobody to tell how you feel, then talk to a therapist or a support group. There’s a support group for practically everything these days. Maybe go to one even if you do have somebody to talk to.

Step 19: If you’re nervous about the whole therapist/support group thing, print out copies of this picture of a dog in a taco suit and show it to everybody when you arrive.

Step 20: OK, you don’t have to do that. But it’s funny to think about.

Step 21: Promise yourself that you’ll do something nice for somebody less fortunate than you. Nothing makes us happier than when we make others happy.6 Donate to a charity. Give someone a gift. Buy a homeless man a haircut.

Step 22: Then actually go do it.

Step 23: Don’t tell anybody you did it. Don’t take a selfie of you and the homeless man and his new haircut and post it on Facebook. Keep it as your own special secret.

Step 24: Don’t be afraid to be alone sometimes. Become your own best friend.

Step 25: Come up with three life lessons from this shitty situation. This is the hard work. This is the unfun stuff. It’s so much easier to hop online and blame someone and post angry comments on Reddit and YouTube. But this is the most important step. So take it seriously.

What can this horrible experience teach you? How can you use it to make something better of yourself? Come up with three ways. Write them down if you need to.

Step 26: Promise yourself that you’ll take advantage of these lessons and be better next time.

Step 27: Tell yourself that it’s actually good that this god awful thing happened to you and that maybe you will be grateful for it one day.

Step 28: Then realize that you’re probably lying to yourself. Sometimes things just suck.

Step 29: Refrain from stabbing somebody, including yourself. This one is important.7

Step 30: Understand that most things in life are both good and bad at the same time. What changes is our perspective.

See more at: 63 Steps to Survive The Worst Moments of Your Life

Photo credit: indii.org / Lawrence Murray / VisualHunt / CC BY

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