There is a quote in the Bible that says,
“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.” (Proverbs 13:12, MSG).
There is so much truth in this quote and it always resonates with us more when we feel we have exhausted our abilities and resources to make something we want or desire, happen. In disappointing times, angst can set in after a period of hoping, praying, trying again, failing and waiting. This can become challenging and if care is not taken, this can open so many doors like anxiety, fear, discouragement, hopelessness, and depression.
Keep Hope Alive
My answer? Do whatever you need to do to keep hope alive, no matter what your circumstances present. After doing some research for my latest book, Bounce Back! How To Survive, Thrive And Maximise Challenging Lif Situations (9780992619527), I have discovered hope to be the secret ingredient to developing resilience and endurance. It’s the stuff that kept Nelson Mandela ‘free’ whilst being incarcerated for 27 years. It’s the ingredient Terry Waite CBE used to forge on despite being taken hostage in 1987 and held for 1763 days in Beirut.
Coupled with my own brushes with disappointment, I have come to the firm conclusion that where hope exists and is kept alive, it gives us a ‘why’ to keep forging on ahead and helps us bear with any ‘hows’ we might face along the way (Principle 9 of my Bounce Back Principles).
And so for me, keeping my hopes up as opposed to not expecting anything out of life (I have heard people adopt this approach to safeguard from disappointment….WRONG!) becomes a must along with my prayers, taking action and cracking on with whatever I face.
Overcoming Disappointment & Developing Resilience
Below are six key action points or strategies to keep in mind with regards to developing resilience, maintaining your hope and combating disappointment:
1. Remind yourself that God is in STILL in control. Make a mental shift and accept that life is NOT just a random collection of events, tossing you here, there and everywhere. There is a plan. and in time, it will unfold. Just hang on in there. Your job is to get clued up on the plan for your life and take action – great or small.
2. Maintain a positive inner dialogue (with yourself) and outer dialogue (with others). Don’t fall into the trap of thinking negative or self-limiting thoughts. Ok, so life threw you a curve ball, what are you going to do about it? Come up with a plan. They do say if life gives you lemons, make yourself some lemonade. All you need to do is change your approach.
3. Take a trip down memory lane and remember all the things God has done. When life happens, we tend to develop what I call ‘spiritual amnesia’ and forget all the blessings from our yesterdays and yesteryears. That old song that tells us to count our blessings and name the one by one certainly works a treat here. So, reflect on your life. It has not been all bad. Even in your darkest moments, there has been a ray of light or hope.
4. Following on from the last point, find just one reason to give thanks. Develop an attitude of gratitude, regardless of where you find yourself today. (Re)celebrate your past/present victories. I have discovered that an attitude of gratitude invokes God to action and opens the door to more opportunities and blessings.
5. Be proactive in uplifting yourself when you find yourself descending into a chasm of discouragement. Start by changing the atmosphere of your surroundings. In addition to prayer, put on some uplifting music or inspirational talks/teaching in the background. Brighten up your environment with flowers, candles or a lovely scent. Do something to get out of the depressive funk. I will let you into a little secret of mine: when I feel such encroaching, I put my dancing shoes out and dance those negative feelings away with some of my favourite music. There is nothing like a dance-a-thon in your own front room, bedroom or office to drive away those gremlins. Plus you will feel better for it, promoting your wellbeing (and burning some calories too).
6. Don’t travel the journey alone! Find someone (or even a community) trustworthy and supportive who you can open up to. This becomes integral so as to support you during the various seasons of your life. Believe me when I say there is nothing worse than trying to grapple with life’s challenges alone. You don’t have to be alone! And this is a choice you can make for yourself. Don’t let isolation creep in as it tends to bring its mates, hopelessness, disappointment, and discouragement along too. Before you know it, you are camped by a great army of ‘negativeness’.
In closing, remember we all go through various seasons in life. Some great, some not so great and some downright ugly. However, regardless of what you face, you have the power within you to change your perspective, mindsets, and feelings about the situation. Rather than letting the situation pull you down, you take charge and show it who is boss. Rise above it…..cos we are counting on you. WE NEED YOU and I am cheering and praying for you all along the way.