Updated: Dec 2, 2020
By Dr. Bev
No doubt about it, we all have them – the highs and lows of life that make you laugh loudly or groan in anguish and seeming defeat. Life moves along in cycles, just as the planets revolve about the sun. Astrologers say the planets cast their influence on earth and all of us, making things flow seamlessly or stumble over multiple obstacles. Whatever the reason, we have them! So, let’s take a look at 10 ideas that will help you go from living in isolation, crying waterfalls of tears, or feeling hopeless to live the best version of you in a completely authentic
“Life is like a tick mark. It is stable for a time, then it takes a ditch, not because we are meant to be upset but to go higher and be better, you need to lean back and jump.” - Life
“According to your faith, it will be done to you.” - Matthew 9:29
“…I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” - Matthew 21:21
Ten insights about lows into highs
1. Life is a cycle, from down to up and down again in an endless round of change. The cycles of time create change so that we may grow and experience new aspects of our lives. We meet new people and lose some friends. We change jobs and open up to new opportunities in our careers. We move from one part of the country to another, creating new possibilities in culture, relationships, jobs, finances. We may lose an important relationship and after a period of time, find someone new who can be a fantastic intimate. The cycles are essential if we are to grow and change, if only we can keep our hearts open to what lies around us. The task for us is to keep our hearts open!
2. Things will get better. This follows on the idea of cycles. I told myself, I just have to hold on for a while and it will get better. This forced me to develop faith in myself and believe in God, that I can handle the challenge of change. Going through a divorce was the most awful experience of my life and caused immeasurable pain all around. It took some time, but eventually it became more bearable and life moved on toward new possibilities. Look ahead to the time when things WILL be better.
3. Ask yourself where’s the lesson in all this? How come I have to go through this agony of loneliness or being overwhelmed by debt beyond what I could handle? How did this happen to me, good person that I was? Gradually, I rose up from negative thinking and a self-pity party to realize that God was asking me to open up to something new. When I got over myself after the divorce, for example, I learned that I had married before I knew who I was. How could I be in relationship with someone else when I didn’t know what I valued or what my strengths were or what I wanted to do in life? So, I discovered a great lesson – we must find ourselves before we find a partner for life. Quite a lesson. Be sure to ask yourself about
the lesson involved in your low place!
4. What do I have to learn so this miserable place I’m in will end? Good question! Basically, what I had to learn was it was necessary to take the journey of self-discovery. Beliefs, values, priorities,
capabilities, relationships and more all came under scrutiny. It took years, a lot of therapy and 2 masters’ degrees on the way to a doctorate to discover myself… the good, the bad, and the ugly! What a lot of self-examination it took as well as a lot of therapy to get to a high place again. But I got there! And you can, too. What is there for you to learn?
5. What does my spirituality have to say about being in a low place? This question has special importance to true self discovery as I believe that all problems need to be handled/healed at the next higher level of existence. For example, physical problems need to be handled at the mental/emotional level. Emotional and mental problems need to be dealt with at the spiritual level, not at the same level where the issue exists. My sense of who I was in connection to God, the universe, other people and myself had to be explored before I could truly get myself out of the empty space in which I found myself. Answering thisquestion fleshed out who I was and who I was becoming. How does your spirituality inform you?
6. Which resources do I need to develop to get me through this phase in life? It’s necessary to take a cold, hard look at yourself to see what you need in order to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Other than discovering who I was, I also needed a way to increase my income since I was now single, head of household with 3 teenagers to guide and nurture. So off to school I went after 3 months of conducting research on career development so I could know what I was best suited for. I was in competition with individuals 20 years younger than I for the same jobs – and guess who got hired? Right – not me! So, I needed more education to claim my place in the workplace hierarchy. Your journey may require something different…that’s the challenge you need to work on. Which resources do you need to develop?
7. How can I change my attitude to embrace this unpleasant place? Tough question, but one that is essential to answer if you want to move forward. And I did want that. And I imagine you do, too. It was time to reflect and redirect my energies to a more fulfilling place. I realized I needed to make some choices about my life that would open me up rather than shut me down in depression. So, I began thinking about spending time with people who brought joy into my life rather than negativity. I began thinking about my career and how to spend the rest of my life doing something I loved rather than just a means to earn money. I began thinking about how I could advance myself personally and develop the side of me that was creative and spontaneous, full of laughter. I began to focus and put myself first. What do you need to do to make that happen?
8. What do I need to remember to be grateful for? This is a game changer! Discovering the ‘art of gratefulness’ is an amazing way to shift your reality from only noticing the miserable side of your life to becoming aware of all that is beautiful and joyful. I began making lists every day of all the things I was grateful for – at least 10 things every day. Sometimes it was just the beautiful blue sky! Allow yourself to be vulnerable by being grateful for all you DO have and give thanks. It liberates you from the downward spiral and lifts you up, higher than before. It unlocks your space and allows you to move away from self-pity toward authenticity and more compassionate living. Once you can be grateful for what you are experiencing as a low, you can relate to others in more profound ways. It can turn the tears
and sadness into deeper connections with others who are in pain themselves. What are you grateful for?
9. Do I need a major re-working on my life, taking a thorough examination of my core values? The answer was a resounding yes! To discover how to get from low to high, I realized I needed to become more aware of my core values which form the foundation of how we live. So, I did a little work on discovering my values by asking myself a few questions to figure this out. What motivates me to get up in the morning? What am I doing when I am at my best? Why do I live where I live? Why do I long for what I long for? (This was powerful!) Why do I admire whom I admire? Why do I have the relationships that I have? The answers connected me to my values and I firmly knew what I stood for in life and in relationships. Ask yourself these questions and then examine the answers to get at your values. What words come up the most frequently?
10. Who can I enlist to help me? I looked around at the people in my life and found too few folks who were successful in their own lives to offer much direction. I did invite advice from some family members and tried to get help from a counselor and both helped somewhat. At the time there were no such entities as life coaches who could ask the right questions and help provide a map of what I needed to do. Today, I am one of those life coaches and a counselor, an example of how a high spot in life can emerge out of pain and aimlessness. So, look around you to see who you can enlist and perhaps you will find the need for a life coach or a group who can guide you to a more meaningful life, full of sustainable highs and
“And where the ferris wheel carried its passengers high and brought them low and raised them high and brought them low again, as if it were not merely a carnival ride but also a metaphor for the basic pattern of human existence.” - Dean Koontz
If you need help finding direction and bridging the gap between your lows and highs, perhaps you might benefit from joining a free group on Zoom that is working on Life Strategies. We meet every Wednesday night from 6:30 to 7:45 in a judgement free zone that is life affirming and confidential. Email me at Bsnyder008@gmail.com and I will give you the information needed to join us. Remember the scripture at the beginning of the blog: “If you have faith and do not doubt…it will be done!”
-Dr. Bev, Coach and Counselor