Keep moving! — Lionesses of Africa

by Nontobeko Mbuyane

Most of us will experience hard choices, stressful events and difficult situations that will impact us in one way or another for the rest of our lives. Hard times happen and they teach us lessons, make us stronger, and give us a deeper sense of self. After all, would sitting in the sun mean as much if you hadn’t experienced the storm first? Elizabeth Taylor once said: “You just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other, and darn it, you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about the business of living. That’s how I’ve done it. There’s no other way.”

Everyone has been through stormy seasons in their lives, sadly some are deep in those seasons even today. It’s sometimes so dark you even think your life will never see light again, your situation has got the better of you to the point that you see no way out. You have even got to the point of thinking God does not know or love you at all, you are alive simply because you are breathing, but your spirit is now dead and buried in deep pain and hurt inside your soul. I am not writing this to lie to you and say it’s easy, I know it never is, but all I know is that no season prevails forever. As long as you are still alive you have a chance to see things or the situation change for the better. With all that you have been going through or are going through, the stress alone could have killed you, but it hasn’t. That is a sign of better days ahead, just keep strong!

Emotional Decisions

I might not know what struggles you are facing but the countless demanding decisions you have made could have pulled you under, but they haven’t. All the emotions and, at times, overwhelming depression might have taken you out too, but they didn’t. You keep living, keep moving forward, one step, one day, and one situation at a time. Just continue to confront your struggles head on. We sometimes want to bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is fine, as if these bad things aren’t happening to us. We try to numb ourselves from the pain and reality of the situation. I know I do the play out your fears about a situation, I actually have been doing this for some time now. But eventually, you have to face it head on. There is no other way. There will be times of great heartache when you are forced to make life-altering decisions in which your mind and emotions will play opposing roles. Sometimes you need to make logical, sound decisions based on the facts available to you at the time. Emotional decisions are the hardest ones but never at any point discount your emotions. Just realize it’s a process, and the process takes time. Nothing will happen right away. It will take time, and you will travel from one emotion to another and then back again. And it takes as long as it takes. These things cannot be rushed. Also, we have to remember to take it easy on ourselves throughout the process. It is allowed that you kick, scream, get your groove on, and then get spiritual with it. Also do realize that it’s okay to be angry. Find constructive, creative ways to let your feelings flow out of you. Dig down deep and take a look inside yourself for what you believe. Whatever higher power, spiritual path, or religious belief gives your soul comfort, whether it’s at home, out in nature, in a church, surrounded by loved ones or in solitude.

Interpersonal Relationships

With any given situation, play out the scenarios and then ask yourself, “and then what?” What will I do if this happens next? Keep asking what you’ll do next, how you’ll continue moving forward. This will move you from a fearful, stuck mindset into a more active, productive mindset. Play out your fears about a situation. Try and envision that situation in your mind and see how you can even defeat your fears. Also don’t feel too bad when during such a time you feel alone or feel rejected by the people you thought will always have your back during tough times. Accept that not everyone will have your back. This may be the hardest lesson to learn. You might get to find out that some people keep their distance from you, disconnect from you, disappear, or even take advantage and kick you when are down. Surprisingly, these are often people you thought you could count on the most. Still, others will not only step up, but they will hold you up through the worst of it. While this can be an incredibly painful lesson, I believe it is a very necessary one. Interpersonal relationships, like life, are fluid. People will come and go. Some people are around to play with us in the sun, while others will weather through storms and seasons with us. I don’t think it’s meant for us to know who’s who ahead of time, only that this is a fact of life and that you will be okay. Maybe this also teaches us to be more grateful for each relationship, past and present, good, and bad. Some of these people will be your greatest teachers in life, whether you or they know it or not. The best lesson I learned is that you have to keep your focus on the people who stick around instead of the ones who run.

Change your perspective

I now choose to believe that hardship is meant to knock us on course, not the other way round. Focus on looking at the situation differently. I can say from my experience, you often have to find humor in the small things. This helps get you through each day. Look forward to the sunshine. After every storm there is calm, and then the sun shines. If you keep remembering that you will make it through. Give yourself the opportunity to feel and process every thought and emotion. This is what the experience calls for. We all know what happens if we bypass or bury our emotions. We must allow the process to happen and give ourselves the space and time to feel everything. Eventually, hopefully, we find ourselves grateful for those hard times, which in turn may make us appreciate the good times even more. All in all, whatever it is you are going through today, JUST KEEP MOVING!

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