Life gets rough for everyone at one time or another.
So what is the difference between the people who not only recover from the bad patch but actually end up better for it?
The answer is this: the people who can reframe the situation and put into proper perspective. And this usually means changing the negatives into positives.
Here are seven things you need to remember if you are going through hard times.
Things to Remember When Life Gets You Down
1. It’s not a problem, it’s a learning opportunity.
“It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem” is one of the main mottos I try to live by. Otherwise, it’s just a learning opportunity. Or, it could be a blessing in disguise.
There was a time when I was let go from a job out of college. It was a horrible job, and they had to make some cuts. The fact that they chose to cut me could have been a blow to my ego. But it wasn’t. I just figured that this will just lead me to better things.
It taught me not to settle (because yes, I was “settling” for the job – and I hated it but I just wanted some resume material). This experience taught me not to settle. And the fact that it happened ultimately put me on the path to my current career, which I adore.
2. You are not a victim.
Many people think that life happens “to” them. But it is important to remember that we are all active creators in our lives.
Sure, there are some things we cannot control. However, even if you can’t control some of the negative things in your life, you can still control how you think about what is happening to you. Refer back to #1 in if you need a reminder.
3. Accept “what is.”
Your boss is a jerk. Your spouse works too late. Your child broke their foot. There is nothing you can really do about these things besides look for another job, talk to your spouse about coming home earlier, and wait until your kid’s foot is healed.
Beyond that, all you can do is accept things and not put more negative mental energy into what you cannot change.
Related: The Power of Positive Thinking
4. Don’t worry about what other people think.
Maybe you lost your job and you think that your family is judging you for it. Or perhaps you have unexplained weight gain, and you are worried that people are calling you fat behind your back.
Like I said previously, adding more negative energy in the form of worry isn’t going to help your situation.
So do what you need to do, and don’t worry about other people’s opinions.
5. Your past doesn’t equal your future.
Just because you haven’t gotten where you want to be yet doesn’t mean that you won’t get there eventually.
Remember, some of the richest and/or happiest people in the world have very rough backgrounds – like Oprah. If she identified herself as who she was in the past (poor, sexually abused, etc.) then she never would be the person she is today.
Related: 11 Ways To Be Mentally Tough
6. Things will change when you take action.
You just can’t sit around and mope. You have to get out there and do something! I know too many people who are “chronic complainers.” They love to go off on their soap operas about what is wrong in their lives. But yet they never do anything to change it.
Don’t be one of those people. Positive change begins with action.
7. Be grateful for what you do have.
Science has proven that our thoughts have real vibrations. The emotions of love and appreciation have a very high vibration, which attracts good things into your life. So you need to get off the “poor me” cycle of complaint, fear, and worry. Instead, focus on what is going right in your life.
Even if it is the fact that you are healthy, have food on the table and a roof over your head. If you can say this, then you still have it better than most of the people in the world.
Related: How to Attract Your Goals To You
Above all, remember this quote: “And this too shall pass.” In other words, nothing is permanent. Life is about change, so take control of the situation by using positive mental energy and also taking action. Once you do, you will pull yourself out of these rough times before you know it.
Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University. She is also a motivational expert on the TV show ‘Living Dayton,’ the co-host of a popular radio show, video expert for eHow.com, frequent keynote speaker, and the author of several books.
Photo by David Salafia
Originally published 3/2014 and updated 11/2014.