Processing Pain: 10 Healthy Ways To Turn Your Struggles Into Success

by Joshua Eferighe

They say the only two things you can count on in life are death and taxes, but I think there are many people who, between the W2s and funerals, would challenge that notion.

We all are forced to regularly surmount constant adversities that are sometimes due to our poor judgments and other times are not. Although we may not have control of when hardship hits, we do have control over how it affects us.

Difficulties will always arise, but the true measure of an individual’s character is how he or she comes back from the adversity and struggles.

Grades happen. Moving happens. Death happens. Life happens. When things happen, it's almost always unexpected and hard. So, here are 10 ways to make the best lemonade you’ve ever had:

1. Nobody’s Perfect

Perfection is a myth, and anyone who claims to always get it right has no grasp on life at all. We cannot register every fault, poor decision or folly as an end all because it’s not – it’s but a hiccup.

We will all inevitably fail. We must look at life as one, great big learning curve that never ends.

Only when we are dead will we stop learning and stop failing. So, until we are buried six feet under the dirt, we must understand that valleys are as much a part of reaching the mountain top as the assent is.

Once we come to grips with the reality that the lows are temporary, we will be able to shift our mindsets to rising above rather than dwelling below.

2. Down But Not Out

Do not accept defeat. No matter what has happened, the worst option you have is to throw in the towel. We have one life, meaning one chance to chase the dreams we are given.

So, we have to assess whether or not the problem in front of us is big enough to blow that one chance away. It’s okay to be down; we all fall. Just make sure you get up even stronger.

3. Turn Frustration Into Motivation

When it rains it pours, if we let it. Just because things are not how we intended for them to be doesn’t mean they must continue that way.

The difficulties hardships bring undoubtedly bring dark clouds that hover over our lives, affecting our moods and outlooks on life. This is why it’s imperative that we use frustration to motivate us to overcome.

Whatever circumstance you face can easily be used as a catapult rather than a weight. Take what’s not going in your favor and use it as a spark plug to fuel your drive forward.

Often, we deserve better than what we have and proving this to ourselves can be just the motivation we need.

4. Good Vibes Only

Negativity is a cancer. It is a boa constrictor that sucks all the life from you and everyone around.

Keep positivity around you, at all costs. This not only restores a healthy mind, but it also helps to attract positivity.

Small things, such as a giving a stranger a friendly smile, paying for the person’s coffee behind you and letting a car through incoming traffic, can give you unexpected joy — even in the most troubling times.

Deciding to be more positive will be evident in what you do and how you feel.

That’s why, in order to be successful in times of struggle, good energy has to be mandatory for who you are around, as well as what you say and do. If you are around people who complain and focus on what’s bad, it won’t help you shift out of that mind frame at all.

Focus on what is good. When you appreciate what you do have and what is working for you, the rest will work itself out.

5. Change

Albert Einstein famously stated, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The Nobel Prize-winning college dropout was right: We must change our approach to every dead end.

Sometimes, when we get into compromising situations, our first reaction is to blame everyone but ourselves.

While at times, the struggles we face may not be directly our fault, they may be an indication that we should change our surroundings, friend groups and even mindset in order to ensure that such mishaps do not occur again.

Change is scary. It’s hard work and requires effort. We are creatures of habit, which is why making new ones is such a task.

But, if we want to succeed in areas of our lives at which we've previously failed, we must take a step back to observe and make adjustments; anything else would be insane.

6. Plan. Plan. Plan.

Once you’ve made up your mind to change your circumstances, the first step is to plan accordingly.

Set goals and benchmarks of where you would like to see yourself: the habits you think you need to drop, people you feel you need to cut off and places you would like to yourself. Be realistic and manage your expectations.

Without a vision, you are blind. So, write down all the things that are making your current state unsatisfactory, then make the necessary adjustments to get there.

7. Baby Steps Are Key

We often become discouraged because we grow impatient due to impending results. It is important to remain focused and remember that anything worth obtaining takes time.

We must give ourselves time to adjust when shifting to a new way of thinking and handling ourselves. The hardest part is admitting that we should try a different approach when met with failures in life, so an adjustment period is quite okay.

Don't look too far ahead and focus one day at a time.

8. Stay The Course

Patience has to be some ancient Jedi skill to master. It requires the most work and the most hope. When we do everything we are supposed to do, it can still appear as though we have made no progress at all.

When down and out, it is important that we trust in the discipline we are putting in rather than the immediate results we may not see. Staying the course will lead us to the other side of the tunnel.

No matter if the walk is dark the entire way, don’t turn around because the light may be right on the other side.

9. Be accountable

There are no excuses. Life doesn't pity your circumstances or bend to your complaints.

Be consistent on your word to yourself and for yourself. And, take pride in the wins, no matter how small they may be.

10. Don't look back

Relapsing into old habits can definitely be a problem and also hinder whatever progress you have made.

Whether retreating back into an unhealthy relationship, picking up old vices or throwing away all budgeting techniques you’ve learned, we must keep our eyes forward and try our best to continue the progress we’ve made.

When you finally find peace with your past, what went wrong and what you did or didn't do, it is then your job to leave it there. Give yourself a clean slate, relish in that clean slate and leave the past in the past.