When Nothing Works

Can I just say that all of this being conscious and mindful and taking ownership of our lives is really fucking hard sometimes? Maybe even most times?

I’m not saying there’s never any ease or joy, but sometimes I find myself in a hellish season and it feels like it’s never going to let up.

Being online in those times can be excruciating. There’s no end to the posts and updates and suggestions and sales pitches that say, “Here’s what you need!” and, “Just do this and you’ll feel better!”

If reading those things help you, that’s fantastic – you’re getting what you need.

But if reading them makes you want to gouge your eyes out or burn down the entire internet, you’re not alone. Sometimes all they do is remind you of everything that isn’t going right in your life.

Sometimes things are just hard. Sometimes no matter what you do, everything hurts and it feels like nothing works.

And what makes those times even harder is the sense – and the overt messages – that you should stop focusing on how bad you feel. You should focus on what you’re grateful for, and what you’re trying to create, instead.

Again, if that kind of pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps approach works for you, great.

But even if it would help, sometimes it’s the hardest thing you could possibly ask of yourself.

There’s a fine line between accentuating the positive and ignoring your own pain.

Sometimes you can’t shift your focus away from what’s not working until you really acknowledge it. Really sit with it and hear what it needs from you.

What if those emotions keep coming up in such demanding ways because they’re asking for something from you?

What might those parts of you need?

Maybe they just need to hear you say, “I’m sorry, I love you.” Maybe they need to know that you see their pain and share their sorrow, and that you love them regardless of whether they’re having a hard time or not.

In my experience, the only way to move out of a difficult time is to accept where you are and let go of your desire to change it. (How’s that for damned near fucking impossible?)

But you don’t have to do it perfectly. I’m constantly letting go of my frustration and then picking it up again. And then finally wearing myself out once more and putting it back down. Repeat ad nauseum.

Try to remember that having a hard time doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

It’s another way we’ve been taught to believe we’re broken, but we’re not.

Of course none of this makes it suck any less. I get that. Completely.

If you’ve decided to walk your path while awake, foregoing a constant state of detachment and numbing out, then there is no easy answer.

Offering yourself compassion may not be the express lane out of your dark night, but it will always move you in the right direction.

9 thoughts on “When Nothing Works

  1. ChristineH

    Oh, Victoria! This raw, beautiful post will be exactly the thing someone out there needs, I’m so glad you wrote it.

    Being kinder to yourself is such a hard thing to learn. We are taught constant vigilance, to keep our faults at bay, under cover. We are taught that we must be a constant self-improvement package. That steely discipline is the only way to progress.

    That sucks. And not in the good way.

    I vote for the path you advocate here – compassion, kindness, gentleness. The hardass way isn’t going to help everyone.

    1. Victoria Post author

      It’s amazing how deep the conditioning goes, isn’t it? I think the only way it will start to shift is if more people start talking about the fact that the hardass way doesn’t work for everyone all the time. xox

  2. Jen

    Came via Christine H. Beautiful post. Sometimes the only way out is through. And, yup, some days just suck. Glad I’m not alone in this!

  3. Square-Peg Karen

    I SO agree with you, Victoria! I really hate being “should” on – and hate it worse when I do it to myself – ack!

    Thank you for the reminders here: that we are not broken, that sometimes things just ARE hard, that we can offer ourselves compassion!

    Sometimes it feels like (to balance the crap from all over the place) we need this reminder about 97 times a day – and there aren’t a lot of places where this message is shared — so thanks, thanks, thanks.

    1. Victoria Post author

      Thank *you*, Karen! And I hear you about needing the reminder 97 times a day…I guess the real reason I wrote it is because I needed to hear it. :-)

  4. Sheila Bergquist

    This was so much what I needed to hear right now. I could totally relate to everything you said and it made me feel so much better. I have been trying to love myself more, be positive, blah, blah, blah! Sometimes this just doesn’t work and, as you said, makes you feel worse when you can’t do it. Thanks for putting things in the proper perspective. And I love the line :
    Try to remember that having a hard time doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.
    Thank you.

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