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6 Secrets to Moving On From Serious Struggles

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“Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” ~Unknown

People who knew me ten years ago would probably expect me to be dead now. They wouldn’t expect me to have escaped my problems. They wouldn’t expect me to have stopped drinking, drugging, taking overdoses, and cutting my arms.

People who knew me ten years ago saw a scared shell of a girl, terrified of her own shadow and on a mission to self-destruct. They wouldn’t expect me to have turned my life around completely. They certainly wouldn’t expect me to be sharing my story and helping others to let go of their struggles, too.

But then those people who knew me ten years ago didn’t know that I would find the secret to moving on from my struggles. I didn’t know it back then either; I thought that there was no hope for me, and that I would never be over my woes.

The secrets to moving on came to me slowly. It took years of suffering from anxiety and alcoholism before I found my solution, but it was worth the wait. Whatever your problems, and no matter how inescapable you think they are, the answers are always universal.

Here are six secrets to moving on from your struggles:

1. Draw a line.

When you’ve decided that you’ve had enough of suffering, of tying yourself up in the same old knots and landing up in the same dead ends, draw yourself a nice mental line to mark your decision. Everything up until now was the part of the problem, and everything from now on is a learning experience.

Use that mental page break to give yourself new courage and enthusiasm for the healing process. Leave any guilt and shame firmly in the past. Decide that no matter what happens, from now on you will do your best to break away from your negative patterns and never give up on trying.

It’s okay to screw up, to cry sometimes, or to find it hard, as long as you never move back into that space where you’re not willing to try. Let your attitude be part of the solution to your problems; focus on living, learning, and breaking free. Take at least one extra step forward every time you stumble.

2. Learn from others.

When an emotional or mental problem is holding you back, don’t try to cope with it all on your own. If you’ve ended up in a sticky place or a cycle of self-sabotage, your own thought processes and feelings will have aided and abetted you. In order to get out of the hole, you must be willing to learn from other people.

I have always found that those who have previously been down the same rabbit hole are the best people to give you advice and a helping hand. Hang onto the hope they present, learn their lessons, and see how the decisions they made have helped them to succeed in moving on.

See the patterns in others’ successes, and look for people who live the solutions. If people appear bound by bitterness and negativity, they’re probably not the ones to help you. Look for those who are truly free of their issues—the ones who you aspire to be. There is no need to struggle alone, when others can help you through.

3. Try everything.

When it comes to particular problems, you may need to get specialist help to deal with them. You may feel you have tried so much, without success, to find the solutions to your issues that you will never find an answer. I know that trap; I nearly gave up, myself, on the quest to beat my anxiety disorder.

Counseling, books, courses, pills, potions, and therapy had not provided any solutions. I had almost given up hope. I am so glad I didn’t.

The last thing I tried was something I had never considered, and it happened to be the one method that gave me back my life. Try everything; think outside the box. The answer is only irretrievable if you stop looking for it.

4. Let go.

To truly move on, you must let go of blame, resentment, and anger. Realize that negative feelings are counter-productive. However justified you feel they are, it is only hurting you to hold onto them. Forgive others so that you can be free to follow a new positive path.

Forgiving yourself is possibly the hardest part of letting go, but it’s also one of the most beneficial things you can do. Accept that you are only human, and humans make mistakes; it’s how we learn, after all. You did the best you knew how to at the time, and now you’re willing to admit it didn’t work out so well.

Stop criticizing and chiding yourself. Talk to yourself kindly, like a patient teacher, rather than a harsh taskmaster. Unkind words will only make you feel frustrated and sad, dragging you back into that negative cycle. A warm, encouraging tone will help you get the best out of yourself.

5. Do what works.

It sounds so simple, but people do what doesn’t work all the time. They wish things were different, bury their heads in the sand, or use sticking plasters that will come unstuck later on. I used alcohol to numb my anxiety disorder, not taking into account the alcohol dependence, the plummeting self-esteem, and the pancreatitis that would punish me for my choice later on.

Deal with reality to make sensible choices. Don’t allow anger, self-justification, or feelings of unfairness to stop you from doing the right thing. Sometimes the way we have to constantly battle and the things we have to do to solve our problems may feel unfair, but the alternative is staying stuck in pain and self-loathing.

Keep your end goals in mind when making decisions. Do what works on a consistent basis and you will eventually escape from your problems, making it worth the fight. The longer you keep doing what doesn’t work, the deeper the hole you will have to dig yourself out of.

6. Change your mind.

The only permanent solution to our struggles is to change the mind that creates or perpetuates them. While your problems might not be of your own making, the endless suffering that comes as a result of them is down to the way you use your mind.

It may not be your fault, but it is your responsibility to work on the way you think if you want to be free.

My own mind-set kept me stuck for many years. It refused to acknowledge the good and was responsible for a lot of negative emotions and responses. It was only by practicing over and over to refocus my mind that my feelings, and responses to life, became more positive.

Watch what you’re feeding your mind, as well. If you’re feeding it a diet of dross and negativity, don’t be surprised if it’s not all that helpful. Educate yourself, and surround yourself with good, supportive people.

Your mind and attitude are ultimately the things that can keep you stuck—or end your struggles. Learn to use them wisely, and you can overcome any problem, no matter how serious it seems. Having a supportive mind makes it much easier for you to see clearly, and to be happy and content, even in a life where challenges crop up.

Photo by Graham

About Beth Burgess

Beth Burgess is a solution-focused therapist, coach and writer, specializing in addiction, anxiety disorders, stress, self-esteem and mental wellbeing. She is the author of The Recovery Formula and The Happy Addict. Visit http://www.smyls.co.uk for videos, articles, and help to overcome your issues and find happiness.

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  • Jeevan/Mirthu/Gupt

    As someone who struggles with all sorts of anxiety for years…this was pretty insightful, thank you for sharing! “The last thing I tried was something I had never considered, and it
    happened to be the one method that gave me back my life. Try everything;
    think outside the box. The answer is only irretrievable if you stop
    looking for it.” I understand there is no ‘one cure for all,’ but was there anything in particular that helped you to cope with your anxieties better..?? Like you, I have also tried things such as ‘counseling, books, courses, pills, potions, and therapy’ & continue to do so with some of them….

  • Hi there, Personally I found an NLP Practitioner who did Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Emotional Freedom Technique with me. My anxiety disorder was gone within one session.

    I’m now a therapist myself. When I have clients with anxiety disorders, I use a toolbox which includes NLP, EFT, Eye Movement Therapy and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. I choose what precisely to use when I know more about the patterns that cause the problem. Not all anxieties are the same mentally, physically or neurologically. With the right blend of techniques for the issue, it’s quick and effective.

  • silkred

    I am at the beginning of this journey.. Just letting go of the negative sense for blame and comprehension.. I have been abused by a narcissist.. But recognise I need to leave him and all those around him.. The toxicity is palpable.. Surrender any feeling for others to understand and to finally rediscover all that is beautiful about me.. I have a long way to go but you describe and affirm the journey lucidly in this piece.. Thankyou so much.

  • You’re very welcome. Best of luck on your journey – I’m sure it will be very rewarding. You have already taken the first step, which is one of the most difficult, in recognising the problem and what you may need to do about it. I hope you realise not only your beauty, but your courage, strength and innate value.

  • nanaxkyo

    This is the first time i’ve spoke about this things that happened 3 years ago. I was really in love with someone (1st time I was deeply in love) and yet he’s betrayed me for another girl. During our 1 year relationship, he barely call or text me. He told me that he was really busy with his job and since I love him I had to believe that. In the beginning of our relationship, he was really nice but it was all changed in a blink of an eye. After he didn’t contact me for almost 1 month (I can see clearly that he left me hanging without saying anything!), I made a decision that I should end properly our relationship. Then I sent him a message, although I was really hurt at that time, I still trying my best to say a wise words and ended it nicely. He did not reply and it was the end of our relationship. My heart was broken into pieces. I was really lost for 2 years. I lose my self confidence and I always ask myself if I’m not good enough for him? I was really really really hurts. Just recently I found out that he’s just married with a girl and I have to admit that girl was a thousand times pretty than me. And somehow, coincidentally, I’ve meet with his friend and he told me that my ex was just take me for granted. He wants to married with someone pretty and have a good carrier (Yeah..I know because I’m still a student). he wants to marry someone who have a good family (Yeah.. I know..I came from a broken family). Until now, I’m still unable to forgive him. I still can feel the pain he gave me. But I move on with my life. I’m trying my best to left those hurtful things behind and write a new chapter of my life that’s worth reading in future. It’s not easy but this is the only choice I have. I’m struggling and yet I won’t give up. I’m going to learn from my past experience and make the best out of it. But, I found myself that I don’t have the courage to start a new relationship. I’d rather be single for now other than being hurt anymore. Suddenly, his lil bro which was 3 years younger than me approach me on FB and said that he love me since the day his brother bring me to meet their family and I was like…wtf with those siblings! I was really pissed off. I know his brother have a job already and he’s being serious about me but I told him that I have a 1001 reasons to reject him. 1st – I don’t date younger man 2nd – Our relationship would never work! I date his big brother and now his younger brother? OMG I can’t imagine that! I really hate it! I was struggling to forget him and somehow his younger brother remind me of him. Omg.. God please help me…

  • Hi, You’ve been very courageous trying to move on. Past painful experiences can set deep patterns, fears and insecurities for us going forward if we don’t resolve them properly. It can be done, but you may need a bit of help to do it. I’d personally suggest seeing an NLP Practitioner to work with this so that you no longer get ‘triggered’ in future. You can contact me via my website (which is linked from my bio) if you’d like to work with me, or have a google for other NLP Practitioners who deal with self-esteem. You can definitely sort this out with some help.

  • Hi Beth, found your story touching and inspiring. I’m glad you’re sharing it to help others on their life journeys and struggles. #4 for me rang true during struggles in my life. as much as we want to hold onto resentments and anger at others, it’s really self-sabotaging. only when we let go of hurts, pains and wrongs, will we be free. As long as our past imprisons us, we can’t move forward. All of these things you mention are do-able – it’s just a matter of taking a conscious decision to move on from our past and using these tools.

  • Reading this reminds me of the saying that goes something along the lines of….to get what you never had, you must do something you never did. I like the point you made where you wrote “The answer is only irretrievable if you stop looking for it.”

  • Thanks Vishnu. Yes, that was one of the keys to moving on for me. I love the quote: “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Absolutely true!

  • Thanks Nicole 🙂

  • A friend

    OK now slap yourself in the face and recognize all of what you just wrote. The man is bad for you and his brother too!! What if bro is playing with your heart and both sit back laughing? You are stronger than this, you are beautiful in your way and never stop your life for a MAN !!! A cat, a dog a squirel but not a MAN. Chin Up and Chest Out NaNa. Life is too short to grieve over this. I know, I am guilty too and learned the hard way. Now I am struggling over job issues and find myself discounting my talent. When it is really those other people that don’t have a clue. God will help you – keep asking. That is what I am doing until that last given moment. Go on with your wonderful life. Leave their entire family alone and move on to a better life. Blessings