“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” ~Eckhart Tolle
After my father had a stroke, it became too difficult to manage our family’s convenience store, so we decided to sell it. We spoke to several buyers, but a couple was most interested—the same couple who had originally sold us the store years earlier.
In December 2012, in the middle of the transaction, my father was manipulated and our store and retirement savings were snatched away.
They convinced my parents to transfer the store space’s lease over to them before selling the business. So we were illegally occupying someone else’s space.
The landlord sent legal notices and bills to clear the space. We tried to work out a deal with the couple, but it was of no avail.
I spoke to a lawyer and he said there was no case and that this was a deliberately hatched plan from the outset.
Long story short, we were faced with two choices: give the store to the couple for peanuts, or clear the store and take our belongings elsewhere without compensation.
We decided to clear the space, pack all our inventory and belongings, and dump them into our garage at our home.
My parents could barely open the garage door, and we didn’t know what to do with the stuff. Should we find another location and start our business afresh? Or should we just close this chapter completely?
I was filled with anger, bitterness, and pain, but I held it in.
Bills piled up. My brother and I struggled to pay our mortgage payments every month.
I channeled all my anguish into my work and staying afloat. When someone in my family talked about the situation, I brushed them off and avoided the topic.
One night in February 2014, I cried. The tears wouldn’t stop. Something had changed in me.
It was like my heart had to do an intervention and tell me: You have got to stop and feel your pain. You can’t keep going this way.
I want to share how I finally dealt with my inner demons and shifted to a place of inner peace and acceptance. If you’re going through a tough time, this may help.
1. Stop assuming the worst.
After my experience, I noticed that I jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst about everyone, so I made it a point to acknowledge when someone was nice to me, whether it was a loved one or waitress.
I also tried to be kind in return. This helped me open my heart again.
It’s tempting to assume the worst when you’ve been wronged, but seeing the best in others will bring out the best in yourself.
2. Challenge your beliefs.
I heard the word “struggle” many times throughout my childhood. My father and mother said it frequently. It was ingrained in their consciousness, and as a result, in mine.
After this experience, I decided to adopt a new belief: that I was meant to prosper.
As cheesy as it sounds, I hung up I am a winner posters on my bedroom walls. I read stories about normal people like me who transformed their lives.
I signed up for a life coaching and transformation program. All these things helped me create faith in myself so I could start to live a more inspiring life.
You don’t have to do the same things, but in your own way, you can start to shed your limiting beliefs and support yourself so you can prosper too.
3. Turn inward to heal inner wounds.
I wish I had done this right after we lost our family business, but I was too busy analyzing and strategizing, trying to make things work.
I felt I had to shoulder all the responsibility and hold my family together, so my emotions remained in my body energetically for some time.
One day, I wrote down what had happened from my perspective. I put all my feelings on paper and I didn’t hold back. In doing so, I helped myself embrace my emotions and begin the healing process.
Be honest about how you feel. Dive in deep and fully acknowledge what happened.
4. Stop pushing.
I remember when my father had a stroke; even then, I was busy making phone calls from my office, dealing with our employees, and managing our store. I would have intense, nervous, frantic, fearful conversations with my mother.
I would become angry and scream at her and my father. I was constantly pushing and in action mode. I couldn’t let go. That need to control and push became even stronger after we lost our business.
I clung on tightly to relationships, money, people, and things, all from a place of insecurity and fear. I was afraid I would lose them.
But when you let go, you make space for what is truly right for you. You learn to not tie your self-worth, happiness, or identity to external circumstances.
5. Practice saying yes to your desires.
I wanted to pour myself into my work. I also thought that struggling and living this way was the norm. I was used to suppressing my desires.
If I wanted to relax, I didn’t allow myself. I drove myself crazy with ways to make things better for my family. But the truth was, if I couldn’t find inner peace, there was no way I could help my family.
I learned that I had to be connected to myself in order to be more present for my loved ones. It started with embracing little things. If I wanted to have tea and read a book, I did just that. If I wanted a hot bath, I took a nice, long hot bath.
I used to think that I couldn’t do these things if my external world wasn’t great.
But surrendering to these seemingly tiny moments brought me solace when chaos ruled my external world.
Don’t wait until you have everything figured out to be good to yourself. Be good to yourself and you’ll be better able to figure things out.
6. Stop feeling guilty.
During this challenging period, we all screamed our throats off and made each other feel guilty. It was a vicious circle.
The only way I could make lasting changes and move on with my life was to stop feeling guilty.
I focused on the present moment. In doing so, I was able to forgive my family and energize myself. It rubbed off on them because slowly but surely, I noticed my family started to remove themselves from this guilty frame of mind, as well.
Even if you could have handled things better, let go of the guilt. You’re doing the best you can, and you’ll do better if you feel better.
7. Stay solution-oriented.
When things spiraled out of control, my family and I saw everything as a problem. We developed the attitude that whatever came our way would be difficult.
We became afraid of waking up in the mornings, couldn’t sleep well at night, and couldn’t enjoy time with each other. In other words, we expected the worst. But this is no way to live.
We had to shift to a solution-oriented frame of mind. So when things didn’t work out, I stopped dwelling in self-pity. I tried to look for solutions. If I couldn’t find one right away, I just let myself be.
Trust that answers will come at the right time. It’s easier to cope with hard times when you trust that the Universe has your back.
8. Turn to others for help.
During this time, I confided in my best friend about how I was feeling. Last year, I decided to enroll in a transformation program and had a therapeutic life coaching session.
These steps helped me support myself.
Don’t bottle up your emotions. Talk to your loved ones, friends, and even consider working with a life coach or therapist. You don’t have to go through it alone.
9. Foster a positive mindset.
I had lots of thoughts about revenge, but these only caused me to feel bitter.
I realized over time these thoughts weren’t going to do me any good. I had to shift out of them. They didn’t go away right away, but I accepted them without judging myself.
Then, to shift into a more uplifting state of mind, I immersed myself in things I loved like writing, meditating, journaling, eating, and spending time with friends.
Negative thoughts will come, but they will also go if you let them. Instead of judging yourself for having these thoughts, focus on what you can do to create a more positive state of mind.
If you’re going through a challenging time in your life, keep your heart open. This won’t last forever, and you will get through it!
Depressed man image via Shutterstock