Navigating Life’s Challenges: How To Find Hope During Difficult Situations

Here's what you can do to find hope when life is looking down

Part of life is to encounter difficult situations. We are all challenged at different times in different ways. This is part of the human condition, there’s no avoiding it, but there is a fine art in navigating life’s challenges.

Here’s the thing.

Life isn’t written like a movie. Some plots lead to bigger things, others lead to insurmountable challenges, and some sizzle into vapor. Even if you’re wondering how could it get any worse, your story is still being written. There hasn’t been a conclusion, so what matters most is how you proceed forward.

We’re going to explore some courses of action you can take when you feel like you’re losing the battle against life. After reading this article, you’ll have new perspectives and courses of action to navigate any difficult situation life throws your way.

Have faith that things will work out

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Your life working out doesn’t necessarily mean your ideal situation will fruit. It means you will get through any challenges that life presents and grow from them, as long as you choose to.

Your perception of life shapes your belief systems and your overall life experience. If you have a deeply pessimistic view where all paths lead to a dead end, they probably will. Therefore, your ability to view your life situation in a way that instills hope is a skill you need to develop.

This outlook on life has helped me get through some pretty gnarly situations. I find that the pillars of this perception involve:

  • Have faith that your situation is happening for a reason
  • Trust in the natural order of the universe to bring about the best conclusion for you
  • Realize that worrying about uncontrollable outcomes isn’t productive
  • Recognize that all things in life are impermanent, and this too shall pass

There have been many times in my life when I was in a difficult situation. One of those times was when I was homeless in the US with no passport or money. But my mantra became ‘This too shall pass’, and sooner or later, the situation always passed.

Making peace with your situation

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Nothing good comes from fighting against your life situation. You want to navigate it like a river, not change the direction of it.

If you’re in a tough spot, it’s important to allow the experience to fully occur. Accept the situation for what it is, and don’t try to avoid it. Feeling into the experience is the only way to learn from the situation.

Treat challenging life situations as trials. They’re pushing you to go deep within so that you can transmute and transform. If you’re trying to escape the experience by distracting yourself or suppressing the pain, the experience will be more difficult to overcome.

Surrender to the universe

What has helped me navigate life’s challenges is to surrender to the situation, and let go of what is outside of my control.

I tell myself “I’ll do what I can, but this is in your hands now”. The act of praying and releasing that need to control the outcome of the situation usually gives me great relief. That’s when I begin to trust the universe more because I’m not fighting against it.

Surrendering to the situation gives you space to think clearly. That clarity is what allows you to take steps forward and to do what you need to do.

Trust in the natural order

Trust in the natural order, that everything is unfolding towards a greater plan. When you look at your situation from a higher perspective, that this is happening for a reason, it becomes easier to trust the process and move forward with it.

Life operates in phases. It’s not always up. Growth isn’t linear. You will come back down from time to time and be challenged.

These challenges are like tests. The universe wants to see if you’re truly integral to its teachings, or if you’re all talk and no walk. So when you’re going through something challenging, treat it as a test that you’re being given.

Don't resist what you're going through

Life is like a river. It has a particular flow to it. If you try to fight against this flow, you’re going to create tension. If you navigate with the flow, it’s going to relieve the pressure.

Change what you can, but accept what is outside of your control.

When you try to force change in a situation that’s out of your control, what do you get? Struggle, resistance, and blockages. Everything crams up and your life situation becomes worse because you’re trying to force things.

Navigate your situation and fully be there with it, rather than trying to push it in a direction that is not going.

When you do let go of that overbearing control, that’s when you find a sense of peace within the chaos. You find this state of flow when you stop resisting your thoughts and feelings. Work with your situation rather than against it.

Build trust in positive outcomes

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Start by being mindful of the situation at hand. It’s important to be present with your experience instead of focusing on what could happen or what should happen. Your ability to fully be with your current situation (and emotions) is what will make you feel more at peace.

It’s important to affirm the outcome you want. You can visualize the desired outcome and create a mental roadmap of what actually will improve your situation, and what needs to be done to get there. Visualization is a powerful tool as it can reshape your thought patterns and give you a sense of direction.

Let’s start by getting clear on what you want here.

Ask yourself:

  • What is the best possible outcome you could have?
  • What needs to happen to achieve that outcome?
  • Can you visualize and feel that desired outcome?
  • What course of action do you need to take to move in the right direction?

Look for the silver lining

There is something good to come out of every situation that life throws at you. No matter what has happened, think about how you can use this circumstance to evolve yourself.

Maybe when you get through the situation and heal, you’ll become a stronger person from it.

Maybe this situation will teach you very valuable life lessons.

Perhaps by going through this, you can help other people who are too.

Whatever situation you’re in, there is always something that you can gain from it. Even though these benefits might be overshadowed by the pain you’re experiencing, or how traumatic the situation is. So don’t try to avoid feeling that pain. Naturally, go through it, and then focus on what you can gain from this painful situation.

Reframe the situation

How I frame a difficult situation can add or remove a whole lot of stress. So I frame difficult situations in a way that they’re good for me – like spiritual exams that I am capable of passing.

When I’m going through something difficult I think about the life experience I’m gaining from it. So no matter how hard it is, I think about what I’m learning, and how I can use this wisdom to make my life better.

When you are going through something, just think about how your future self is going to thank you for overcoming this particular challenge. You’re going through these challenges because your soul is hungry for growth.

The universe doesn’t hand you anything that your soul didn’t sign up for, so regardless of what you’re going through or how painful it is, remember that on one level or another, you asked for this.

And you will overcome this, sometimes you just need to be patient.

Realize that it's all temporary

Your life situation is fluid. It’s constantly changing, everything is temporary. Your situation might suck for now, but in a year, or 5 years, or 10 years, you’re going to be a very different person in a very different situation.

The more you’re tested, the more you’ll see that there is always a light at the end of that tunnel.

So you cultivate that trust – that understanding that there are forces greater than yourself. And part of that trust is to acknowledge that it will end. Think of all the times you were in a bad place. Were the situations eventually resolved? Think of all the times you thought it would never end. Did it eventually end?

So trust that this will too, because your future self will be looking back on your bravery right now, from a much better situation.

Leverage the situation for personal growth

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You never know if something is actually a blessing in disguise.

You focus on the pain of the situation and jump to the conclusion that it’s a bad thing – that you’re taking a step back because things are a little difficult again. But it’s truly beyond you to know if this is actually in service of your best possible outcome.

Just say you’re going through an ugly divorce, and things are looking like a real downer. Perhaps if you didn’t go through the painful process of that divorce, you would avoid the concomitant discomfort, but you know it’s probably not in your best interest, otherwise, there would be no incentive to divorce.

In this sense, the divorce opens up doorways of opportunity.

Perhaps this will lead you to find someone who you resonate with more, or it will open you up to a lifestyle you’re truly passionate about that you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pursue otherwise.

So every time you’re going through something challenging, ask yourself – what if? What if this is meant to be? What if this leads me to the path I’m meant to pursue?

Embrace the uncertainty

Uncertainty is just a part of life. As long as you make any attempt to actually have a dynamic and eventful life, you’re going to experience uncertainty.

But don’t treat it like a bad thing. It’s okay to be nervous or a little anxious. It’s okay to not know how things are going to turn out. That is part of life. But as long as you don’t let uncertainty deter you, then you’re going to continue progressing your life, regardless of where you are and what you’re dealing with.

Connect with inspirational content

It helps to watch inspirational content that can help lift you up. Whether it’s a motivational speaker, a talk, a song, or reading about someone’s life story who has been in your shoes, following inspirational content can help humanize your situation and make you realize that you’re not alone.

There are plenty of guided meditations that can help. There are a lot of talks that not only give you great information but also provide new outlooks to your situation. If there is someone or something that helps ignite that spark in you, then I suggest absorbing more of that content to help put you through the worst of it.

Remove unnecessary stressors from your life if you can, and anything that makes you feel worse than you already do.

Do what you can to improve the situation

With a clear mind, do what’s within your power to handle the situation. If there is something you’re dealing with, take steps to find a solution.

If there is no clear solution, utilize constructive coping techniques to help you. You should be putting your resources not just into accepting the situation, but actively doing what is within your power to change it.

If you want to learn some strategies to do that, click on the link below:

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