AS some of my close acquaintances know, I have had my share of seemingly never-ending series of ups and downs (with more downs than ups) – short-lived successes, recurring failures, fateful choices, painful disappointments, broken relationships, excruciating anguish and despair over being repeatedly getting “stuck at the bottom” – to the point of entertaining the thought of ending my life.
As I looked deeper into my past struggles – as it were, scouring and groping for some meanings – I came up with the following Seven Indispensable Reasons For Not Giving Up, thus:
1. Nothing is permanent and there is no such thing as “bottomless” or “bottom-most”. No matter how miserable or hateful your situation, it is not permanent; it will pass. Life changes every second, and so can you. You can’t be stuck in a situation forever.
More often than not, without realizing it, we feel we want to give up at the very point when we are so close to a breakthrough. Keep going at all costs. The only time you can fail is when you give up. The moment you decide you can’t is the moment you stop being able to.
There is no such thing as “end of the rope”, or “bottom-most”, or “bottomless”. As long as you are alive, anything is possible (including miracles!). As long as you are alive, you are free to keep on trying. That is your choice. That is your call. As the Latin maxim goes, “Dum spiro, spero” (As long as I breathe, I hope).
2. Challenges and struggles happen for a reason. The author of the all-time bestseller “Man’s Search For Meaning,” Viktor Frankl, found meaning in his incarceration at a concentration camp amid unimaginable horrors, by helping his fellow prisoners survive; he suggested positive meanings and reasons for their suffering.
Challenges and struggles are avenues for growth. Sometimes we are so obsessed with what we want to get from our toils or exploits, such that we often forget that the best thing we can gain from every challenge or struggle is not the thing we want, but the “person” we become in the process.
Challenges and struggles teach us to care for others. Amid our suffering, we ask “Why me?” This process of reflexive soul-searching can lead us to think of others who are similarly situated, enabling us to transcend our own sufferings and empathize for others of similar situation.
Pray tell, amid the current devastation of COVID-19 (notwithstanding the conspiracy theories), what meanings can we derive?
3. Your success or failure is not defined by others. No matter how bad your situation is, do not mind what other people thing about you. Opinions do not define reality, and judgments are a confession of character. Everyone has his or her own journey and struggles. Focus, instead, on your own greatness and strengths.
Stop comparing yourself with others – and start counting your own blessings.
4. Mistakes are OK, and scars are symbols of courage and strength. The biggest mistake some people could ever make is to be too afraid to make one. Come to think of it, mistakes are not completely mistakes; they, in fact, offer plenty of lessons.
Sometimes, to be successful tomorrow, you must be wrong today. Don’t let the fear of making the wrong decision prevent you from making any decision at all. At the end of your fear is the “person” who you really want to be.
And your scars? Be proud of them They’re symbols of your inner strength. In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty. Consider this when you feel broken.
5. Worrying can’t change anything – and yet you can choose to positively react from within. If there is anything that kills more people faster than any dreaded pestilence, it is worrying.
You can’t change anything by worrying. You may not be capable of changing what is actually happening to you, but you can choose how to react from within yourself to what is happening – by being positive. Negative thoughts inevitably engender negative results. But positive thoughts create positive realities.
6. You matter most to your loved ones and to other people. We did not come into this world alone, but through a family. And even outside our family circle, we are never alone as there are always people who are significant to us, or us to them.
In “bottom-stuck” moments, therefore, there is always a “significant other” – family, kin, or loved ones – who can be reason enough for you not to give up. They need you in as much as you need them.
Or, even other people, not related to you.
They too could just as well strike a spark of inspiration deep within you, like those who are worse off than you are – or in a direr situation or environment than yours – and yet refuse to give up.
Or, you – by refusing to give up – can be a spring of inspiration to others. Someone else (family or friend) may just as well not give up because he or she has seen you refusing to give up.
7. God matters most and is greater than your problems. Sometimes, amid worst situations, we dare ask, “Where is God?” We may not question His existence, but we complain for His “absence”, if not “silence”.
We fail to realize however that God’s silence is not necessarily His absence. His seeming inactivity is never His apathy.
In times of challenges and struggles, God shows His greatness – “greater” than all our problems. He makes us whole through our brokenness. Oftentimes, THE MOST PAINFUL AND HARDEST THINGS IN LIFE MERELY TURN OUT TO BE CLEAR PATHWAYS FOR GOD’S MIRACLES TO HAPPEN IN OUR LIFE!
Pray, therefore, and have faith. To P.R.A.Y. means to profess (or opening up your fears, helplessness, and faith to God), Reflect (on your sinfulness and God’s compassion), Act (or do God a favour by helping yourself), and Yield to God’s omniscience and omnibenevolence.