People often reach out to me and say, “Alyssa, my life is insane. You just can’t imagine.” And I get it. I actually can imagine. I’ve been there. My life has been – and still is, because we’re always learning and growing – everything but simple or easy.
And then there are the people I don’t hear from at all. Sometimes they feel like tearing everything apart and giving up instead of reaching out. Sometimes they feel too confused to know where to start to explain. Sometimes they feel ashamed of their situation or of their desire for help. Sometimes they feel numb from life crashing down on all sides, or worn out from fighting.
All of these feelings are valid responses to the craziness that life can throw at us sometimes. It’s not normal to feel normal when that much is going on. Yet when we acknowledge the feelings we’re feeling, they can actually point us in the direction of healing:
- When we feel like tearing everything apart and giving up, it’s an invitation to imagine new possibilities.
- When we feel too confused to know what to do, it’s an invitation to relax into the present moment and stop fighting the way things are.
- When we feel ashamed of our need for help, it’s an invitation to stop trying to hold the world up all by ourselves.
- When we feel too numb and worn out, it’s an invitation to sit and rest in stillness.
It really takes just a moment of allowing ourselves to feel our hard feelings before things start to shift. It feels terrifying for that brief moment, but, as we sit with a little bit of patience, maybe a little curiosity, and a little taste of acceptance, the hardness starts to soften. We take a deep breath, like a small child who has just finished crying, and soon, new thoughts begin to appear. Maybe I won’t be stuck forever. Maybe my life won’t always be this way. Maybe I’m discovering new possibilities, new tools, and new sources of support.
HOPE is the name of this new seedling that grows in the darkness underground up toward the light of day. That is the first secret of hope: You will discover it every time you are in darkness, buried underground, as long as you summon the courage to feel, to acknowledge, to see what is truly there with you.
Now listen carefully to the second secret:
Hope grows toward the light.
Once we start to feel a little relief, it’s normal for the ego to dash back in and try to control the situation. And in doing so, it fills us with doubts:
What if things don’t really work out? What if I’m wrong about the possibility of change? What if life is just about to beat me down again?
Tell that voice that it’s all okay. The point is not to stay in control, or to get everything perfect once and for all. Of course, you will face new challenges again. But next time you’re underground, you’ll know to look for the seeds of hope that are buried there with you. Next time, you’ll know how to grow back stronger than before. Next time, it may not even take as long to find your way.
And that’s the point – not to reach a state of perfection, but to keep growing toward the light.
So, don’t be afraid to face the darkness in your life. Just remember: Hope will always be right here to grow with you toward the light.