When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

Happy Monday folks! It’s beautiful here in Salt Lake City, but I’m pretty sure the eastern part of the US is enduring cold temps and snowy weather, so my heart goes out to you guys! Braving the winter is not for the faint of heart. Today I’m sharing a few thoughts about life and how to move forward when the unexpected occurs, as it will inevitably. Sometimes the unplanned moments are amazing, wonderful, surprises, and other times they are full of heartache and sadness. I’ll be focusing on the tougher, unexpected experiences and how to move forward.

As most of you know, we’re facing a tougher season of life in that we are unable to conceive our own children. We recently found out we have no chance of natural conception in the eyes of our doctors which was completely unexpected. I assumed based on prior conversations with our Reproductive Endocrinologist that I’d go on Clomid, and we’d have high chances of pregnancy within a few months. Unfortunately, that is not the case. At this point, we are facing a big unexpected, something we never in a million years planned on going through, and we’re having some really bizarre conversations about our life and future. Below are a couple of things that have been really helpful to me as we process, grieve, look for hope, and logistically sort through each day.

  • Practice Self Awareness: When you first face something hard that you never expected (a death, loss of a job, or a breakup perhaps), you’re going to change. It’s only natural the trial will give you new perspective, teach you a number of things, and lead you down a new path. In order to see those changes, it’s extremely important to take note of your own behavior. I like to ask myself questions each day such as, “How do I feel about ____?” or “Is there anyone or thing I feel angry towards today?” or “Am I unusually tired or emotional?” I’m essentially doing a self-evaluation. This has really helped me understand my healing process, and it has exposed areas that are specifically painful or problematic for me. If I lack self-awareness for even a day, I am unable to see if I’m learning, growing, or changing. Last week, I was not very self-aware, and on those days, I could feel/see myself getting out of sorts. I lacked the ability to focus on external things because I had no pulse internally. A really practical way to do this is to sit down for a few minutes and check in with yourself. Internally, ask yourself questions as you would ask a friend. Acknowledge where you are at that day, and then go back to your normal schedule.
Time to myself to assess my emotions and mental health have really helped me when facing challenges in life!
  • Balance Alone Time & Socializing: Depending on your personality type, one of these activities will energize you. I thrive off alone time, and feel refreshed after times of solitude. When I run into a tough season of life, I am tempted to become a hermit and never leave the house or talk to outside people. Literally, being home alone is one of my greatest comforts in life. Yet, when difficulty strikes, that behavior can be extremely detrimental to me. The same can be said for someone who is unable to be alone and must always be in social situations. Doing either one, 100% of the time is not healthy because our minds and hearts need a balance. Being with friends/family is amazing for encouragement, distraction and joy. Being alone is amazing for self-reflection, creativity, and healing. Focusing on one without the other will lead to more difficulty and a slower processing time as you face this unexpected challenge in life.
So blurry but I love this picture. Friends and family can bring so much joy and hope to any trial we are facing!
  • Create Room to Be Hopeful About the Future: I want to say right away how tough this one is. I know firsthand how hard it can be to feel excited about the future when your present feels so hopeless. I moved to St. Louis for a relationship years ago, and it seemed a marriage proposal was on the horizon. Unfortunately, that was not the case in any capacity. A few months after moving there, I found out my significant other was cheating on me in numerous ways (like unfathomable ways). It was a) disgusting and b) devastating. I was convinced I would be alone forever, and my life would always be the most depressing life to ever exist. If you know me, I’m insanely stubborn. My mind was made up-my life sucked and would suck forever. Obviously, I was very wrong. My life was really hard for a few years, I won’t lie, but some of that hardship came from my own negativity about life. I was incapable of seeing the possibility of goodness in the future because I was so jaded by the hurt of the present. In no way am I suggesting to avoid your current hurt and bypass the season of grief. BUT I do believe that in the grief, there should be moments of hope for future joy. Life will not always feel this devastating, and there will be a time when the pain feels and looks different. I’m still hurt by things from the past, but the sting isn’t as intense. The distance creates room for joy to overpower the pain. So while you don’t have to have a party about how great the future will be, just remind yourself gently that there will be better days. Some of those days could come sooner than expected.

Guys I know grief is hard. These 3 tips aren’t going to magically make you feel better or solve your problems, but I do hope they give you the ability to move forward and see the beauty in life, even if for an instant. We are all going to face hard things that we wish would have gone differently. No one is immune to pain. So when those tougher seasons come, remember that one day in the near future you will laugh again, you’ll wake up one morning and not instantly think of the hard thing, and eventually you will look back on that difficulty and be thankful for the way it shaped you.

Questions, comments, ideas? Please share them below as I really do love to hear your feedback and thoughts. Thank you so much for reading and following along 🙂

-Looking & Longing,

Ruth

2 thoughts on “When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

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