That Feeling Of Hopelessness

by Scott Morrice on 08/29/2012

Some days are harder than others—that feeling of hopelessness often has us completely surrounded. The hills seem too steep, the obstacles too big to overcome. You wonder how you can possibly continue, there doesn’t seem to be any end to the difficulties in sight. You allow yourself to just wallow deeper and deeper into this blackness. There is no way out, so what is the point of even trying?

I am pretty sure we have all been there. In fact, realizing this actually helps! But, of course, first of all we have to allow ourselves to realize this. I have already written about this somewhat in my The Power Of Surrender post.

One of the things that really works for me when I find myself in this place is, as I have written before, self-hypnosis. I am sure that meditation would work equally as well—but my own personal experience has been with self-hypnosis, and so I speak from that perspective.

But even getting to the point of taking this first step towards healing is hard. When we are suffering like this our first inclination is to wallow in it. To just lie down and let it completely take over. It is almost masochistic—we almost try to make it even worse—in fact, I think that is exactly what we are doing. It takes on its own momentum.

Left to our own devices, we won’t leave this place.

And I find the act of taking steps to leave this place very analogous to the difficulty in starting my daily exercise program. I always find it difficult to get down and do my exercises. But when I exercise I always finish on a “high”—I always feel rejuvenated, reinvigorated. And in the shower I always—and I mean always—say to myself—“that was great, I feel great—why do I always fight against starting? I have to stop thinking those negative thoughts, I need to look forward to the finishing and the feeling of the good thoughts that always follow—and get going!”

And then there are the days when you are tired, feeling sloggy, out of sorts—when the absolute last thing you want to do is exercise. I mean—you are just way, way too tired for that! But that is when you most need to exercise—that is when you should exercise. Because—you come out of it at the end re-energized, reinvigorated, and rejuvenated! You’re not feeling tired anymore—you feel great!

And so it is with those black days—those hard moments. To make the first important steps beyond this state you have to have previously “learned” that there is relief at the end of a certain process—and as I said, for me that process involves self-hypnosis.

But even for me, I have to almost physically grab myself by the shirt collar and sit myself down—and start. And I can only do that if I know, deep within myself, that this does indeed lead to relief. And so, to get to that point, in preparation of those times when it is the absolute last thing you want to do, you have to have already created a routine of sitting down and practicing your self-hypnosis, on a regular basis. You need to learn to trust that it delivers.

Another thing that works for me—and this might seem a bit obvious—is to break the “problem” down into manageable bites. All too often all we see is a huge mountain in front of us. And our first thought as we gaze up at it in horror, and despair is to think that it is impossible—impossible—to get to the top. What we need to do is to instead focus on the first 20 feet in front of us. Take small steps. Tackle smaller bites—bites that you can accomplish. And then—move forward—without actually trying to think that you are moving forward (that just gets you glancing upwards at the top again)—one small, manageable, doable bite at a time.

I’m not breaking any new ground here—I know—but I don’t think any of this is trite—sometimes it helps to have it pointed out that there are things we can do about that feeling of hopelessness that seem to have us in its control. There are steps that we can take.

I’ll keep you posted.

  • Hannah Spencer

    It is very easy to get caught in this pit of despair, almost everyone has been there at some point. I find that just taking one positive step forward, no matter how small it is, makes a huge difference. If I can look back and see one thing that I have achieved today, it makes it seem worth it. If the entire day is worthless, things seem much worse.

    • scottmorrice

      Yes–I agree. Very good advice!!!! Thanks for dropping by, it was good to hear from you.


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