This is a guest post by Petteri Ollila, @PetteriOllila.
Have you experienced the moment when everything in your life seems to be going well and then, suddenly, something unexpected happens and it feels like there is no hope and nothing is ever going to be the same again?
Like when you find out that you have cancer, or one of your parents has died in a car accident or you lose your job.
Those incidents are usually very shocking and force us to adjust to the new situation quickly, but sometimes everything can also fall apart slowly, like when you work for a company for a long time and get a little bit more frustrated year by year, and start to think about different options in your life.
The feeling can be awkward, especially if everything seems to be going well externally, but you just don’t feel good inside. There is only hollow feeling and emptiness left in you, even though some years ago you were full of energy and motivation, and you were able to achieve many things.
I have had that feeling many times in my life. You are definitely not alone.
It can be very frustrating when you know that something has to be done, but you have no idea what it should be. All you know is that something is terribly wrong in your life.
The Peaks and Valleys of Life
Life is filled with peaks and valleys. Often everything goes well and those are the peaks of our lives, whereas sometimes nothing seems to work and we are in the valleys of our lives. The most comforting thing is that it is often in the valley that we discover the light – not the peak as you might suspect.
I was walking along the coast of Helsinki a couple of days ago and I saw this tree on a hill when the sun was setting:
The tree didn’t have any leaves on the branches even though it is almost midsummer in Finland, while everything else around the tree looked green and fresh. It made me think about how difficult it would be to appreciate the summer if there would be no winter, and how we would get too used to the beauty of green leaves on trees, if they never fell off.
It is really difficult to make any drastic changes in our lives when everything seems to be going well and there are still leaves in our trees.
If you let confusion, anger and anxiety be, and accept even the worst things in your life, often something great happens.
You find happiness.
Sometimes it can even happen overnight, when you realize all the new possibilities in your life that have opened up when everything went to pieces and you had nothing to hold on to. Maybe it forced you to think about what you really love to do in your life and made you realize that the things you thought were important in your life, actually might have been someone else’s dreams.
The deepest valleys in our lives often help us to find answers to the following questions:
- If I didn’t have to work for money, what would I do?
- If I had only one year left in my life, what would I do?
- Who are the people that are really important for me in my life?
It is the pain that helps us to stop and find a new direction, so let’s be grateful for it. When you are having the worst time of your life and feel that there is no hope, take a deep breath, let all the feelings come to the surface, and remember that the most beautiful spring of your life is probably just around the corner.
Petteri Ollila is a happiness hunter, trying to find the holy grail of long-term happiness at his blog Happiness Hunters. If you want to learn how to feel good, you will love his new free e-book “The Guide to Happiness: 9 Effective Steps to Improve Your Mood Permanently”.