Tough Times–and Life Beyond Them

Tough Times, and beyond them, Vicki Hinze, Social N Network



Tough Times—and Life Beyond Them


Vicki Hinze



We all have tough times in our lives.  No one is exempt.  That makes our top priority figuring out how to cope well with those times.  We do have a choice:  we can be driven by the tough times, or we can be driven by our reaction to the tough times.  That’s it on options.


If we choose to be driven by the tough times, we’re in for a lot more than our challenges and little in these added hardships is good.  With our focus on “tough,” we’re summoning all the negative things that come with it:  stress, anxiety, sadness, depression.  None of those things do anything to elevate our mood, improve our attitude, or to make our tough times more bearable much less aid us in getting through or beyond them.  None of them fix the problems, though they all make coping with the problems harder.


We fare better (as do our characters), if we choose to be driven by our reaction to the tough times.  We get to choose our reactions and that gives us more flexibility on our responses, and those responses come from a more stable place.


Am I suggesting that we bury our heads in the sand and ignore the tough times?  No.  That’s impossible.  We focus on whatever is uppermost in our minds, and we do so diligently.  If you’re in a tough time, you’re thinking about that and little else.  (So too are your characters in your writing, so remember that!)


I am suggesting you (and your characters) choose alternate, more productive responses.  Direct your thoughts toward identifying and understanding what landed you in this tough time—the root cause, the source.  Then, once you’ve identified it and you understand the cause, shift your focus to solutions to the challenges created.  It might be uncomfortable.  It could hurt.  You might see a side of yourself you don’t like.  But do it and then really pump effort into finding constructive solutions.  Remember, lessons learned are lessons unnecessary to repeat!


A personal example.  This week is a tough one.  With the exception of Monday, it’s the anniversary of the death of someone really important to me. Three aunts and a cousin who taught me to catch a baseball and how to spit.  Now that might not sound important to you, but they were hugely important to me.  All these people were hugely important to me for different reasons.


I could be sad.  Go down the road of all those I’ve loved who are no longer with me.  Staring mortality in the face once is hard.  Doing it four times in one week… well, there’s justification for being not just sad but downright depressed.  But I choose not to do that. I choose a different reaction.  I choose not to dishonor them or myself by falling into that abyss and landing myself in a place where I have to crawl out of that sandtrap.


Instead, I am focusing on the fond memories of these four. My memories are admittedly a little bittersweet, but they are deeply cherished. I’m acknowledging the losses, remembering good times, fun things, little things that were personal and shared just between us.  This is the stuff of life, and it impacts us.  What impacts us in life impacts us in our work and, of course, in our writing.


So don’t shun the memories, welcome them.  Comfortable?  No, not really.  But worth every uncomfortable moment, because in our minds we have the ability to go back beyond the incidents that took these people from us.  Back to playful times, tender times, good times.  I light a candle for each of them, express my gratitude to them for the roles they played in my life, and in rembrance of their lives, which of course, extended far, far beyond me.  It’s soothing.  Settling.  Showing honor or respect for departed loved ones is grace in action.  It’s also a poignant time when, in your memory, they’re with you again.


That’s far more constructive than negativity.  There’s dignity in addressing your tough times.  Not as a martyr or an angry bitter person but constructively.  Yes, you have to be open to the hurt, because you will first recall the departure or injury.  But beyond it, there is the reward of rembrance and memories that are good and those are held in the heart for far longer.


Whatever your tough time might be, you can get through it.  To get through it constructively, don’t deny the pain or challenges in it.  Acknowledge them, but don’t stop there, stuck in that awful place.  Keep moving.  Venture beyond, to the place of solutions, and experience all the life on the other side of the struggle.


Easy?  No.  Worthy?  Oh, yes. Essential, really.  Because we all are going to have tough times.  They’re inevitable.  And we know that how we get through them–the process and manner in which we face those times—determines the quality of our lives during tough times and on the other side, beyond them.



writing live


© 2014, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is Down and Dead in Dixie. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. www.vickihinze.com.



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