When Life is Not Going Well

When Life is Not Going Well. Psychology Fanatic article header image

We stagnate; we stumble; and we depress. Sometimes the joys of life aren’t so joyful. We need change and we need change now; but where do we start? Knowing something isn’t right and knowing how to change are not necessarily synonymous. Even when we know exactly what is wrong, tackling the snarling beast isn’t simple. A few failed attempts and we protectively cower into a helpless stupor. Life has outmatched us, and we are dumbfounded on the next move. However, we rarely render ourselves completely powerless. There is almost always an escape. There is hope even when life is not going well. Life is not complete nor is  failure eminent. In devastating moments of despair, we can’t keep trying to solve the same problem, the same way.

Navigating the particulars of complex human cultures requires knowledge, skill, and resilience. Most children are given a sufficient foundation to venture into the elaborate jungles of survival and prevail—procure employment, secure housing, and reasonably prepare for the future.

​Seldom does a child emerge into adulthood with so much preparation that life is easy. The struggle for survival intrudes on well-being, poking our solitude, and interrupting our joy.

“However, we rarely render ourselves completely powerless. There is almost always an escape. There is hope.”

~T. Franklin Murphy

Life Challenges

As we try to convert our time into money, our relationships into intimacy, and our desires into joys, we will face obstacles—on every turn. Here in the real world, we learn life is more than natural stages of advancement but constant hard-fought battles that must be won. We must be resilient, knowledgeable, skilled, and resourceful.

We are not always victorious. Often, we settle into a groove that works, only to find life changes and our comfortable routines have left us behind and burdened. Acknowledging our lack, our lingering position behind the pack, is disquieting. Emotions alarm of impending disaster, demanding change, and a plan of action. Shame, guilt, sorrow and anger all live here.

The problem with momentary disruptions is they set off an alarm. When we see life is not going well we panic. In regards to trying to improve a struggling relationships, Esther Hicks and Jerry Hicks wrote, “then, as they see evidence of things not going well, they lose their downstream direction, and things get worse and worse” (2007, Kindle location 127). Our reactions, fears, and victim focused attitudes, almost welcomes an inevitable disaster as soon as we see trouble. It is as is we say yo ourselves, “I knew this would happen.” And then we crumble.

We must understand the differences between a bump in the road and the end of the road. A bump means we nay need to make adjustments, a common occurrence in any significant journey.

Emotional Regulation and Success

​The most telling sign of success is how a person responds to these emotions. Are they charged with action or protective with excuses? Do they seek novel solutions or cowardly escapes? We find the deepest ruts of failure in these well-traveled paths. The repeated responses of kicking against the pricks—revolving relationships, stagnating careers, accumulating debts, and destroying vices.

Every now and then, those stuck in the merry-go-round of sorrow are jolted into action. Something a little worse happens and they are motivated to escape, to jump over the confining walls of subpar existence and the comfort of the stinking morass of sorrows. The motivation fails to last. They try the same escape routines to lose weight, improve careers, abandon the bottle, or leave the abuser and end up right back where they began, digging the rut a little deeper. Relying on occasional shots of motivation alone doesn’t work. Success demands we recognize the dead-end alley before we crash into the wall.

Life sends of signals, but we must be wise enough to know those momentary bursts of energy are insufficient; they burn out. We must channel these blessed moments into new and novel solutions, building new resources, strengthening resolves, and better budgeting of this brief window. For the junkie, the momentary power to avoid a fix will not continue indefinitely.

​In addiction, we must utilize passing moments of sobriety and clear mindedness to reconstruct our environment to better resist the maddening desires to relapse. The courageous escape from an abuser can quickly fizzle into a desperate return without the garnering support of others. The resolve to better one’s career may start with a bang, arriving early and leaving late, but without a more comprehensive plan, the early mornings soon dwindle back to the same lackadaisical approach.

Books On Responding to Challenges

Integrating Life

We cannot dissect our well-being cannot into non-connected parts. The whole is always greater than parts. When we routinely run into stubborn roadblocks, wisdom teaches to take a different approach. In a recent article I wrote about the nine pillars of well-being. Often escape from a persistent problem requires focusing attention (during those momentary moments of motivation) on a different pillar, building strength, confidence and hope from efforts that succeed. For example, we may find we improve our relationship woes through implementing an exercise routine.

Change is never easy. When things are not working, the sorrow may motivate change. We take advantage of these momentary bursts to increase skill, set maintainable patterns and keep the positive movement alive. We can do something different; we can make things work again; we can enjoy the beauties of living.

Join 50.2K other subscribers


Hicks, Esther; Hicks, Jerry (2007). The Astonishing Power of Emotions: Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide (Law of Attraction Book 4). Hay House Inc.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from Psychology Fanatic

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue Reading