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Things Can't Always go Our Way

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Do you wonder why bad things happen to good people? Or sometimes no matter how hard you try, things don’t go right? Do you feel like giving up?

There aren’t always easy answers to life’s problems. Sometimes it can be hard to see the bigger picture when we are stuck in the middle of a bad situation. It can feel like there is no way out.

If we feel stuck, it can help to take some time to sit back, do some self-care and then re-evaluate things when we are in a better state of mind. When you are angry or depressed about something, it is hard to find solutions, often our minds just find more problems.

When you are struggling, you need to be more gentle with yourself than ever. Accept that it's ok not to have all the answers right now. Accept that things are messy, or seem unmanageable. The solution to our problems might not be immediately obvious.

Take a break to reevaluate

Taking some time to take a step back can help. Realize that things don't need to be solved right this minute, although it may feel that way. Taking some time to think things over often can bring us clearer answers than we have in the moment.

When I first got divorced, my ex used to send me these emails that always had a sense of urgency to them, and at first I always responded in the moment when I was still upset about what he was asking, and it led to quite a lot of arguments.

Eventually though, a friend pointed out to me that just because he had a sense of urgency about what he was asking, it didn't mean that I needed to take on the same attitude. It was ok to let the email sit overnight, or even for a few days, before I responded.

That way, I had a chance to calm down mentally and emotionally before responding. This allowed me to reply in a calm and collected manner, to problem solve before I got into an argument with him. When I was able to do this, to slow down, I could emotionally detach from the situation and come up with better solutions to whatever was going on.

A lot of times with him it was about money, and he was always asking for more. It just got to me because I was spending so much after our divorce to keep things afloat, when he had more money than I did, though I couldn't prove that. It got me upset because I felt like I had to work so much harder at things than he did.

Learning to emotionally detach from the financial decisions allowed me to have a sense of calm, to pay what needed to be paid for, without feeling like it was an affront to the hard work that I needed to do to maintain his lifestyle post-divorce.

Eventually, by responding calmly and coolly I was able to get more calm responses from him as well, and his requests became less frequent when I didn't immediately jump to do whatever he was asking of me.

So, the lesson I learned was to detach from the situation, take care of myself emotionally, and come back to things later.

Give yourself time

In this fast-paced world of texts and emails, there are frequently times we feel like we must respond right away. However, we only get pulled into that sense of urgency if we allow it. It is alright to tell someone that you need some amount of time to think things over before replying.

You can tell them, "I need to think about that and I will get back to you." You can also specify a time frame for your response, from a few hours to a few days. This way, they won't keep asking you before you are ready, and if they do, you can feel free to ignore them because you have already set a boundary.

Setting boundaries for others is also important when dealing with difficult decisions or difficult people. It is ok to tell people no, or ask them to wait for you to be ready to do something. You don't have to respond immediately just because it is asked of you.

Even when it comes to business, it is ok to make it clear that certain demands on your time are too much. You can say no to answering texts or emails outside of business hours, and set the expectation that you need to have work-life balance.

If people aren't able to have patience with you when you need it, it is ok to physically or emotionally detach from those people. It is reasonable to want to put your mental health first.

Your own wellbeing is your most important asset. Your peace, your calm, your happiness are allowed to be your priorities. Don't let anyone make you question this. You are the only one living your life, and the only one making your decisions. So, you are allowed to set yourself up for success by putting practices into place that allow you to make calm decisions.

So, when things aren't going your way, take some time to step back from the situation.

This can allow you to regain a sense of calm, and to be able to think things through with a clear head. Once you are able to think about things calmly and rationally, often an answer will come to you that is better than your first knee-jerk response in the moment.

We don't always do our best thinking on the fly. That is why it is important to take some time to work on your own mindset about a situation first, before working through the problem itself.

Things get messy sometimes

Not all problems have easy solutions. Sometimes you will have to do hard things, or even things you really don't like. But if you have walked into the middle of a proverbial mud puddle, you will have to walk out again before you can clean yourself off.

If you have gotten into a bad situation for whatever reason, you may have to deal with a bit more unpleasantness in trying to get yourself out, before things can get good again.

Like with the example of my divorce. I was in that marriage for many years. While I was getting out, things were a mess for a while. But eventually I got the mess cleared up and was able to live a better life. It didn't happen overnight. In fact, it took a couple of years for things to become a new, better normal than they had been.

But if you stick with the status quo, and just do what is expected of you, then you will keep yourself stuck in the problem.

I could have stayed in my marriage, not rocked the boat, and continued on being miserable. When I chose to leave, things did get worse for a while. But eventually they got better.

You sometimes have to wait for that eventuality to come. You have to go through the bad times to get to the better times that are waiting afterward.

Any complicated problem may take time to solve. And while you are solving it, things might be messy for a while.

The thing is, learning to be strong enough to accept that messiness as the price you pay to get to the prize that comes afterward.

Don't compare yourself

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Like when you are running a course that lasts for several miles, you may get tired along the way. You may need to rest for a little while and rehydrate before you keep going. But eventually if you keep going you make it to the finish line.

You might see other people running faster than you are, without needing to stop and rest. You might get jealous of those people and wonder why things are easier for them than they are for you.

The point is though, only you are running your race.

That other person may have run many other races before this one and trained for years to be able to run far and fast. They may have had to stop and rest in their first race too. That is why you can't compare your progress to other people. You don't know their history or where they have been. They may once have been struggling too, you just weren't there to see their struggle.

So if you think things are getting too difficult and you feel like giving up, remember, you don't have to stop forever. Just stop long enough to rest before you keep going again.

The importance of self-care

Rest and self-care are critical when you are struggling. This is when you need to take care of yourself better than ever. You can practice self-care by setting boundaries and saying no. Or, you can use other self-care practices:

  • Taking a walk in nature

  • Reading a book

  • Calling a good friend

  • Spending time with a pet

  • Drinking hot tea or coffee

  • Taking a long, hot bath

  • Going to a therapist

  • Practicing mindfulness, meditation or yoga

  • Going to the gym

  • Taking a nap

Or, anything else that makes you feel good about yourself. When you make time for self-care, you will get feeling better mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

When you feel a sense of wellness, it brings a bit of peace and wholeness to you inside. And, when you feel better inside, you will be stronger in the face of a difficult situation. This allows you to handle things better than you would have if you were mentally and physically exhausted.


There are many ways to handle difficult situations with a calm head. You can take some time to reevaluate, give yourself breaks, realize that things may be messy for a while, stop comparing yourself to other people, and take time out for self-care.

All of these are ways to take a step back from a difficult situation, so that you are able to face it with a calm head and a sense of inner strength. The stronger and more rested you feel, the better decisions you will be able to make.

So, although stopping and taking a break from the situation may feel difficult in the moment, it may serve you best in the long run. Remember, you want to do what is best for yourself and your future, and it is easier to do that if you feel calm and at ease than if you are feeling pressured.

This can apply to relationships, work, or almost anything else that you come up against in life. Making sure to take care of yourself, and to protect yourself and set boundaries will always serve you well in the long run, even if you have to go through some messiness to get there.

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