Surviving Life – Maintaining happiness throughout the struggle

There’s no way of denying that life can be realllll shitty at times. Most people experience a form of trauma at some stage of their life. It can be very overwhelming coping with some of the stresses that life throws at us sometimes. Personally, I have had my fair few stressful situations. But the one that affected me the most was living in poverty… below the breadline.

Now let’s not jump to conclusions, I’m not talking about poverty on the level of homelessness. I’m talking about this ‘first world’ level of poverty. The type that will have you sitting on a £1500 sofa, watching a £600 TV whilst discussing potentially losing your house and how to find money for food. I was raised in a single parent household; my mother an absolute grafter, was the provider for my brother and I. Most of my childhood and early teenager years I’d say we were doing okay financially from my perspective. It was when I started to hit 16/17 that things became a struggle. Becoming aware of adult level problems and losing the innocence of your childhood can be a massive shock to the system and some people struggle with this more than others.  When you are young, you receive gifts from your parents and you know… the food is just there magically. But you don’t fully grasp the blood, sweat and tears that a lot of single mothers go through to maintain their household and to put food on the table for their children. 

This is me in the middle with the dodgy hairstyle with my siblings and my dad.

So yeah… growing up is tough. The reason why I call it first world poverty is because from an outside perspective everything seems normal. You have a may have a car … the three-bedroom terraced house and even nice clothes. But did I have food to eat within that house? A lot of the time no. Could we afford heating during the winter? lol definitely not. It became a constant battle of putting money on the electric key and the gas meter only for it to go off a few days later and we sometimes had no way of finding money to put the electric on or the heating. I’ll keep it real there was times when we had to sell things in order to get a bit of money to tide us over. This type of lifestyle will rob you of all of your dignity especially if you are a proud person. There were many times when I would have to ask if I could bathe at my friend’s house and they would also give me food to cook at home so we had something to eat. Situations like this help to form the deepest of bonds between people. So, I’m sure you can get the idea… it was tough for a while. But despite living that kind of lifestyle, I don’t look back and focus on what I didn’t have to eat and the times when I could see my breath in the air, it was so cold in my bedroom.

The luxuries and gifts stopped coming and for a good few years we didn’t exchange birthday or Christmas gifts to each other. I think my family has been lucky because we do have a close bond. So having Christmas without presents under the tree never bothered me personally. But I can imagine for my mum it was hard because parents do feel a huge responsibility to provide for the family. But this is where the deepest lessons I have learned were formed. It was never a case of what didn’t I have… always a case of how can I work harder and bring more money into my household? 

Going through tough times and situations where you feel like life is just punishing you, that is the opportunity to discover yourself. These are the situations that tests your character and allow you to confront yourself. Happiness is something that you have to create for yourself. Can you be poor and be happy, 100%. It is about learning to accept yourself as you are when everything is stripped back… no distractions. You can develop unlimited potential within yourself. Let me clarify, my point is… the times when life is pushing up on you and you feel shiiiit. This is the type of situation that allows you to dig deep and get creative. You start to discover skills you never thought you had. And when you are short of money you have to get resourceful anyway. 

Resilience is a skill that will help to get you through these tough times. Being able to bounce back from setbacks and still see the beauty in your life, that is no small task.  After many losses and sets back, I have reached a stage where I have the ability to change my perspective. I never take an L, as every situation for me is the opportunity to learn, rediscover and adapt myself to the course that life has put me on. 

Here are some helpful tasks that can help you to change your perspective: 

Create a list of positives 

If you are struggling to see the positives of a situation, sit down and get out some paper. Write down your biggest loss, did you just lose your job or maybe a bad breakup. Now create some headings such as short-term benefits and long-term benefits. Once you have completed your list, keep it! You can always refer back to it when you’re feeling low or just need a reminder to slow down and gain some perspective.  

 Visualisation 

This doesn’t work for everyone as some people are more visual than others, but if this is your type of thing, create a detailed summary of what you want your life to look like in a specific time. One of my visualisations is a full fridge, I know that may sound weird but after going through the experience of being hungry and not having money to buy food. I need to have food in my house to feel content and secure.

There are going to be times that you feel like giving up and struggle to see the light at the end of tunnel but do not give up. Everyone is entitled to a bad day, and they will come. Lets support each other and continue to Rise! 

Remember risers, We never take an L !! 

L = Loss  

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How Stephen Sutton Can Inspire Us All

Stephen Sutton really is an inspiration he raised an amazing amount of money for the teenage cancer trust. Not only did he achieve his goal but he really did inspire so many people and his achievement has demonstrated how many people can make small individual efforts to reach a common goal.

He managed to raise over 3million pound and 1 million of that was literally in a few days. This is a perfect example of how young people can unite to raise a common goal. It’s time to stop looking at your peers as competition; you know the saying strength in numbers….

We need to join together with mutual goals and create new opportunities. You should evaluate what your goals are in life and try to reach out to people who are like minded. For example you could arrange for 3 friends to chip in together to buy a van and insurance… Get a few interested clients and that is the beginning of a removal company.

There is a shortage of jobs for us so we need to create them for ourselves. We should aim to recreate the enthusiasm that his cause created. He really did appeal to the empathetic side of people’s nature. You will be surprised at how many people may share the same goals as you all you have to do is reach out… You never know where it may take you. Look at Stephen, his unfortunate circumstances lead him to start his fundraising goal but it was his strength and passion for the cause that was able to make it as successful as it is.

On that note, here’s the link to Stephen’s just giving page if you would like to donate a small amount towards his cause.

https://www.justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-tct

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