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  • Writer's pictureKaren Divya Shekar

Toughening Up

Updated: May 28, 2023

2022 saw me toughen up. With the year slowly drawing to a close, I thought it was time to measure my “progress”, so to speak. This is the year I landed my second job. It is with a digital marketing agency, something I was keen on pursuing as I take baby steps towards putting back my career and my life.

I am rather happy to note that I have managed to come out of the deep rut I had sank into as of 2016-2020. I have found a modicum sense of purpose with my work.

Though I lost everything, I haven’t lost myself.

So, on that happy note, I’d like to talk about how to toughen up after you have healed from the blows that Life sometimes deals you.

There are more bad days than good

In the process of recovery, I’d like to mention that there are more bad days than good. The bad days are when you believe the worst of everybody, of yourself, of God, of your friends and family.

You believe that life has no meaning, it has no purpose, no end, and no joy.

These are some of the toughest moments to process and get through.

I coped with them by napping whenever things became too overwhelming. I know that sounds so escapist, but believe me when you wake up, you usually forget the mood altogether. So, sleep off the bad moods and wake up having forgotten.

I learnt from plants

My plants have taught me lessons I could not have learnt any other way. A good plant comes from good seed. And even that is no indication of survival. If a plant does well enough in life, only 40% credit goes to the gardener.

The rest depends on the plant.

Is it willing to grow? Is it willing to fight disease? Is it willing to put in deep roots? Plants with deep roots always triumph over those that don’t. I have seen it happen all the time!

I grew tough mentally.

I don’t ever recall being mentally “weak”. From a young age I coped with a lot of challenges very easily. And I know I could’ve pulled through this one, except for one time. I know now that I am going to. I’m not going to back down, nor am I going to lose.

I have a more positive outlook

After having dealt with a lot of negative thoughts, I have slowly told myself to hope for good things and a better future. Negative thoughts can eat into your self-esteem and hope for a future. It can make you cynical and very bitter as a person. I dealt with negativity in a strange way. I “bribed” myself to say and believe positive things. The more negativity you see, the worse life seems to be, so you need to counteract this with positive memories. Anyone who has read Harry Potter will know that the right way to counter the Dementors was to think of happy thoughts.

I learnt how to handle people

This is one of the nicest things I learnt this past year. I learnt how to keep people at a comfortable distance and yet maintain healthy relationships with them. I realised that if I wanted something to remain a secret, it was not to leave my lips. An old lesson. Learnt in school so many years ago.

Also, I learnt that to survive, one doesn’t have to depend on others. One can find that internal coping strength deep inside.

You can choose to heal. You can choose to survive. And you can choose to live again. Which was the theme for this year. Putting back the pieces that have broken and shattered.

I am proud of myself for coming this far in life. It’s time now for me to explore and conquer lost ground.

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