Does Life Actually Get Better?

It's Going to Get Better The Best You PAL Academy pre-health life advising and coaching

These days, many of us are feeling down, depressed, scared, overwhelmed … all kinds of difficult to process and handle emotional states.

Wouldn’t it just be lovely if life was one constantly wonderful breath of fresh air and everything going right?  But it isn’t, and it doesn’t.  That’s the nature of life in all of its diversity and complexity.

I don’t have all of the answers, and I can’t fix everything … but I’m life-battle-tested, and I’ve gained experience and insight that I hope can help you.  So first let me set the stage.  I know when you look at me now, you most likely see a bubbly, lively, happy, SQUEE, PINK human oozing positivity who could have never been through hell and come out the other side like I am today.  So clearly, what could I possibly know???  And what could I have to offer???

Well, it’s true that I am a very SQUEE human these days when I think about the life I’ve built and how far I’ve come.  But there was a time …  A time when life was harder.  So hard that I even seriously considered ending it all.  I’m not going to turn this into a depressing, heavy-on-the-dramatics autobiography of holy-shit, that really sucked.  But to summarize, there was poverty, neglect, abuse, hunger … tremendous family drama and trauma that drove me to leave home as a teen.  I lived on the streets, in apartments without electricity, hot water, or appliances.  But I was excited to be surviving on my own – kind of.  My weekly grocery allotment from working 3 part-time, minimum wage jobs, every waking moment that I could, was $10.  That got me ice for my cooler, a box of cereal, jug of milk, loaf of bread, and a jar of peanut butter or package of cheese slices – each week.  So, not a lot of food.  No phone.  No TV.  Not a lot of things.  Just work and my hope for something better.  At that time, I had crap for self-esteem and no self-confidence.  I got walked on a lot.  Boyfriends and people who took easy advantage.  There’s more, but I think you get the idea.  My life wasn’t always the PINK that it is now.  And in all of that, I remember a time or … actually a few, when I thought, What’s the point?  Giving up looked so appealing.  My life was a wreck, and I couldn’t fathom ever being happy or successful.

Thank goodness for every benevolent human with kinds words of support, the occasional meal and roof over my head, and even hugs.  One of those wonderful people said words to me that I am certain kept me alive.  He said, “If this is it … if this is your rock bottom … then the only place you have left to go … is UP!  So hang in there.  It will get better.”

Years of hard work and determination, finding myself, learning to like and love myself, caring about me and who I was becoming … joining the military to get a life-leg up … getting an education starting in my local community college, one class at a time, until I built a more secure environment for myself, then full-time.  Then a medium-sized liberal arts college.  Then Big Ten for my senior year.  I went from stuck on the streets to becoming a 4.0 earning, merit- and scholarship-honored graduate of Michigan State University.  And then on to graduate school at the University of Michigan.  My beginnings almost guaranteed failure.  I was the kid who was never supposed to succeed.  But I did.

I lived through it.  Overcame it.  And now I live with happiness in my heart, and a hopefulness for getting to share it with you.

And so if that can render me any shred of cred, then let me share with you my insight … with my sincere hope to help.

Sometimes things go wrong.  You try real hard, but your efforts get smacked down, and you’re left bruised and battered.  You can find yourself in a slump feeling zero, zilch, nada for motivation.  When this happens it can be super hard to pull yourself out of the funk.  And it can lead to a “Why me?” moment.  And you can even start feeling worse, maybe even self-pity.  If this does happen, don’t be even harder on yourself.  It’s natural – reasonable – to take an emotional hit.  And for a moment in time, it’s okay.  When we experience loss, disappointment, sadness … anything of the kind … we need time to process it.  To cope.  And to get our bearings back.

But the real danger exists of falling onto the downward spiral of uber self-destructive negativity.  And you don’t need that – even if in your funk, you might feel like you want it.

Keep in mind that your life needs you to process, cope, and heal from these “things go wrong” times, so you can move forward.  And this is where it can get super hard.  Especially when your motivation hits rock bottom.  It’s tough.  It’s your life.  And your responsibility to get back in there and fix it.  But sometimes, we need help.  I’ve learned the value and the amazing power of a support network.  Even when mine has been nothing more than a stranger, passing in the night, but offering a helping hand.

But if I may, I offer to you … invest!  Invest in you.  Invest in the good people around you.  I’ve learned that most people seem to have a helluva time building positive relationships with others.  Communication – actually talking to and sharing with another person.  Caring.  Knowing that none of us are perfect, but that we have “our people” out there.  People who value what we value.  People who want to try.  Who want to help.  Who want to be a part of something more than being alone and lonely.  Build your community … your peeps.  Your tribe.  Your support network.  Whatever you want to call it.  But invest in and build positive relationships … connectivity!  And when things go wrong, and you have a hard time coping and getting back up, then your peeps will care … and they will be there for you!!!

The bottom line is that if you want out of the funk, then you are going to have brush off your knees and get back up.  Let go of the baggage holding you down.  Find your willpower.  Your reasons for wanting this thing – this life thing – your happiness – your success.  And you are going to have to make it happen.  You can either do this alone, or you can do it together.

I’ve learned the power and value of my peeps!  My group has never been big, and it has often been transient.  But when I’ve needed it most, people have been there for me, and they will for you, too!

Know that your life is waiting for you to be the positive change and impact you need.  And that you can do it!!!  It will get better!!!  It may take time, but you’ve got this!!!

And just in case you don’t have anyone else, yet, to hug you and to let you know you are strong enough, you are good enough, you are special, and you are needed, then let me squeeze you tight and hold you until you can stand again.

My very best wishes to you always, for your healthiness, happiness, and success!

Big Hugs,

Mary Kate

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Mary Kate Kopec · Copyright © 2018. All rights Reserved.

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