Feeling Hopeless? 7 Ways You Can Become Your Own Hero

“You are very powerful, provided you know how powerful you are.” — Yogi Bhajan

Can you remember a time when you felt completely helpless?

I do. It was the day my daughter was diagnosed with a serious digestive illness. The doctor told us in the hospital chapel, and he acted like it was a death sentence. His one and only solution was to hand us sets of harsh prescriptions.

I was in shock, and I knew deep down that something just didn’t add up. Her symptoms hadn’t even been that severe, although she had lost a significant amount of weight. What was happening to my little girl?

I turned to some of the most highly respected specialists, hoping to stumble upon one who was willing and able to think outside the prescription pad. Instead, the best any of them could do was offer a pill of a different color.

At that point, doctors seemed more like villains than the heroes I was hoping for. So, I took matters into my own hands.

The journey was long, and we had many ups and downs. With every step forward, we had to take a step back. I became concerned that my daughter would never lead a normal life, but we kept going and never gave up.

Then, something amazing happened. After four long years, we finally found the missing piece of her complicated health puzzle. Not only did our persistence and determination pay off, but my daughter got her life back! Her digestive system had healed, and the future was bright once again.

It was a true miracle.

After that experience, I realized that I could overcome almost any obstacle, as long as I set my mind to it. Now I know that no matter how unbearable or hopeless a situation may initially seem, I have the power to do something about it.

You do, too.

Here’s how to unleash your inner superhero, if and when you’re faced with a serious challenge of your own.

1. Act Like a Sea Star, Not a Wounded Bird.

While a wounded bird usually can’t heal on its own, a sea star regenerates its own limbs. It doesn’t have to wait for another sea star, or a human, to come to the rescue.

Doctors backed me into a corner when they implied there was no alternative to their short sighted, one-size-fits-all solution. One even accused me of being a bad mom. That’s when I knew that I had to empower myself to help my daughter as best I could.

The bottom line:

You don’t always need someone or something else to help you overcome your obstacle. Yes, outside help can be beneficial. But you have the power within you to seek and potentially find solutions to your problem. First, you must acknowledge that you have tremendous power within. Then, and only then, can you take steps to unleash it.

2. Remember: The World Is Your Oyster.

Did you know that oysters form pearls as a way to protect themselves from foreign substances, such as sand? Well, you could say that you have “pearls of wisdom” that give you the power to protect yourself and your loved ones.

It all starts with trusting your gut instincts. If I had ignored mine early on, then I would have missed an important clue that doctors’ advice could be more harmful than helpful to my daughter. And I would not have given myself a chance to connect the many dots that ultimately set her health free.

The bottom line:

Listen to your inner voice. Not only is it there to protect you, but it can guide you toward people, places, information, and ideas that can transform your life.

3. Dive Deep Into the Research.

Just think about how many expert opinions, and stories of real and imaginary people who have walked in similar shoes, are available in books and online resources. But the best ones are not always easy to find.

I can’t tell you how many books and articles I’ve read ever since my daughter was diagnosed. Some were helpful; others were not. But there was one book that truly changed, and quite possibly even saved, my daughter’s life. And countless others as well.

The bottom line:

To become your own hero, go above and beyond surface level information. Reading the right book or article can not only relieve stress, but also provide you with valuable guidance that you probably won’t find anywhere else.

4. Avoid Becoming Overwhelmed.

On the other hand, so much information is available these days that exposing yourself to too much of it can actually work against you. Confusion can lead to indecision, which can easily prevent you from moving forward.

I caught myself going down the rabbit hole many times during those four years. Eventually, I learned to nip it in the bud, using simple stress-reduction techniques. I would practice deep breathing, go for a walk, listen to music, cook, or write. The time away allowed me to see things with a fresh perspective.

The bottom line:

Stress relief is crucial during challenging times, and especially when negative thinking patterns set in. Try different techniques, and set aside time for them every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes. The mental break will do you good, so don’t feel guilty taking it.

5. Learn From Your Mistakes. (We All Make Them!)

While every decision and action may seem like a monumental task, in reality, you will likely go through a lot of trial and error before you find a complete solution. Be patient with yourself.

During our four-year journey, I made decisions based upon the limited information I had at the time. Nothing was ever clear-cut. I moved forward, knowing I’d make mistakes. And in the end, those mistakes allowed me to connect important dots and make the necessary adjustments.

The bottom line:

Do not strive for perfection. Learn from mistakes and move on. Fully immerse yourself in the journey, without allowing fear to paralyze you along the way.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help.

Sometimes, life can get so challenging that we isolate ourselves. And while a certain amount of alone time can be transformative, you should find a source of emotional support as well.

This was a tough one for me since most of my friends and family members just didn’t understand what I was going through, and seeing my daughter experience the same thing at such an awkward age was heartbreaking. But I got a lot of support from a handful of people, including some forward-thinking health care providers. I couldn’t have gotten through those four years without their help.

The bottom line:

Do what you need to do on your own, but don’t be afraid to ask for personal and/or professional support. Seek out people who lift you up, rather than pull you down.

7. Make Gratitude a Daily Habit.

When you stop and think about everything you have to be thankful for, the situation seems a lot less bleak. A little gratitude can go a long way. And true hero power cannot be unleashed without it!

It was my gratitude for having been blessed with such a wonderful family that fueled my every action during our four-year journey. I was reminded of it every day, when I looked at my two beautiful children. At times, I felt like a lion protecting her cub. Love motivated me from the core of my soul, each and every day.

The bottom line:

Every day, count on one hand five good things that are happening in your life. May they remind you of the five arms of a sea star. Jot them down in a journal, so you can revisit them anytime.

Do you believe you can become your own hero?

It’s not as hard as you might think.

And you don’t have to risk your life to do so.

Looking back on my experience with my daughter, it wasn’t any one grand, heroic gesture that turned her life around. It was small, consistent actions taken by both of us that ultimately got us where we needed to go.

It was our faith in a positive outcome, even when the path was unclear.

So, if and when life ever throws you a hopeless challenge, know that you can face it head on and make it through to the other side.

All you have to do is have faith in yourself, and make the decision to try.

Because no matter how difficult a situation may be and how helpless you may initially feel, there’s always hope. Even if you’ve hit rock bottom and have lost all faith in many of the people around you, the one person you can always count on is you.

As a true American hero, Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.”

If you believe in yourself, there’s nothing you can’t do!

This article courtesy of Tiny Buddha.

APA Reference 
Psych Central. (2016). Feeling Hopeless? 7 Ways You Can Become Your Own Hero. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 26, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/02/24/feeling-hopeless-7-ways-you-can-become-your-own-hero/

Originally published on PsychCentral.com on 24 Feb 2016

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