Life will always be full of ups and downs. How we react to them will determine our level of joy in life. They both can teach us a great deal if we pay attention to them.

Peaks and Valleys

If I didn’t experience the highs and lows of life, I’d have nothing to write about. This brings me to the topic of today’s post: How to deal with life’s ups and downs.

There is not a single person on this planet who hasn’t suffered a setback, disappointment, or hardship in some capacity. As human beings, we all run the risk of encountering that dreaded roll down the dark abyss of personal turmoil. We’ve all heard the saying that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. I firmly believe this to be true.

Throughout life, we will meet up with lessons that come in many forms. I can say with utmost confidence that if it wasn’t for the downs in my life, I’d not be as strong as I am today. I have never grown as much as when I’ve stood in the valley of some pretty tall peaks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stood on those peaks, and felt invincible, thinking I’d learned my lessons and fully deserved to remain in the coveted position where the sun never ceased to shine its love and brilliance.

I believe those moments of standing under warm rays and being tickled by gentle breezes are treats meant to shower us in that ever-important feeling of winning.

Peaks and Valleys – Wins and Losses

Wins are critical. They keep us mentally in the game. They allow for the necessary rest in between long journeys. They give us something to recall in those moments we are challenged. They are the beacon of light we all head towards. Wins are as necessary as losses.

Through losses, we learn the most important lessons. We learn about the fragility of life, love, friendship and trust. We gain a sense of humility that, I believe, makes us more connected as human beings. We understand that to every action there is a consequence, and that we are not islands onto our self, but that our actions affect others.

We travel along winding pathways, full of obstacles and surprises, and never know what life is going to toss at us next. Some may view this as scary. Let’s face it, the unknown, with all its threats to our current circumstances, can derail a peaceful journey in a snap.

I, for one, have spent time on top of those peaks fearful of what could come and pull me from its luxury and comfort. That fear does nothing to keep my feet safely in contact with the high ground. It only serves to undermine that temporary win and that deserved moment when I can smile up at a bright blue sky and take in its magnificence.

Everything is Temporary

The secret to enjoying a beautiful life will never be in the strength of saving it, but solely in the magic of building it. – Sandcastles, by Suzie Carr

Just as that win is temporary, so are the losses. When we find ourselves bent over an unforgiving patch of brambles in the valley, instead of becoming a helpless victim to its darkness, we can choose to dig deep into that place deep inside ourselves where love resides, and realize we will climb to our feet and get through the tangles of this temporary web.

When life buries us, we have to remember that it’s not over until we say it’s over (borrowed from the inspiring Les Brown). We have complete control over how we react to life’s twists and turns. It’s life, so we have to expect them. This journey will never be one that is straight-forward. We are going to encounter challenges. People are going to disappoint us. We’re going to rise and we’re going to fall. These are guarantees.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind:

We’re going to spend a lot more time on the pathways in between the peaks and valleys. This is where we find the treasures that will see us through those temporary moments when we find ourselves downtrodden.

This is where we collect the gifts that feed our souls and remind us that life, even with all of its hardships, is worth embracing.

If we can learn to fill our hearts with discovery, we’ll never fear losing grip on the peaks or tumbling into the valleys again. We’ll realize that every single situation is a gift granted to us on our journey of self-discovery.

The more revealing the journey, the more gems we get to collect.

Six tips to help you through the peaks and valleys

Find your power source

When life starts to “eff” with me, I turn to physical exertion. I climb steps or break out into a series of pushups. Both give me power and offer an outlet for my stress. I take control back by setting the course. There is tremendous empowerment gained when we take the reins and decide what action will be taken. We are no longer victims, but warriors who protect the gift of our life.

View life as a journey

God-willing, the majority of our time will be spent journeying on the pathways in between the peaks and valleys. So much resides on these paths, and they are there for our guidance and protection. Travel lightly without much baggage, allowing for peace to settle into your heart as you take in the lessons and insights.

Ask yourself two important questions

What is good about this situation and what am I learning from it? When you ask yourself a question, your brain is going to go into search mode to find an answer. When you angle your question in such a positive way, you shine the light on the positive and block out the negative.

Determine if your actions are matching your goals

When life tosses you a glitch along the way to your dreams will you let it stop you or will you learn the lesson and not give up? How you react will determine your success. If you want to advance, throwing a tantrum will not move you in the forward direction.

Analyze how far you’ve come

It helps to looks back and see how far you’ve come on your journey. This is not to say you should live in the past. It is to say you should take a moment and reflect on the lessons and insights you’ve gained. It’s important to pause and reflect.

Treat yourself as you would a loved one

When life hits you over the head with an unfair blow you can easily fall down to your knees and wallow. If you witnessed a loved one suffering as so, what would you do? Would you allow the injustice to settle in and take over? Likely, you’d extend your hand and lift her up in love. You owe the same love and compassion to yourself.

Over to you: How have you dealt with the peaks and valleys?