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We all face hardships and difficult times in life, struggles that can leave us feeling broken or hopeless in this dark and sometimes frightening world. However, don’t despair. If you’re standing on the edge, debating throwing in the towel and settling for whatever mediocre life you feel you are cursed to live, it’s time to reframe your thinking.

If there was some secret to avoiding all struggle and challenges in life I would happily share it with you. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. What I can share, however, is the reality that you are more capable than you may see at this moment. You owe it to yourself to keep plugging forward, even when you question whether you have the strength to take one more step.

When you feel as though you are ready to give up, remember these 12 things:

#1 – Positive thinking doesn’t mean denying the existence of negativity in the world.

This is a common misconception, but an important one to understand. When someone is telling you to think positively, they don’t actually expect you to deny that there is any negativity in this world. Instead, it involves recognizing the negativity in the world and then choosing to push past it. You can’t overcome if you don’t first acknowledge its existence.

#2 – Just a little extra effort can make all the difference.

If you feel stuck in your career, take a look at someone who is succeeding. Have you ever wondered what’s different between the two of you? It all comes down to the little extra effort they are willing to put into everything that they do. It doesn’t have to be anything major, but don’t settle for ‘good enough’ when you know you can do better.

#3 – The toughest times build the strongest people.

This may sound like some cheesy saying designed to downplay your struggles, there is some truth to this. When you are going through challenges in life, it will force you to get in touch with a side of yourself you may not otherwise be familiar with. You discover your inner strength, your resilience, your problem-solving skills and more. Someone who is aware of these traits is far more successful, as they are able to then use them in their efforts to overcome life’s struggles.

#4 – Life is an ever-changing journey of highs and lows.

If you are currently going through a time of struggle, feeling as though everything you once held dear is falling apart, rest assured that this is time will pass. Life is a journey, filled with incredible highs and life-altering lows. The one thing that is true throughout it all, however, is that we are always moving forward. If you are in a dark stage of your life now, the light is waiting just around the next corner. Just keep moving forward and you will find it.

#5 – There is a massive difference between ‘I give up’ and ‘I’ll try again’, make your choice wisely.

We are all going to experience a time in our lives when we question whether we can continue to keep pushing forward. You can’t control what’s happening at that moment, we all face challenges, but you can control how you choose to react to it. Rather than throwing in the towel, brush yourself off and give it another try. You may be one more attempt away from all your goals and dreams, wouldn’t it be a shame to throw it all away when you’re so close?

#6 – There is no point in worrying about that which is yet to come.

Too many people spend their lives wrapped up in anxiety about the future, but at this present time, the life before us is still out of our hands. You can’t change tomorrow and worrying isn’t going to make a difference. So why accept this negative form of thinking? Instead, focus your time and energy on the only time that you can change, today. This very moment in time. Learn to appreciate the little details, opening your eyes to the many great things around you.

#7 – You don’t have to engage in every drama that you encounter in life.

The world that we live in is filled with drama, most of it completely petty and unnecessary. However, there are those who feed off this toxic energy and for that reason, you will encounter this drama every day of your life. This is where the choice is yours – will you engage in this drama, or move past it and spare yourself the trouble? There will be situations that require your attention but learn to pick your battles.

#8 – Give yourself permission to experience joy in this life.

It’s time for a little tough love. If you feel as though there is something standing between you and your happiness, preventing you from enjoying all that this life has to offer, this may be true. However, the barrier that is keeping you from happiness may not be what you expect. Take a long, hard look at your life, because that barrier may actually be you. There is no justifiable reason to deny yourself joy, so, it’s time to let go. Focus on the reasons you have to be happy, not the negativity around you. Most importantly, give yourself permission to embrace this happiness.

#9 – Love is the real power that makes this world go ‘round.

When we look at the way our world operates, and the ultimate quest for success and happiness, there are many aspects of life people point to as ‘the secret’. You may find yourself focused on fame or fortune or measuring success by the size of your house or the car you drive. However, the true secret to happiness and success is love. The love of others, a love for what you do and a love for the destination that you are working towards. If this is missing, it’s time to step back and listen to your heart.

#10 – Every relationship is going to have its tough times.

If you are currently struggling in a relationship, whether it’s a romantic connection, a friendship or the relationship you share with a family member, you don’t have to allow this to define you. In fact, every relationship will see tough times. Every pair will fight. If not, then one (or both) of you is holding back and failing to be honest. These disagreements may be rough at the time, but our connection is stronger on the other side.

#11 – Courage and strength aren’t always bold and loud.

We all know that person, the one who screams strength and bravery, able to overcome anything that life throws their way, and to do so while holding their head high, a fire in their eyes. Don’t let this fool you, however, there are plenty of others in this life that exhibit strength and courage each and every day, they just aren’t as obvious. Courage may manifest as the little choices you make each day, the baby steps in the right direction. Or simply finding the strength to get up and get out of bed each morning. Never downplay your courage.

#12 – You control your thoughts and your focus in this life.

If you find yourself completely preoccupied with negative thinking, you don’t have to feel powerless. In fact, there is only one person who has control over your thoughts, and that’s you. Happiness is a choice. You don’t have to engage in the stress and toxic energy of the world around you. Instead, choose to focus your attention on your accomplishments, where you are going and the many great things along the way. There is no greater stress relief.