The feeling is like a void … an empty black hole that you’re being dragged towards.
You feel tears well up inside of you. Grief claws at your throat as it tightens. Numbness starts to creep into your body. You know that no one can possibly understand the pain that you’re experiencing. Even when you’re surrounded by people, you feel completely and utterly alone. As you look around at the world, you realize that very little brings you true joy. Life feels grey, dull, and flat. The feeling of loss and unhappiness that you carry inside eats at your heart like boiling acid little by little. Piece by piece, you feel yourself crumble apart. Sometimes it feels too unbearable.
Can you relate to what I’ve just written? If so, this article is for you.
What I just wrote was a description of a profoundly bleak and dark period of my life in which I lost everything that I had ever known: my religious faith, my trust in life, my home, and my entire family. So this article isn’t just another feel-good piece, it’s written from the first-hand experience of a person who has fought battles alone for years, and has learned how to keep moving forward, no matter what.
In this article, I want to help ignite that fire within you again to KEEP GOING. While I’m not claiming to be able to solve all your problems, I will share with you everything I’ve learned so far about how to stay strong.
Types of Battles That We Fight Alone
If you’re fighting inner battles, you’ll know that no matter who you have in your life – no matter how caring others are towards you – the empty black hole within you is still there. You will realize that although others can try to help, they can never really fully understand the kind of suffering you’re going through. The grief, loss, anxiety, or depression still remains.
As such, here are the most common types of battles that we fight alone:
- Death of a loved one
- Romantic breakups
- Chronic sickness
Is this list complete? No. I just want to help create some clarity – and if you can identify with any of these struggles, all the better.
How to Keep Moving Forward When You’re Fighting Battles Alone
It’s not easy walking alone.
The hardest walk you can ever take in this life is the walk you make alone.
But it is THIS solitary path that makes you the strongest.
It is THIS solitary path that makes you the wisest.
It is this solitary path that forges a soul that knows how to never give up – even when the odds are against you.
Remember that the strongest and fiercest wolves are those who stand alone. Even when you feel weak, remember, standing alone takes STRENGTH.
Even when you’ve been struggling for YEARS, remember that you have qualities that few can understand or admire because most haven’t fought to survive alone.
Here’s how to keep moving forward when you’re fighting battles alone:
1. If you throw me to the wolves, I’ll come back leading the pack
This is one of the most empowering sayings of all time in my opinion. When you say this to yourself, you feel like a motherf*cking WARRIOR. So use it to your advantage – you can even adopt it as a daily mantra. This statement means that no matter what other people or life throws at you, you will 100% own it. Not only will you own it, but you will accept the challenge and make it your single-minded mission to overcome it. YOU CAN DO THIS. Embrace the role of the lone wolf and fiercely challenge anything that threatens to destroy you.
2. Take every day one step at a time
Put one foot in front of the other. Forget about the past, forget about the future. Focus only on the next step, one after the other. Take every day one at a time. This will help to ground, focus, and empower you. Practice mindfulness and keep going.
3. Scream or ROAR
The whole “letting go and finding self-love” thing can wait for later … right now we’re in full survival mode. One of the best primal ways to keep moving forward is to literally scream or roar. Find a private place, such as in your car, an empty lot, or in your house when no one is there, stand in a powerful stance (such as with your arms wide) and scream or roar. Do it as loudly as you can. Let go of being “civilized.” Feel the pain and also the simultaneous power surge through you. THIS is the power you will be using to move forward. Do this every day as it is extremely cathartic and empowering.
4. Be a warrior, not a victim
A victim argues with life, a warrior embraces it. A victim dwells in the past, a warrior lives in the present. A victim believes they’re helpless, a warrior takes back control over their life. Although the victim mentality is addictive, the warrior mentality is much more empowering in the long term. Once you start seeing yourself as a warrior, you’ll feel empowered to keep moving forward, no matter what. Living as a warrior is much more refreshing and inspiring than living as a victim who wallows in self-pity.
5. When it all gets too much, BREATHE
When you feel like you’re on the brink of a breakdown, STOP and BREATHE. Focus on nothing but breathing in and out. Block out everything else around you. Cut off completely from your thoughts. Just focus on your stomach rising and falling … nothing else. Why does this work? Because focusing on the breath helps to ground you and take you out of your head and feelings. If focusing on the breath doesn’t help, listen to some music or distract yourself with an absorbing activity. Just find any way you can to disconnect from your thoughts.
6. Listen to empowering / emotional music
One of the greatest things that helped me through my bleak years was listening to music. There are so many free empowering talks on YouTube which can support you each day. Depending on your needs, you may either choose to listen to something that expresses how you feel (e.g. something melancholic or angsty), or something that subdues how you feel (e.g. something uplifting).
7. Give your struggles a PURPOSE
See what you’re experiencing as having an intrinsic purpose – whether that be to help others in the future struggling with the same problems, writing a book, creating inspired artwork, or anything that calls to you. You are gaining a Ph.D. IN LIFE. Absolutely nothing else can teach or equip you with the skills as fighting battles alone can. FIND THE PURPOSE within your struggles.
8. Find the lesson/gift in your circumstance
I know to some this may sound absolutely preposterous, but please give it a try. Reframing what I was going through helped so much, and I have seen it help so many others as well. Whether the lesson is developing inner strength, learning to appreciate the little things in life, or looking inside for happiness, the lesson/gift is ultimately up to you to find. But it IS there waiting for you to find.
9. Take care of your basic needs
This probably seems, well, basic, but it makes a world of difference. Although it may feel 100 times harder than before, make it your goal to take care of your fundamental needs each day. That means, get good quality sleep (I’m talking 7+ hours if you can), drink enough water, do exercise, eat healthy, SHOWER. You may be tempted to let it all slide, but don’t. When you let your basic needs slide, you WILL feel increasingly worse. If you don’t have any goals, make this your goal, and even if you have to do it all robotically, do it. NO excuses.
10. Be courageous and share your feelings with others
When I say others, I mean either a support group and/or a trained counsellor/therapist. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You can opt to seek a local or online support group (though keep in mind that online support groups can sometimes harbor toxic atmospheres), find a local therapist or online counselor (you can even get free online counseling), or call an anonymous hotline. Note: if you are struggling with suicidal feelings, I strongly recommend that you call one of these helplines or seek professional help as soon as possible. My thoughts are with you and I hope very much that you receive the help you need.
I will repeat again: the strongest and fiercest wolves are those who stand alone. Even when you feel weak, remember, standing alone takes STRENGTH.
Keep moving forward.