How can we define despair? We could say it’s having no hope, feeling an inner emptiness, thinking that there is nothing left. Feeling like you’re in a desert and all your efforts are in vain. How can we face the fact that we lack the strength to move forward? How can we deal with despair?
When this sensation invades us, when doubts arise, why should we continue to make an effort? Why keep getting up every day? People who have this emotion feel like they can’t do their work. They can’t go through their day or meet their obligations. Perhaps the best solution is to give up and stop suffering.
This is how despair can become one of our worst enemies, because it puts a blindfold on us and takes away our strength and desire. It does not let us see beyond the wall keeping the light out.
It whispers in our ears that nothing will actually happen. That nothing can get better, that everything is over and we have to resign ourselves to living like this. Given this view, how can we deal with despair?
Despair must be fought with patience; with a little bit of work, but with huge effort, with small steps, with small achievements. With good people who help us out of the pit and make us see that there are still wonderful things to live and keep fighting for.
Despair, our own worst enemy
When despair invades us, the worst thing we can do is to be nice with our unwelcome guest. It came in, but from there the solution is to make an effort and be smart about kicking it out as soon as possible. Despair is clever, it knows our fears and it attacks and feeds on them. That’s why if we learn to manage our fears, despair will have no food and it will end up leaving.
In this sense, emotional management tools can really help us cope with despair. There are all kinds of tools. Some can cut off negative cycles of thought. Others make us socially and intellectually skilled at choosing strategies.
Maybe we can’t see beyond what we have now: when we are in darkness, it is hard to see the light on the other side. However, let’s not forget that we ourselves can become a very powerful light source if we find our switch to turn on. Despair always flees from those people who devote resources to organizing their frame of mind.
Your best weapon to face despair is your will to live
This is the most important thing: you are more than your current situation. You have gone through tough situations and have managed to overcome them. You are capable of achieving very valuable goals. Most of all, you are your faith — don’t forget it.
Our mind works with what happens to us, but it still works more with what it thinks will happen. More than being what we think, in reality we are more what we believe or what we are willing to believe.
In the past we’ve gone through very difficult situations but we overcame them. On top of that, because of them now we have resources that make us stronger. In the immediate future we have the opportunity to continue living. For the more distant future, we can make plans. Dreams are incredibly powerful.
This approach, simple and easy to follow, is also hard to maintain because of our fears and the times when fortune turned its back on us. However, it does not stop being worth it.
We remind ourselves of the people who have not left our side, even through tough times, when we know and recognize that we are not the most pleasant company. If they believe in us, why don’t we give ourselves a chance, too?
Let’s put it another way: despair is always an illusion. An impossibility: where we are blind to any alternatives that help us find an exit. However, it will flee when we are brave in the face of fear and have confidence in the face of anxiety.