How to Turn Things Around and Be Okay

Life gets hard, and we all make mistakes. But it's not about never failing or avoiding the consequences that makes us a good person. It's what we do after we fail.


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    Face your feelings. Whatever you're feeling after you mess up, let yourself feel it. Try not to hold anything in. Say whatever you need to say, even if it makes things worse. Let yourself be what you are and don't suppress anything.
    • Make a list of feelings and emotions you're experiencing. Sometimes it can be hard to move forward when you aren't aware of what your emotions are. By creating a list of all the emotions you're feeling you can attack them one at a time and eventually replace them with good emotions without leaving any strings.
    • Share your feelings with someone you trust. Letting someone else in is immensely important. Face the fact that without the help of others, you can never truly accept yourself or move forward.
    • Look back on the choices you've made that you regret. This can be the most painful part of recovery, but it's also one of the most important parts. Walking yourself through the steps you made that led you to making the wrong choice is often helpful in preventing you from repeating that error.
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    Look at yourself. Tell yourself the truth, even if you can't tell anyone else. The worst thing you can do is lie to yourself. So tell yourself what you need to do to change. Realize what you did and accept that, then work to change the things that you need to change.
    • Learn to take responsibility for yourself and your choices. No one else is responsible for the choices you made. In the beginning, it can be hard to accept that you're at fault and accept that you have made bad choices. Yet, once you realize that you are responsible for dealing with the consequences of such choices, you give yourself the freedom to move forward. Instead of wasting time blaming other people, the weather, where you live, the job market, and so forth, accepting the responsibility for doing your best from this point on lets you take charge of your destiny.
    • Determine qualities or opinions in yourself that often lead you to making that wrong choice and do your best to break those habits and prevent them from letting you justify bad habits.
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    Smile. At some point in the recovery process you will feel like you will never feel pleasure or joy again––when this happens, you know you've hit rock bottom. This is the hardest place to be, so hurry yourself up to get out of the situation. Prove to yourself you can still laugh by watching a much-loved funny movie or simply turn to somebody and say something ridiculous, aimed at getting the two of you to laugh.
    • Learn to distract yourself from the pain by smiling, staying busy or becoming passionate about something. But remember that never facing the fact that you're hurting will deter the healing process, so don't let yourself replace one bad habit (wallowing) with another (glossing over the realities).
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    Look at happy people. This is something most people don't think of doing. All you have to do is look at someone who has less than you, but is still happy. Put your problems into perspective and then look at what they've been through and see that they are still laughing.
    • Compare the lives you and another person have, keeping in mind that everyone is struggling with issues that no one else knows about. Think about the life you live and the life they live and compare hardships and blessings. You may be surprised to see that even though they're hurting too, they can––and do––continue to move forward.
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    Find someone to hold you. Sometimes you just need to cry and feel loved, so go to someone you know that can do just that. Your sister, your mother, your father, anyone, and just hug this person and let it all out. Let a river pour from your eyes, let yourself swear, and let yourself be completely in someone else's hands for a few minutes.
    • Don't talk. Restrain from talking about the issue or anything else. This person needs to be there to support you, not bare the weight of your problems and confusion. Let everything out and release control.
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    Cultivate habits that keep you in a good mood. Replacing sadness with happiness is hard for anyone, but getting a fresh start will help you along the way. Breaking bad habits and cultivating good habits will show you how strong you are and will help prevent you from making the same bad choices once again. Find things to do that keep you happy and work at them.
    • Make a good playlist for your day. Find a few inspirational songs that make you smile no matter what and just dance around to them for a while. Let these songs show you the way and just let yourself be completely free.
    • Exercise. Staying active will at least make your "body" feel happy and will distract your thoughts from your problems.
    • Take a hot shower. Picture everything bad washing away. Watch your issues and flaws swirl through the water. Watch them disappear down the drain forever.
    • Reconnect with old friends. Hang out with friends or relatives you haven't seen in a while and focus on listening to them and catching up on "their" lives. Remember not to burden them with the weight of your own issues.
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    Review what has not worked for you in the past and make an effort to restrain yourself from doing it again. While it is the hardest thing in the world to give up something you love, if it is wrong for you, it's time to let go. It is okay to feel pain when you turn things around for yourself. Often you will have one area in which you are weak. Instead of trying to avoid triggering this weakness at all, try to become stronger. But also remember that it is okay to be afraid and to run away sometimes, just so long as you come back and try again.
    • Find pictures of your past and your future. Print or cut out pictures of your goals in the healing process. Pictures of smiling people, healthy people, independent people, or any other benefits that may come along with your healing. Likewise, print pictures of your past bad habits, pills, people, food, whatever you're trying to change. Look at the good pictures when you need a burst of motivation to keep moving forward and look at the bad ones whenever you're tempted to revisit your past bad choices.
    • Keep a support network. Ask your friends to help keep you from making bad choices. Ask them to check in with you every now and then and ask you how you're doing and remind you of the bad consequences of making unhealthy choices. Of course, they won't always be able to tell when you're doing something you shouldn't be doing, but their checking in with you may make you feel guilty enough to step back and ask yourself what you're doing. (And be sure to return them the favor––not only is this what friends do but it's good for you to focus beyond yourself.)
    • Think about the personal consequences. Get together a group of close friends and family members and ask them to share their own views on what you did and how they were negatively affected by your bad choices. You can do this as many times as you want, or even write down their answers and read them when you feel tempted to revisit your previous choices.
    • Don't make it harder for yourself. If you lose something in the process of turning things around, don't let little things trigger certain memories of that thing. It is okay to miss it, but don't drag out the suffering. Clinging to the past will only make the present less enjoyable––release it and set yourself free.
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    Remember that no matter what, you always have a choice. There is always something you can do to make things right, and there are always going to be people, places and things that make you feel like doing the wrong thing. They will make you feel trapped and squished, but you need to remember that no matter what, there is always a choice.
    • The thing about a choice is that it is a choice. So what you choose is completely up to you. You can make the wrong choice, but the key word to that is wrong.
    • Realize that you never get away with the wrong thing. You will always, no matter what, with no exceptions, be caught either by your conscience, or by others.
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    Take a look at the little things. Although this step seems quite clichéd, it is also quite important and often overlooked. A few little things that might help to focus on include fireflies, the moon, grass waving in the air, a fresh new paint job on a house, a man with a funny hat walking down the street, a perfectly orange glass of orange juice, a desk with years' worth of names scratched into its surface. The possibilities are endless.
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    See the greatest thing of all. Humans are all in some sort of pain for one reason or other. Each of us suffers and makes mistakes. That is what makes us human, the ability to do wrong and see our own flaws. Without meaning to, everyone on earth has left a web of beauty to help you through that pain––poems, books, shared online wisdom, paintings, artwork, a caring word or gesture, a random hug, and the like. The thing is, most people don't see this web of beauty, so why not try looking for it? A store that seems to sell nothing but pointless nothingness that makes you smile is one example. The huge range of pictures of cats doing stupid and crazy and adorable things that you can find online is another. A fountain filled with pennies. A wall where thousands or maybe millions of people have signed their names or left sayings that had meaning to them once. This is a declaration of their happiness and their place on earth. Those places exist so that everyone can benefit and feel like someone else knows what they're going through. Wishes, worries, pain, ideas, thoughts, quotes, words said in a moment, these are all people's ways of saying it will be okay, just hold out for another few days and you'll see.


  • Always be kind to people, especially the ones who aren't kind to you––they need it most.
  • Don't cling to things that make you do wrong just because you love them. Love exists to make us happy, but artificial happiness, what you're getting from your bad choices, is not love.
  • Realize that "the best is yet to come" always, no matter how good or bad it gets.
  • In the HBO Film, "Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story," she says: "things turning around for me had been the result of my focusing on the few areas in life I could change", and surrendering to the knowledge that there were many more things that I just couldn’t make different. In each situation, event, there will be a part I cannot touch/change and there will be a part that I can. Focus on that part." This is the true lesson of the serenity prayer "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." It doesn't seem like it, doesn't feel like it, but the things you can control are vastly more powerful than the things you can't.


  • If you don't really want to change then you won't change. You've got to be willing to put some effort into it or you'll never really change.

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