Sarah Boyd


The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation

What To Do With An Unfair, Negative Situation That Won’t Go Away

It’s been said that it isn’t the weight of a load that breaks you, but how you carry it & how long you carry it for.

No matter what challenges and situations we have to deal with, when you can see an end in sight, most of us are able to muster up the courage, strength and resilience to meet the challenge head on.

But what happens when the situation is ongoing…chronic… or life long…

Sarah Boyd

A legal battle that has no end in sight.

Personal pain or health challenges.

A negative relationship that is remaining in your life long term.

It’s easy to loose our strength and give up when we have to deal with negativity long enough.

And us ‘giving up’ can come in many different forms: 

  • Compromising our values
  • Emotional disassociation or disengagement
  • Leaving the situation prematurely
  • Addiction behaviours – alcohol, spending, eating
  • Slowly shrinking our dreams & getting stuck in mundane life
  • ‘Victim’ mentality and blaming everyone else for what we’re facing
  • Helpful actions that you may be procrastinating

While it is true that dealing with an ongoing negative situation requires different mental & emotional strategies, the truth is it is possible to face them with courage, resilience and depth.




1 Make A Decision To Face It

Start by identifying how you might be disassociating or emotionally running away from the situation. 

It’s different for all of us as we all have a ‘go-to’ strategy.

Yes the situation is probably unfair. Yes the situation is causing much strain. But running away from it isn’t going to fix it.

Most of the time it just adds other layers of problems to deal with as the activities we use to ‘run away’ almost always become dysfunctional in our life.

Are there actions you can take, wisdom you can learn, that might help the situation, that you’ve been putting off?

Take the courage and face your fears.


2 Intentionally Take Some Breaks

This may seem like the opposite of the first point but intentionally deciding to take short breaks, is different from unconsciously running away.

Rather than waiting for the relief that comes when the situation ends, take some intentional breaks. 

Plan a holiday; a weekend away; a day of activities you love.

Happiness research has found that the very act of having a holiday planned and booked into our calendar significantly increases our sense of happiness and well being, almost more than the holiday itself.

During these ‘breaks’, try to refrain from talking about or obsessing over the issues that are weighing you down.


3 Reframe Your Thinking

It’s really easy during negative situations, to compare your life with other people who are not dealing with the same situation. 

We all do it at times – “They’ve got it easy compared to me… Why did this happen to me… etc. etc.”

This is a really unhelpful mental strategy, because even though it may even be true, it is not going to help you mentally.

Focus instead on the progress you’ve already made & what you’ve got to look forward to in the future.

When you do this, you activate a part of the brain that actually dampens down the stress response in your body.

Reframing your thinking, looking for the positive in the negative, having gratitude & keeping perspective actually physically change the stress response in your brain & body. 


4 Remember It Will End

Pain (physical & emotional) has a way of making time slow down, while everything within us wants to run away from it. 

Sometimes this change in our sense of time actually harms us with ‘feeling’ like it’s going on forever, when in fact it will ALWAYS come to an end.

Trust that truth, even when your feelings don’t line up with it.


Although you may find yourself in unfair & negative situations that seem unending, by engaging helpful mental strategies (rather than unhelpful) we can find the strength, courage & depth to continue to face the situation.

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The 9 most powerful questions to get perspective in a difficult situation.