'Each day of my life is filled with frustration. How do I stay motivated?'

By
Haya Malik
|

Hello Haya!

I'm in my 20s and like most girls of my age who travel using public transport, especially buses, in Karachi, each day of my life is filled with frustration and a traumatic commute. There is hardly a day when I travel peacefully without any catcalling and harassment while waiting for my bus at the stop.

I go to university on a bus and later travel to work using one, but each day, I walk to the stop with fear that a man would harass me and offer me an unsolicited lift. Some days, I just want to quit my studies and work for some mental peace, but being the eldest in my family, I can't afford to quit my job — at least owing to our financial position.

My body feels heavy because of all the burdens I'm carrying and the fear I have every time I step out of the house. Please help me understand how to deal with this feeling and stay motivated towards my studies and work despite the challenges that I'm currently facing.

Each day of my life is filled with frustration. How do I stay motivated?

Dear reader,

I am sorry to hear what you are experiencing. I can see you are extremely mentally burdened and overwhelmed with all the responsibilities on you at the moment, along with external pressures, making it very challenging to continue to do what you are doing.

First of all, kudos to you for all that you’re doing and working on achieving despite the challenges coming your way. It is a true testimony of your resilience and your passion to grow for the better.

Now, let's critically have a look at your situation.

First things first, given the situation you’ve described above, there are some things that I see are certain and not changeable for you due to valid reasons, for example not being able to change your job due to financial demands.

Now, in each situation, we need to assess what our current mindset is and two things that we need to recognise:

  • Things we can control.
  • Things we cannot control.

What does that look like?

Things you cannot control in your situation are other people’s behaviour, people’s responses, traffic, catcalling, and external situations out of your control. The more energy you spend on things that are not in your control, the more mental stress you add to your life with no positive outcome.

Instead, I invite you to shift your perspective and focus on the things within your control.

What are some things that are within your control in this situation?

Maybe a different way of commuting and a different mode of commute. How you present yourself, your responses to people, your boundaries, your behaviour, and how you show up for yourself as well as the way you speak to yourself.

I also see that you are carrying a lot of fear with you. Will holding on to this fear change your situation in any way? If not, then what can be done instead? We can be scared and do it anyway. We can be scared and courageous at the same time. We can lean in and sit with the fear, feel it, and face it. What’s in your control is to allow two experiences to co-exist at the same time.

When we look at motivation, it is not something we can rely on. One day we have it, one day we don’t. Motivation runs out. However, being tied to our bigger purpose, our long-term goals is what matters, reminding ourselves of our WHY and leaning into discipline to show up for ourselves and our purpose is what needs to be exercised and relied on.

Last but not least, I hear you say your body feels heavy. Trauma is often stored in the body and needs to be released. With all these traumatic experiences, I don’t see any outlet for release. 

While you continue to do what you are doing, you need to pay attention to your health and well-being and create certain self-care practices and resources that will aid you in releasing trauma and boosting your well-being.

This includes exercising, seeking support from family or friends, seeking professional support from a therapist or coach, journaling, meditation, or whatever else works for you.

Remember: when we focus on the things within our control, we take our power back. Best of luck to you and you got this!

Haya

Each day of my life is filled with frustration. How do I stay motivated?

Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.


Send her your questions to [email protected]


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