When you face a difficult situation in life, you may feel that you lose hope and that your inner strength is abandoning you. Life may seem impossible and your efforts meaningless. You need something to hold on to, but it is not available. What do you do then? How do you gather the strength to go on and overcome what is troubling you?
There is immense inner strength in all of us. Either you know it or not, either you have let it grow in your life or you have ignored it, it is a fact that you have it. Famous successful people often talk about the hardships they had to go through until they attained the success they are known for. Some even admit that without the difficulties, they wouldn’t have realized how much strength they have in them and how far they could go. It is almost as if trouble has taught them something important or it may as well be that they have attributed a different, empowering meaning to their trouble.
Reclaiming your strength is often a challenging process. Situations and circumstances may be against you. You may experience disappointment and feel your hopes fading away. There are various ways to lift yourself from this and one of them is to try and strengthen your mental attitude through visualization and symbolism. Symbolism is a powerful process in psychotherapy because it can reveal aspects of your thoughts and feeling that you never knew existed. One of my favourite symbolic visualization exercises comes from Psychosynthesis which is a psychotherapeutic approach but also a philosophy about self-actualization.
The visualization exercise is called “The lighthouse” (1) :
“Imagine that you are on a small ship at sea, at night. A storm is raging, and the rain beats down on the deck. The ship is rolling and pitching. All around is darkness.
Feel the rolling and pitching of the ship, hear the wind howling, feel the chill of the wind and the rain on your face. See the stormy sea at night. Experience the fatigue in your muscles and the difficulty with which you wrestle with the wheel.
Now, in the distance, you can see a dazzling light shining. Its source is a lighthouse. Its steady, radiant beam guides you through the night. You welcome this guidance with relief. Now you know where to steer. Concentrate on the lighthouse, and visualize its light radiating in all directions to help people who have lost their way, to give guidance to all who need it. The storm is raging, the wind howling, the rain falling, the night pitch-black. But the lighthouse stands solid and shining. Nothing can shake it.
After a time, let the visualization gradually subside, yet keep within you this sense of shining strength.”
Such visualizations may assist us to discover a sense of inner strength that we thought we had lost. When we make this a regular practice, we may start realizing things we didn’t know or have forgotten.
If the Lighthouse visualization doesn’t inspire you, you could try creating a symbolic visualization of your own. What could be a metaphor of the situation you are currently experiencing? How you see yourself behaving in this metaphor? Who are you? What attributes does your own self in the visualization possess that could help him to deal with the situation? The options are endless and your imagination has no limits.
1. Ferrucci P., (2000),What We May Be: Techniques for Psychological and Spiritual Growth, New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher.