Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Angela Vaz

You can’t remember a time you’ve felt so low.

Infact, you’re struggling.

You feel like you’ve lost everything that matters.

And you don’t know where to start or where to begin to rebuild your life.

You just want to be happy.

You want a second chance at life.

How do you get from where you are now to where you want to be?

In this post, I’ll share how I lost almost everything that mattered to me and how I rebuilt my life from scratch.

I have reached a place of peace and happiness and my life is at its peak right now.

Let’s begin.

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A little backstory

In 2021, I lost my mom to cancer.

It was devastating because I was in another city and we had a lockdown. I was trapped in a rented house with my dad, far away from my dogs.

I missed them terribly and I just wanted to be alone with them.

My dad shut himself away and I knew he was grieving too. I gave him space because he was just not in the mood to talk to anyone.

I wanted to take my dad back home but he was not ready to leave the place where he lived with my mom. And I couldn’t leave him alone to go back home. That would be too cruel.

In the same week, my boyfriend had broken up with me. He said he couldn’t imagine marrying a divorcee and although he’d tried for a whole year to make peace with that, it just wasn’t happening.

I didn’t understand then, but later, I made peace with this and I was glad he left.

He was never right for me.

But at that time, I felt like I’d lost everything.

I was in shambles.

I wanted to be in my home, surrounded by my things and dogs. I wanted to grieve for my mom and my lost relationship.

I didn’t know when the lockdown would end.

It was a nightmare.

There were only 2 people I confided in and loved deeply at that point – one of them had died and the other had left.

I missed my mom more than ever.

Every hour was torture.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my online business suddenly fell as Google released a new update.

I saw my sales crashing and at that point, I really didn’t know what to focus on.

I felt like I was losing everything that was going well for me.

I knew I needed to heal and I knew I wasn’t done trying.

In this post, I’ll talk about everything I did to rebuild my life from that point. I want to talk about how I got to where I am now.

Let’s begin.

How to rebuild your life from scratch when you lose everything

1. Let out your emotions

Let out your emotions

If you’ve lost someone close to you or lost your job, or been through an awful divorce, know that it’s okay to feel down in the dumps.

You’re going to go through a range of emotions like sadness, anger, betrayal, etc. Those feelings will often be intercepted with numbness before they come back again.

Please know that healing isn’t linear.

You may feel okay today, only to be sobbing again tomorrow.

Healing happens slowly and when we’re in a rut, it will take time. But with time, the pain gets lesser and more manageable.

So, do whatever you have to do.

Cry, get mad and be upset for a while.

But don’t neglect your responsibilities. These will keep you afloat.

2. Know that you are not alone

Please know that whatever has happened to you, has happened to countless people before you.

Everything that you are going through has already happened to others.

Other people have felt the pain you are going through now.

You are not alone.

This fact gave me a lot of comfort.

I started pouring myself into books written by others who have gone through loss.

Knowing that these people have been through the same tunnel I have (some far worse off than me) and then made it through gave me that ray of hope I needed to fight.

I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before I was able to come out of this dark tunnel.

I read these books:

  • Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl (A book about a holocaust survivor who lost everything and found the meaning of life)
  • Love Does – Bob Goff (A book about loving kindness)
  • You Can Heal your Life – Louise Hay (This book helped me understand to let go of my pain and then move towards healing)
  • Good Vibes Good Life – Vex King(A book about healing and self-love to help you move on from the pain)

And they gave me strength.

These books helped me understand that when it gets bad, it’s alright to fall but you have to get up eventually.

These books made me feel better because I realized that I wasn’t alone in my struggles.

I talk about all the books I read after my break up here.

Basically, reading about other people’s pain helped me realize that no matter how bad it gets, we are going to heal and move on.

But we have to ride through all these horrible feelings in the meanwhile.

There is no shortcut. You just have to make peace with this grief in order to get to the next stage.

This brings me to my next point…

3. Know it’s only going to go up from here

Know it's only going to go up from here

When you feel you’ve lost everything, know that it’s going to be a rough ride for the next couple of weeks/months, but it is going to get better.

Because you’ve fallen so low, it means that you can’t go any lower.

You’ve reached your lowest, and trust me when I say that it happens to everyone at some point.

We all go through major shit storms.

I remember talking to my friend and she told me, “Angela, you’re lucky. You finished it all at once. It’s only going to go up from here.”

I knew she was right even though it didn’t make me feel any better back then.

So, pucker up and be prepared for the next journey of your life.

4. Let go of the past

Your tragedies, your hardships, and your losses don’t define who you are.

You’re a fighter.

The fact that you were looking for an answer to rebuild your life proves that you’re not willing to give up.

So, take comfort in the fact that you’re a born fighter and you’re going to make it.

We all lose our way and we all lose clarity sometimes.

It’s normal.

Nobody’s life is perfect.

But what matters is that we don’t give up.

And know that you can’t move forward unless you’re willing to let go of the past.

This means forgiving others and yourself for mistakes you’ve made.

You don’t have to go back to the people who have hurt you, you just have to let go of the hate, anger, and frustration because that is going to hamper your growth and healing.

Do it for you, not for them.

At the same time, learn to forgive yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

Now is the time for self-love.

Self-love basically means that you’re giving yourself the love and kindness you’d give to a child.

It means being there for you because at this point nobody is going to be there for you unless you’re there for yourself.

You have to come out of that wreckage and be willing to change how you look at things.

You have to be prepared to change your life so that you can live a better life.

5. Meditate

Meditate

It is impossible to turn your life around in 1 day.

Movies and social media have really ruined our perspective on success.

People don’t change in a day – it takes time and a lot of healing.

So, make tiny changes – changes that you can start slowly.

For instance, I decided that I’d read and meditate daily so that I could heal myself.

I wanted to become stronger mentally.

I knew I couldn’t change the past or what has happened to me.

I just needed to accept the pain and learn how to deal with the grief.

Every single book I read only had good things to say about meditation. So, I started small. I started with guided meditation by downloading the Headspace app.

I did 5-10 minutes every day.

And it helped me learn how to let go.

I still have moments of deep anxiety and pain – my life is not perfect.

But meditation helps me bring myself to my center – I am able to observe my feelings and thoughts without getting carried away by them.

It is a beautiful skill to have and it gets built slowly as you keep practicing.

When you first start to meditate, be prepared for a lot of feelings to rush to the surface.

It’s basically quietening your mind to allow your body and mind deal with all the feelings you’ve pushed down.

So, don’t get scared or upset.

Let it come bubbling to the surface.

With time, it will get easier to sit with your feelings and thoughts.

You’ll learn to become more patient, kind, and humble.

Your mind will get stronger. You’ll find it easier to do a lot of things.

Meditation helped me sleep better. I used to be an insomniac – it would take me hours to fall asleep if I was stressed or upset.

But now, no matter what I am feeling, I am able to shut off my mind and sleep.

Give it a shot. You won’t regret it.

6. Focus your negative energy on something beautiful

I had a lot of pent-up energy that I now needed to focus on something.

It does serve as a distraction in the beginning, but with time, it becomes a routine you will fall in love with.

I dedicated myself to writing and playing the piano.

I started writing more and learning more about SEO. I focused my efforts on growing blogs and at the same time, I got myself a keyboard and played a little bit every day.

These little things started giving me a spark of joy in my life.

I engrossed myself in my work because I knew that was the one area of my life I could fix.

At this point, I want you to ask yourself what you can do to start feeling better.

Is there a hobby you’ve always wanted to try?

Maybe you can watch a few classes on Youtube and fall in love with something all over again.

Or maybe you can pick up something you dropped off a long time ago because you never had the time or motivation to be consistent.

The idea behind this is to rediscover your zeal for life and give you something to look forward to.

Also, doing these little things will rebuild your confidence.

I started taking a few online courses on Domestika to learn more about art, drawing, and creating – it made me forget my worries and get involved in something very beautiful and creative.

Give it a shot, the bonus is you’ll own whatever course you buy forever.

7. Set personal goals

Set personal goals

I’ve been in love with goals all my life because they drive me to become better.

If life has taught me one thing – it’s that we can’t control anyone but ourselves.

If we are in bad company, it means that we have attracted just that by who we really are.

So, the best way to change our lives is to strive to be better.

When we better ourselves, we will automatically start attracting beautiful things.

Ask yourself what small improvements you can make in different areas of your life.

Set personal goals in different fields like:

  • Physical goals like eating healthier and becoming more fit
  • Financial goals like saving money and starting a new side hustle
  • Emotional well-being goals like journaling every day and meditating
  • Social goals like meeting people and hanging out with groups of people to help you become more social

These goals will help you become a better person.

And when you become a better person, you will start to attract good things in your life.

You may just land yourself a dream job or you may find love.

Or you may just find a much better version of yourself in the process.

Once you set goals, break those goals into daily tasks so you can work towards your goals every single day.

Remember, you’re not going to achieve everything in one day. You will have setbacks, so it’s alright to have tiny slips.

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip.

Just get back on the horse and try again tomorrow.

8. Cut out toxicity

You cannot grow if you’re surrounding yourself with toxicity.

Ask yourself if there are people around you that you genuinely feel drained with after having conversations with them.

These are the people that you don’t want in your life.

It doesn’t matter if they are your only friends and family.

If they do not have your best interests in their heart, these people really don’t care about you. They are only going to bring you down and stop you from growing.

At some point in time, we are all faced with the difficult decision of cutting off people who are not right for us – even if we are so used to having them around us.

If they are not serving you, you need to cut them out of your life.

The same goes for bad habits.

If you find yourself always regretting after having drunk a lot of alcohol or binge-shopping, know that these habits have to be cut out of your life.

I have detailed posts on how to get rid of toxic habits and how to let go of friends gently.

Doing this will hurt you but the pain is short-lived.

It will only help put you on the path to success – I promise.

9. Take care of your body

take care of your body

Apart from taking care of your mind, you need to nourish your body.

When you look good, you feel good.

If you hate exercise, just walk.

Walking will clear your mind and give you such a beautiful perspective of life.

I’d put on my headphones and just walk around my neighborhood. I have no idea why, but I always felt better after that.

It gave me the strength to see how much I had to live for.

It is so tempting to curl up into a ball on your bedroom floor and not want to move.

But all these habits will make you drown further in depression.

You need to get out there, even if you’re alone.

You have to go out into the world and start moving amongst it in order to fall in love with life again.

There’s something about looking at the sky or feeling grass under your toes that makes you realize just how small your problems are compared to the size of the universe.

10. Be kind to other people

It only takes a certain amount of pain to understand that others are going through it too.

My pain helped me understand that I wasn’t alone. I knew there were countless others going through breakups and losing their parents to cancer.

I wasn’t alone.

This helped me become more kind and considerate toward others.

I was able to sympathize when my friends told me about their problems. I was able to sympathize when I saw others struggling.

Use your pain to be kind to others.

Even if it’s just saying hello to your neighbors or helping someone with their groceries, do it with an open heart.

Once you know the pain of falling, you will automatically become a much better person to others.

Your kindness will not only change the world but will also reward you in ways you cannot imagine.

If I had not turned down that path of kindness and love, I never would have met the love of my life and found a career I love from the bottom of my heart – this blog.

It may be very difficult to put yourself out there when you don’t feel your best. Our natural tendency is to withdraw and stay in a cocoon of self-pity. I know, because I’ve done it.

But put yourself out there. Try talking to people.

You honestly don’t have anything to lose.

11. Be patient

I probably sound like a broken record, but I know that this is the hardest thing to deal with.

I remember 6 months passing after my mom’s death and breakup and I cried one day non-stop.

I felt like I’d moved past that, there I was bawling like a baby unable to work or focus on anything else.

I had to remind myself that healing isn’t linear.

Like I said before, you’re going to have tough days.

Even if you feel like you made progress, you might suddenly find yourself feeling emotional and feeling like you’ve lost it all.

These feelings will pass.

But you have to give it time.

People take time to heal and grieve.

Nothing happens in a day.

Some take weeks, months, or years. And it’s alright.

There is no right way to grieve.

I still grieve over my mother sometimes. I still miss her and I think about her daily.

But I don’t lose days over it. I’ve learned to manage the pain while carrying on with my chores and responsibilities.

And it’s alright.

Know that you will get through this eventually. Write letters to yourself because these letters will give you the strength to move on.

12. Choose love

choose love and keep an open heart

When we are faced with calamity, we all have a choice.

We can either sulk and be down in the trenches, or we can get back up.

I remember cribbing and sobbing over my ex day after day when the breakup happened.

Until my mom who was on her death bed told me, “You cannot change the past, and you’re ruining your present over someone who has already moved on.”

That struck a chord in me.

I realized that I was ruining the present – the only thing I had control over.

That forced me to change my way of thinking.

I knew at that moment I couldn’t waste another second mourning the loss of someone that chose to leave. I had to move on.

It forced me to look within and find love.

I had been searching for love outside of me for so long and it had taken me going through heartbreak to realize that it was within me that whole time.

That was the beginning of my journey to self-love.

I cannot even begin to describe what a beautiful journey it was.

I knew that I always wanted to find a partner but I also knew that I was not ready.

I needed to be okay being single, I needed to be okay without validation from others.

I had so many things to work on and I knew that when the time was right, I’d find a partner.

But for that time, I had to focus on myself.

I didn’t give up.

I chose love.

I started working on myself and started reading books to help me get a better perspective on life.

Losing my mom (my confidante and my best friend) forced me to become my own best friend.

13. Ask for help

If you feel you’ve tried everything or you just cannot summon the strength to face it all, then it’s perfectly alright to ask for help.

I did therapy for a while and my boyfriend has been doing therapy for years.

Therapy and counseling will help you talk out your problems and give you the tools to work through them.

So, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you have people who are close to you and who genuinely want what’s best for you and you can trust them, you can also talk to them.

But honestly, I’ve found that sometimes people give bad advice even if their intentions are good.

For example, when I was hurting from my breakup, I had friends tell me to go on dates and have “quickies.”

But I knew that was not the right path for me because I wanted to heal and find a legitimate long-term partner.

So, I strongly advise going for counseling if you’re looking for the right tools to work through your problems. Counseling helps you see your problems through a wider perspective.

It gives you clarity.

And that’s precisely what you need when you need to rebuild your life.

Conclusion

I am sorry you’re going through turmoil right now.

I understand what you’re going through and maybe your pain and your circumstances are different but know that you will get through this because you have the will to move on.

Here are a few more posts to help you with your journey of self-love and healing:

Life Update

I lived single for a while before I got back on the dating horse again. I took it slowly and I really took my time to get to know people.

I did meet a few people but one person ended up being my friend for a long time before we realized we had developed feelings for one other.

He too had been through tragic loss (he’d lost his fiance to a petrol bunk explosion in another country) and he too was healing.

We got to know each other slowly and patiently and with time, our love for each other deepened and we have been going strong for over a year.

My business picked up and I started a new blog that helps people learn how to draw.

I am currently living with my boyfriend and 2 dogs and we frequently visit his parents and my dad.

Life has become so much better for both of us.

I am in such a good place right now and I am at peace. I love my life and I live it moment by moment.

I find it surprisingly lovely that I have come this long way to find peace and contentment. It has certainly taken a lot of work, but I wouldn’t go back and change a thing.

Because all that pain I went through, and all that turmoil have led to me becoming a better person.

And I’m grateful for everything that has happened.

I wrote this article because I know what it’s like to lose everything and lose that stability that we are all so used to.

It’s hard when you cannot see the future and you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

All you have to do is take it one step at a time and take little tiny steps forward.

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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