Life is difficult when you realize you have lost your zest, when you have nothing to look forward to. Whether you are feeling rejected, feeling like a failure or just feeling down and lacking direction, these ten simple steps can help.
I’ve experienced heartache, loss, pain, depression, feelings of worthlessness, desperation, and I have gone through many other hard times and deep painful emotions. To me, losing my zest feels heavy like I am carrying extra weight. It feels dark like I’m always in the shade or under a dark cloud. It feels like I’m walking in a deep rut and I can’t see a way out.
I have found that by letting go of some of my past baggage I was able to get my self-esteem back on track. I wanted contentment and happiness, but most of all, I wanted love in my life. It took me a while to realize that I needed love from myself.
I’ve made a list of what worked for me and how I got my zest back!

1. Take full responsibility for your life – This does not include what somebody else has done to you, but this does include everything that you have done to you. Did you stay in an abusive relationship too long? Did you decide not to tell your parents that you were sexually abused by the neighbor? Did you over eat to numb pain from your past? Taking responsibility will give you back your power! When we wait for somebody to apologize, or make things right for us or rescue us - when we wait for somebody to change, or even if we blame somebody else for our unhappiness, we are giving that person or circumstance power over us. Take your power back by taking responsibility for your life! (Take time and feel your feelings, be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to feel and grieve… be proud of who you are!)
2. Make peace with yourself/forgive yourself – This is huge! So often we hear that we need to forgive somebody else, not for them but for us. And what about us? What about forgiving ourselves for us! Maybe it is time you forgive yourself for the decisions you have made. For example: You got drunk… didn’t use a condom… now you have an STD. Or, you got pregnant and had an abortion and still feel guilty because of it. Or, you started shopping and kept getting more credit cards and now you’re afraid you need to file bankruptcy. Or, you’ve made horrible decisions throughout your life and now can’t get your life back on track.
It does no good to beat ourselves up – it’s time to forgive yourself and make peace with yourself; you did what you thought was right at that time. As long as you learn from your mistakes there is no reason to keep beating yourself up.
3. Love your life as it is – Turn any hurt into a gift or something good. If you’re overweight and want to lose weight, get excited about the goal and challenge. You will no longer be able to neglect yourself.
(While I was homeless during a Minnesota winter, I used to have to start my car and drive around at 2 or 3 in the morning just for heat. I remember many nights waking up with frost all over my sleeping bag. Imagine my zest for life on those nights and early mornings. I remember being in a daze sitting there in my car, scrapping at the frost on my sleeping bag wondering what I was going to do? So on cold nights before I would go to sleep, I had to make good of the cold. I’m not overly religious, but I do have a strong relationship with my higher power. And I chose to believe that my higher power made the cold for me. I believed that the cold kept the criminals inside. And when the snow came down, I felt covered, safe and less humiliated because nobody knew I was sleeping inside my car. I could have been angry about the snow and cold, but instead I embraced it!)
Find the good in what is happening in your life right now.
4. Give back – Do something for somebody else. The more you give the more you receive. We need to get out of our own heads; sometimes we need to stop the thinking about ourselves and start the doing for somebody else. There is always somebody worse off than you. Somebody who could use your help. I promise you will feel better after doing something for somebody else.
5. Balance – Find balance! It’s simple. Divide your life into thirds: One third of your time should be spent on your passion/purpose/career. One third of your time you should spend on yourself, doing what you love. One third of your time should be spent with your family and friends this category includes your significant other. This balance is important so you won’t fall apart if you lose one part of your life. If you put all your eggs in one basket, for example, your passion/purpose/career and one day you lose your job, you will still have two-thirds of your life in order. You won’t feel so devastated by a loss of one part of your life.
6. Demand more from yourself/for yourself – Challenge yourself, go back to school even if you are afraid. If you deserve a raise, ask for one even if you are afraid. Decide you will no longer do all of the housework when you and your husband both work fulltime jobs. You deserve more for yourself and more from yourself!
7. Be nice to yourself – Stop with the negative self talk! Do not call yourself stupid. Do not call yourself ugly or fat. Do not criticize yourself when you are doing your best. Talk to yourself as if you were a friend. And do not ask your husband if you look fat – you don’t look fat, you look awesome! Believe in yourself! Stop having so many doubts. Confident people are sexy people!
8. Stay true to values – Make a list of what you value. What matters to you? What is important in your life? Is it going to bars and getting drunk? Or is it spending time with family and friends or going to school? Stay true to what fills you up and makes you happy.
9. Give to yourself what you wish you had from a partner – Do you want flowers? Get yourself some flowers! Want romance? Rent a romantic comedy or take a bubble bath with candles! Look at the moon by yourself, admire it and know that you are very connected to this wonderful earth we live on. Women are on the same 28 day cycle as the moon and the tides of the ocean. Do romantic things for yourself. Buy yourself flowers once in awhile. Have a love affair with yourself - even if and especially if you are in a relationship with a non-romantic person.
10. Stick with positive people – it is contagious! Positive people are happy people and fun to be around. Positive people do not sit around feeling sorry for themselves. They do not cry victim in every situation. Positive people always look forward to challenges and going forward in their lives. Positive people look forward to their bright futures and so can you!

Author's Bio: 

Becky Due, like the main characters of her novels, spent many years running from herself, looking for love, crying a little and laughing a lot along the journey of finding herself. Through writing, Due found her passion. She is the author of several books and is currently working on her next novel.
Happily married she and Scott live in Colorado, Florida and Alberta, Canada with their two “kids” Buddy the Cat and Shorty the Pug.