how to hang in there when things get tough

Note: I originally wrote/compiled this Hang in There/Never Give Up/Keep Pressing On/Stitching Back Together a Broken Heart kit– a collection of inspiring, uplifting, and motivating quotes, poems, songs, etc.– in September 2008 after moving to San Diego for the first time… and to be blunt, I was beyond miserable for every throbbing painful minute of the first six months. Since then, whenever I’m having a hard time, I look back here and grasp onto what I have left, knowing I literally can’t give up.

I hope this kit brings you solace and light in your own times of need.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

“We will all come to the point in our life where we have to admit that we feel defeated, that something has conquered us. We must change, not because we want to, but because we desperately have to. We can not take life in its current suffocating state, even to admit such desperation shows that we are feeling deserted, wandering the barren desert, a shell of our former selves. It is only up from here, it is impossible to sink any lower into ourselves or our circumstances. But we can be salvaged, a deliverance. No vice can stand, no fix can take. The thorn in the side can be removed, but you have to be willing to admit and surrender. Surrender your habits, your lifestyle, your past, your present, and your future. This is your new surrender. The new surrender.”

-S. Christian

Hope never goes out of style.


This is my personal toolbox, kit, whatever you’d like to call it, for “hanging in there”. Hopefully I don’t forget about this post, thus defeating the purpose.. but if you’re in need of some hope or good cheer or just something to keep you going.. hopefully this will help.

First, my favorite prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,

and wisdom always to know the difference.


“What is to give light must endure burning.”
-Viktor Frankl

Affirmations: Great to just affirm yourself of your own self-worth– whether you’re battling an addiction or just having a rough time.


“It is the Law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time, no matter what they are, must be exactly what you need most at the moment, to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson.”
-Emmet Fox

Song Rec: Simon by Lifehouse (just the song and lyrics, not an MV)
You’re alright, you’re alright, you’re alright…


Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen (HIGHLY recommended for anyone to watch!)
Brother and sister together we’ll make it through,
Someday a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know that you’re hurting but I’ve been waiting to be there for you

  on being your body: you are not what you look like

and I’ll be there just helping you out whenever I can…

“People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within.
-Ramona L. Anderson

“I remembered reading about people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge. One of them who survived said: I realized in the seconds after I jumped off the bridge that everything in my life I thought was unworkable was really workable– except for the fact that I’d just jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge.”
-Geneen Roth


Some lists of to-do’s or instructions for life… and some reminders to keep on going.

Simple Instructions for Life by the Dalai Lama

Live. And Live Well… by Kyle Lake. (Rest in peace.)

“Do not fear death… only the unlived life.
You don’t have to live forever.

You just have to live.”

-Tuck Everlasting

Write a Time-Traveling Reminder to your Future Self

Promise Yourself to Be Strong


Read some uplifting poetry on life to brighten your day!

No, seriously.

DO IT! You won’t regret it 🙂


Videos that are just simply funny, and thus cheer me up. Maybe they will have the same positive effect on you?

Korean History Channel and Korean History Channel: Cultural Affairs: I love these. JAPANESE DINOSAUR NEVER SAY SORRY!!!

Hi, I’m a Marvel…and I’m a DC: Iron Man and Batman #4: Poking fun regarding The Dark Knight.


And the original idea behind this post entirely was because I heard “The Unwinding Cable Car” and wanted to make a mix for just “not giving up”.

When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”

o1. You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up) – Josh Groban (not an MV, just listen to the song! the actual MV is touching though)

Don’t give up
It’s just the weight of the world

When your heart’s heavy I
I will lift it for you

Don’t give up
Because you want to be heard
If silence keeps you I

I will break it for you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you

Everybody wants to be loved
Don’t give up

Because you are loved

Don’t give up
It’s just the hurt that you hide

When you’re lost inside I
I’ll be there to find you

Don’t give up
Because you want to burn bright

If darkness blinds you I
I will shine to guide you

Everybody wants to be understood
Well I can hear you

Everybody needs to be loved
Don’t give up

Because…you are loved

Don’t give up
It’s just the weight of the world

Don’t give up
Everyone needs to be loved

You are loved

o2. Broken – Lifehouse

o3. Don’t Give Up – The Whitest Boy Alive

Give me a reason to stay constantly ignored
Give me an angle that I haven’t tried before
A guarantee for being honestly compared

You want to live when life is achingly unfair

Don’t make a move you’ll look ridiculous again
You share no interest but it’s easy to pretend
Don’t start the action it will turn against you soon

No one is going to follow and you’ll stand there like a fool

You left the people when the people left you out
Back in the suburbs you’re craving for the crowd
Only minded now with defeats of yesterday

The mantra spinning in your head will keep it raised

Give me a reason to stay constantly ignored.
(I don’t think I can)

Give me an angle that I haven’t tried before.
(Not from where I stand)

A guarantee for being honestly compared
(Could not be found)

You want to live when life is achingly unfair
(Stick around)

Don’t give up
Don’t give up
Don’t give up

o4. Learning to Breathe – Switchfoot (No MV, but the video has lyrics!)

Hello, good morning, how ya do?
What makes your rising sun so new?
I could use a fresh beginning too

All of my regrets are nothing new

So this is the way
that I say that I need You
This is the way

This is the way

That I’m learning to breathe
I’m learning to crawl
I’m finding that You and
You alone can break my fall
I’m living again, awake and alive

I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies

Hello, good morning, how ya been?
Yesterday left my head kicked in

I never thought I could fall like that
Never knew that I could hurt this bad

I’m learning to breathe
I’m learning to crawl
I’m finding that You and
You alone can break my fall
I’m living again, awake and alive

I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies

So this is the way
that I say that I need You
This is the way
That I say I love You
This is the way
That I say I’m Yours
This is the way

This is the way

o5. The Unwinding Cable Car – Anberlin

o6. Si Nian Shi Yi Zhong Bing (Longing is a Kind of Disease) – Zhang Zhen Yue

o7. Yu Zhi Xing Fu (Anticipating Happiness) – Guan Wei Jia

o8. Don’t Give Up – Ceng Guo Hui

o9. Feng Er Dai Zhe Wo Men Piao (The Wind Takes Us Floating Along) – Peng Tan (This is a favorite of mine. It used to sound depressing to me, despite the carefree lyrics, but now I experience it for what it is. I also wasn’t aware of the video until searching for it, and it’s pretty awesome too!)


EDIT 112108.

  how to be grateful for an uncontrollable, stuff-yourself-until-you’re-sick binge…

I can’t believe I forgot one of the happiest songs ever!

Mei Li Xin Shi Jie (Beautiful New World) – S.H.E

Translation forthcoming, I love this song!

And a neon sign for hope?

EDIT 121408.

Some more happy songs!

A Praise Chorus – Jimmy Eat World

Today Will Be Better, I Swear! – Stars

EDIT 021509.

I randomly remembered my favorite happy song from childhood. I still love it and the video (and Celine!).

That’s the Way It Is – Celine Dion


EDIT 052809.

A melancholy-sounding but ultimately uplifting song about not giving up. Everything will be fine. Details in the Fabric – Jason Mraz feat. James Morrison

And also, the beginning lyrics of Eminem’s Till I Collapse, which are also quite darn inspiring:

Sometimes you just feel tired.
You feel weak.
And when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, gotta find that inner strength and just pull that shit out of you, and get that motivation to

not give up, and not be a quitter,

no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.


EDIT 062909.

  NO MAKE-UP WEEK: “…a lady ain’t what she wears, but what she knows.” -India.Arie

How did I not include this before? A favorite quote from Zidane from Final Fantasy IX…

And through our memories, future generations will see that we can overcome any fear! …We can’t give up now. …We have to fight together. Even if we lose, it doesn’t matter… Our memories will live on inside others. So, even if we are born to die, I’m not afraid.

I’m gonna live!

EDIT 063009.

Of course.. Defying Gravity (by Kerry Ellis) from Wicked!

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts

Close my eyes: and leap!

It’s time to try
Defying gravity
I think I’ll try
Defying gravity

And you can’t pull me down!

I’m through accepting limits
‘Cuz someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I’ll never know!
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love I guess I’ve lost
Well, if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost!
I’d sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I’m defying gravity

And you can’t pull me down

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I’m flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was

Is ever gonna bring me down!

EDIT 022611.

I haven’t added anything to this kit in a while, but this video might brighten your day:

I might update this post periodically. Until then, I hope you enjoy.

Keep your chin up, and NEVER give up on yourself. ♥

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