Friday, May 12, 2006

Difficult Days

I know that I constantly talk about how we can create the lives we want to have. And I truly believe that—no matter what has happened in the past. I suspect that sometimes I seem unbearably Pollyannaish about it. But today let’s get real and talk about the days that aren’t so great. The days that make us wonder if it will ever be okay.

None of what I’m going to say contradicts my belief that we can create the lives we want to have. What I want to talk about is how it feels when things go wrong. Because that’s important, too—to validate that it is hard sometimes.

If we had a difficult childhood, it’s all too easy growing up expecting things to go wrong. It’s all too easy to feel that if things are going right, we should brace ourselves for the next disaster. We find it hard to celebrate the good or even really realize it’s happening because it doesn’t feel real to us.

We can change that. Little by little we can condition ourselves to notice that things can go right and create more and more good moments and hours and days and weeks and years in our lives. That said, there will still be those days, those times when we feel like: What’s the use? Something will always go wrong and we will wonder if it will ever end—things going wrong, I mean.

That’s when it’s important to pull out that list of all the things that have gone right in our lives. That’s when it’s important to reach out to the people in our lives who care. I don’t know about you but there is immense comfort in having someone who KNOWS what I’ve gone through, how hard I’ve worked in the past and how hard I continue to work to create a good life for myself. Someone who KNOWS and VALIDATES how hard I work at this! I need that acknowledgement. And I need it from someone who believes in me and believes and knows that I will continue to succeed.

So on days when the little (and sometimes big) things start to pile up, I pull out my list of challenges I have successfully overcome in my life and remind myself that I CAN DO THIS.

If I can, I talk to friends who will validate that I do have courage, that I am remarkable to have accomplished what I have in my life.

This does not mean I dwell all the time wrapped in a mantle of victimhood. How we see ourselves directly affects how we live our lives and how others perceive us! To see myself as survivor and thriver who can do whatever I want to do is far more powerful than to cling to the dubious benefits of being a victim!

But on days that are particularly tough or challenging, it’s good to be reminded that what I do takes courage and that I not only have that but that I am a resilient, resourceful person who can and will continue to create the life I want to have.

So...if you haven’t yet made a list of your strengths and your past successes—big and small, list every one!—I urge you to do so. If you don’t have a support structure, I urge you to begin looking around—in “real life” or find a supportive community online—so that you have someone who will encourage you when you need it most.

Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),

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