“The art of life isn’t controlling what happens, which is impossible; it’s using what happens.”¹
The events in our lives change us. They’re supposed to. They’re intended to make us stronger, better and wiser; but I can personally attest that there’s a journey one takes into the fifth ring of hell before arriving at that point of view.
It’s a journey through hurt, disappointment, confusion, loss, and injury that takes some people a long time to travel through, and some individuals get stuck on the way. I was one of those individuals. It was effortless to allow the unfairness of life to engulf me with no comfort. Somehow, it appeared rational that I was entitled to moan awhile and be excused from life because of the loss and pain, both physically and emotionally, I had endured. I started to believe that the God of life had overlooked me and I was destined to be crippled and unworthy. There is no happiness to be found on the Injured Reserve list in life; only persistent defeat and depression. The more I sat on the sidelines, the more pessimistic, blaming, and self-righteous I became.
Believe me, whatever painful event that happened to me or you isn’t anything special. Pain is universal. It’s global. It’s everywhere. But what you do after getting marred in life can be special. When you rise above the hardship instead of allowing yourself to be pulled down into an abyss of despair, then you’re in a position to see the happiness that is waiting for you. Today, don’t cry “Why Me?” Instead, use what happened to you to become stronger, better, and wiser. Press on! –Dr. Sandy
I have to admit that when a problem pops up I tend to blop down–as if sitting with a sigh is going to summon my Fairy Godmother and her magic wand to make it all better. I just want to pretend for a minute (okay, maybe longer than a minute) that everything is okay. There are problems in life that can bring us to our knees. But the truth is avoiding a problem seems to just cause more misery.
In his best-selling book The Road Less Traveled, psychiatrist Dr. Scott Peck wrote, “This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.”
That’s quite a claim. Facing difficulties requires intellect and reasoning ability to seek out solutions. Sometimes we’re too emotional to be rational and need some time to process painful feelings before we can think clearly.
If we accept that life is difficult, it will no longer surprise us that it often is. We will expect struggles. We will anticipate problems and hardships. And we will be more prepared to problem-solve where needed. We can seek support and guidance, instead of avoidance. –Dr. Sandy
“It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another—it is one damn thing over and over,” wrote Edna St. Vincent Millay.*
Whenever we resist the realities of life, we are headed for despair. That’s where you will find me at least a few minutes once a day. In my visit to despair I try to reason with the timing death of loved ones, the change that every loss demands, the sadness of missing family and friends, and the unwanted adjustments forced on me. And, perhaps like you, there are changes in life I resent.
Life is faithful to present to us everyday a host of disappointments that need submission, mistakes that need correction, interruptions that require patience, losses that need acceptance, and problems that need solutions.
If we accept this reality of life, we’ll experience a happier existence and less time in despair. Life does not care if we are angry at it or not; it’s not altered by our rebellion or hissy fit. It’s unmoved by self-pity or our definition of common sense. Life yields to no reality other than its own which means the more we need to stick together to get through it! –Dr. Sandy