“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
Abraham Lincoln once said, “We have all heard the story of the animal standing in doubt between two stacks of hay and starving to death.”¹ Well, I never heard that story, but it creates a good image of what the fear of decision making can produce. The dread of making the wrong choice can keep us immobile as we watch opportunity go by.
Does the possibility of making a mistake paralyze you? It shouldn’t. Your worth and significance isn’t dependent on your lack of errors. Making mistakes doesn’t indicate there’s some abnormal level of inadequacy within you.
People are respected and valued because of their character, not their lack of mistakes. This is an imperfect world with imperfect people. Strive for excellence but don’t be surprised when mistakes happen. Errors provide insight into what needs improvement or change, but errors never indicate your inadequacy as a person. –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
Our real enemy is neither war nor poverty. Our greatest opposition isn’t the economy or people with differing opinions. Our worse enemy is the inner critical voice that resides in each of us. It’s that voice that will not allow our success, security, or peace.
In the 16th century, Sir Thomas Browne became aware of this inner woe. He was an English polymath and author of varied works which revealed his wide learning in diverse fields including science and medicine, religion and the esoteric. He wrote, “But how shall we expect charity towards others, when we are uncharitable to ourselves? Charity begins at home, this is the voice of the world; yet is every man his greatest enemy, and, as it were, his own executioner.”
Our opponent is not the stock market or threat matrix; it’s the echo of self-degrading comments that arrests any love or kindness towards ourselves, and therefore; towards other people. We must break free. What are your thoughts, your comments, about where do you stand with your real enemy today? -Dr. Sandy
American author John W. Gardner was Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson. During World War II he served in the United States Marine Corps as a Captain. He wrote, “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”
But wait, self-pity is a necessary condition to experience before recovery can occur from any unfortunate event. Grieving losses, depression from painful memories, and mourning unfortunate events are part of the healing found in the condition of self-solace. However, when you get wrapped up in your misfortunes and hang onto blaming someone or something for the circumstances of your life, then you are no longer healing—you are feeling sorry for yourself.
Soon a sense of entitlement arrives—you may feel a right to certain privileges and a right to leave behind certain responsibilities because of what you endured. Unhappy comments are verbalize to others to enlist sympathy and call attention to what happened unfairly to you. In no time you could set up camp in Victimville recruiting empathy and excusing unhealthy behaviors. Self-pity reeks and your healing is kept away.
Whatever has occurred unjustly to you may have not been your fault, but to heal you need to recognize that even though you were blind-sided, the injustice is your responsibility to overcome. It landed in your lap. Today, ask yourself if there is someone or something you are holding responsible for why your life is the way it is. -Dr. Sandy