The best words I have ever been given are these: "You are exactly where you are supposed to be." These words have given me strength to carry on when I thought I couldn't, as well as hope for what might be and courage to face what was.
Over the years, I've gathered many such phrases to put into my tool box, but these seem to be the ones that I always come back to. If you think about it, we all have tools that we rely on time and again. The old standby's that get us through the tough times or boost us up when the going gets rough. The key is to remember to USE those tools when you find yourself at the bottom of the well again.
The thing is...you can't always avoid the well. You can't always side step it or hide from it or dodge it. It's gonna getcha - it gets all of us from time to time. Bad things happen. LIFE happens. So, when we run into a bad patch, we need to remember to use the tools that we have to get through the days, stay safe, do the best that we can and then gently bring ourselves back into the mix. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but the key is to change our behavior so that our thoughts will follow.
I've got to get back to work...
Storm on Lake Michigan
Seems like, no matter what, there is always something. I hear that a lot in my office...and it usually means that there is always something BAD happening! People rarely come to see me when things are just swell. That being said, for every BAD thing that happens, I like to believe that there is always something....something good...to come after the bad. Something to learn....something to do...something to live for...something to work towards...something to yearn for...something to hope for...something to dream about...but...but what about those times when there isn't?
What about those times when...just when life has you pressed against the wall and you KNOW you're about to get hit with a truckload of "yuck"...those times when you just cannot, for the life of you, figure out how you are supposed to get out of THIS mess? Those times come for all of us. I remember one client who, for the life of her, had thought she had it allllll going on...and then life imploded. As a result, she was a mess inside and out. She blamed everyone and everything for her issues and I listened patiently as she railed against life and fought tooth and nail against acceptance. Funny thing...I didn't have to "do" much of anything...just listen and offer a well-timed insight here and there.
Over the course of a couple of years, I watched her froth and spew and anguish about events that really, honestly, did not matter at this point. But, to her, they meant the world and she needed to finally (finally!) process through all of the hurt and anger from the past. See, that's the thing...we can't just "go through it". We are creatures of feeling and of reason. We have emotions. When we don't learn to FEEL those emotions and try to stuff them into a box...well, all hell breaks lose eventually.
All of this anger over what could not be changed...yet we all go through this process - and more than once! Finally, after time passed and the anger was spent...acceptance came into play and from there, learning and growth. That was the key to the whole process...and in that process, she learned something about acceptance, she learned a bit of empathy and even some trust (still working on that).
The point of this story (and please know that this story is shared with permission) is that we all get hit with trucks full of yuck in our lives. We all have to go through awful times. We all have devastating events and lousy periods in our lives. But, if we can reach out and let another person help us - just by listening to us perhaps - well, then we can work our way through the storm and enjoy the aftermath. There is always, ALWAYS, a solution.
Be nice to yourself...
Most of the time, most of us will walk through life not realizing that we leave footprints behind us everywhere that we go. Seemingly straightforward actions (or inactions) often reach far beyond what we imagine the consequences would be.
I tell most of my clients the same thing: "You can do anything you want to in this life, but you cannot hurt another person."
Most often, they reply indignantly, "But I'm the one that's hurt! I'm the one that suffering!"
Most often, I think to myself how difficult this part of the journey is for everyone who goes through it. Of course you're hurting. Of course you are suffering. You wouldn't have sought me out if you weren't!
The point of the matter is that until and unless we realize that our actions affect other people, not just some of the time, but all of the time, we can never effectively change our circumstances. Until and unless we recognize that we are responsible for our own behavior and that we have choices in our lives, we can never get to the point that we can stand up to those that hurt us. Until and unless we know within our own hearts and souls that we are "good enough", we will never be able to achieve our highest goals and dreams.
As I watch spring come into full fruition and feel the steady movement into summer, I can only think about how we as humans continue to grow as our seasons pass. Our footsteps become more sure with every passing year. Hopefully, we learn to appreciate our own worth more every day. The fact of the matter is though that much of the time, it isn't easy, this thing called life. Much of the time, we find ourselves plodding away through our days or getting angry at the boss or annoyed with the kids. Every once in a while, though, all of that stops and we are struck silent in awe and wonder with the world around us.
These are the moments that we have to seek out, embrace, and cherish. They are all around us. The seagull buffeted by the wind. The scarlet poppies waving in the field. The sound of the surf crashing against the shore. The warmth of the cat upon my lap as I type. The gentle smell of fresh laundry and sunshine. When we can learn to look for these simple things and make them a part of who we are in our core, we can begin to be at peace with the chaos and bedlam that is in the world around us. These moments in time allow us to stop long enough to understand how our actions are impacting us and those around us. They allow us to look back to see where we have been. They allow us to gain strength to move forward. They allow us to gauge our next steps and determine where we want to go as we move forward. Take the time to stop and look around today.
And, without question, make today great!