Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Live by Reasons, not Excuses!

You´ve heard this before: you are not your circumstances. It is, however, difficult to own this when in the midst of some kind of crisis or huge challenge. This could be the loss of a job or work, a challenging financial situation, a divorce, a mental or physical ailment, the loss of a loved one, or anything else on your list of things that may make you feel like pulling the covers over your head and not facing the world.
I´ve had my share of challenges that include all of the above and then some. I won´t pretend it´s easy to pull oneself from the bootstraps and keep on going, but it IS simple and it´s a choice. When I was in my teens and early twenties I was in the habit of blaming circumstances and others for my problems. Throughout the years I have learned that only I can DO something about my situation. I am the only one who can take myself to therapy, go to the doctor, grieve and recover, take action to fulfill a dream, or whatever else I need to do.
If you have not read Viktor Frankl´s Man´s Search for Meaning, I recommend it. After reading it you will wonder what you have to complain about, no matter how dire your circumstances and will realize that it is possible to train the mind to thrive, always.
Challenges have made me stronger. I know what I am capable of. I also know I am capable of throwing ballast out – no hanging on to the past, to resentments or regrets – and moving up.

A few things that have helped me become unstoppable and mostly cheerful:

- Find reasons to get out of a funk, not excuses to perpetuate it.

- Ask for help. If you are depressed, consult with an expert. Life is easier when lived in the solution.

- If you have a disease, find out about it (I did this with my eating disorder when I was very young and wrote a book about it), and try to help others overcome it or understand it. That is the root of most of my non-fiction books.

- Stop the blame game. Tend to your garden and watch it bloom. Nobody else can do it for you, even if you think they should.

- Make a list of all the steps you can take to overcome your current challenge. If you need work, reinvent yourself, promote your skills, take classes, job-hunt as if your life depends on it- it does!

- Be grateful – Regularly I write a list of everything I am grateful for. In dire straits, I recall writing that I was grateful that I could buy groceries for my kids. Everything else was crumbling, but we had something to eat, and we had one another.

What do you do to overcome difficulties?


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