(Excerpt from Pain, Passion & Purpose – Available on Amazon)
Illuminating the Shadows
Every day is a challenge. We wake up bleary-eyed, grab a cup of java and turn on the morning news to be met by warnings of a down economy, increased crime and natural disasters. We’re made aware of war and famine, increased competition in the marketplace and health scares – and that’s all before we’ve even left the house! As we go about our daily business it’s no wonder we find ourselves surrounded by irritable people and are constantly fighting off a foul mood ourselves. Let’s face it, life is hard – but it can also be beautiful. How can we keep ourselves from being sucked into a vortex of victim-hood? We can start by putting things in their proper perspective. Here are five secrets to shining a light in the shadows:
- Rewire worrying – It’s only natural to want to protect ourselves from all the turmoil around us, but worrying really doesn’t help anything. All it does is keep us focused on potential problems with a feeling of powerlessness. Instead, retrain your brain to turn worry into preparedness by brainstorming possible solutions to the things that are weighing heavily on your mind. Go so far as to write them down and safely tuck them away somewhere. This enables you to take a proactive stance toward life and feel prepared for whatever may come your way.
- Acknowledge the truth about people – Yes, there are people out there doing some pretty terrible things, but they’re not faceless monsters. They’re simply individuals who’ve somehow convinced themselves that they’re justified in their actions. Somehow just knowing this truth removes some of their power. Don’t allow wrong-doers to carry some formidable mystique, in truth they’re no more powerful than you or I. People sometimes make mistakes and fall prey to faulty logic – and as a person, that includes you. Knowing this cannot only help to protect you from others, but prevent you from hurting others, as well.
- Refuse to be a victim – Even if we’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s misguided behavior, the experience never defines us. We are always free to move forward and find a way to create peace in our lives again. You’re entitled to feel anger and resentment over what’s been done, but don’t allow it to steal away your right to be at peace. Take active measures to do whatever you feel will help you to create space from the pain. Someone else may have taken away your security, but you always have the power to take it back.
- Allow yourself to feel – Defense mechanisms intended to protect us can sometimes do more harm than good. Often the only way past the pain is through it, and that means allowing yourself some time to truly get acquainted with your feelings. Yes, it will hurt, but by getting the feelings out into the open you’ll be more likely to gain control over them. Never allow anything to make you run away. You have a human right to be able to stand in your own integrity, and if that means crying a few tears, then so be it.
- Forgiving is the only way forward – Forgiving does not mean condoning, or forgetting. It simply means that you refuse to carry that baggage around anymore. Since you can’t change the past, it really is the only way to find freedom. A wrong doing may have taken your past but finding forgiveness keeps it from taking your future.
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