There are some people in this world who fall apart at the drop of a pin. You know the type…any little thing can set them off.
Oversleeping can ruin their entire day. The cleaning lady had to cancel? Their favorite shirt is stained? The cat vomited on the carpet? A week-end trip was postponed? The washing machine is on the blink? You’re out of Diet Coke? Your mother-in-law is on the phone AGAIN…Oh My!!!! It’s simply too much to cope with. Light the oven, Ethel, my head is going in…!!…
On the other hand, there are other people who are able to rise above most of life’s turmoil. They go about their daily lives with a straight back, a broad smile, and a hand out to help anyone in need. (Most of the time…let’s get real…no one is that peaceful ALL of the time)! And yet their personal lives are not without challenge.
Some deal with cancer, a special needs child, loss of a partner, foreclosures, unemployment, a variety of catastrophes that “should” cripple them - but don’t. What’s their secret? They’ve been tested. The problem they’re dealing with is BIG - it makes most of the little things roll off their backs. There’s nothing like a cancer diagnosis, or similar life crisis, to remind you of your priorities.
Since my diagnosis eight years ago, I’ve talked with hundreds, maybe thousands, of women who are fighting cancer. I’d be lying if I said that every single one of them was coping well. However, you might be surprised to know that the vast majority of women engaged in this life and death battle have risen above their pain and uncertainty. In the middle of the madness of their life, they’ve found a measure of inner peace. While all these women are different, they hold many common beliefs. I know their shared wisdom has helped me, perhaps their “secrets” will also help you. Here’s a few of them:
Never ask, “Why me”? Why not you? Would you rather this calamity befall someone else? The neighbor down the street? Your sister? The woman at the bakery shop? Bad things happen to good people in the most random of ways. Wondering why it happened to you is just a waste of time. The fact is, it did happen to you. Accept it.
If you need help to deal with your emotions, get help. There is no shame in seeking counseling. Talk with your doctor about anti-depressants and/or anti anxiety meds. No one said you had to carry your burden without help.
Pray. If you don’t believe in God, pray to the sun, a universal source, the earth, whatever. Sit down everyday and close your eyes and ask for help in finding the strength needed to get through each day. Ask for wisdom, patience, kindness, courage, and acceptance. And don’t forget to breathe.
Let others help you. When a friend asks, “what can I
do?”, tell them. They can’t guess what you need. So, if you could use a couple of extra hands to do the million chores you have, hand out assignments to all who want to help you. It will make them feel good.
Cry. Yes, cry. Sometimes we all need a good cry. Bottling up all our emotions and pretending to be Superwoman can only last so long. Before something snaps (like your last nerve), find a safe place and let it go. Take deep breaths in and when you exhale, cry loudly. Repeat this process until you feel better.
And, speaking from my own experience, when you are down and out, learn to count your blessings. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, when all seems lost, teach yourself to be grateful for what you still have. And, no, I’m not just speaking of what really counts in life…family, friends, etc. Of course we all count them among our blessings.
No, I’m reminding you to actively recognize and count everything in life that gives you pleasure. No matter how small.
When you reach for the salt shaker, be glad you have salt.
Do you have electricity today? That’s a blessing.
Toilet paper? Try living without it.
When you take a hot shower, give thanks for the shower, the soap, the shampoo, the hot water, and the towel to dry yourself.
In the Spring or Summer, step outside and look around. Look everywhere. How many different shades of blue do you see? Each is a gift - and so is your eyesight.
In the Winter, you’ll have to look harder, but the color is still there. Each time you see a bright hue, acknowledge the prize before you.
Count, count, count your blessings. Some are seen, some are heard, or smelled, or tasted, or touched. All are precious and each recognized blessing helps us to live our lives to the very fullest, adding joy , and mitigating hardship.
If you have a special blessing you’d like to share, please write me. I’d love to hear from you.