During your lifetime, you’ll experience a number of storms, some more serious than others. Similar to the weather, you’ll likely experience a number of cloudy days, tolerate some annoying periods of nothing but rain, or possibly cope with weeks of no sunshine. Hopefully, you’ll have to endure severe thunderstorms much less often, and, if you’re lucky, you’ll never have to recover from a hurricane, tornado, or tsunami.
When a person looks over an entire lifetime, most often the sunny days outnumber the stormy ones. When you’re in the midst of a life storm, though, it can seem like the sun will never shine again.
I’ve had my share of life storms. I experienced poverty, the tragic death of a brother, the demise of my parent’s marriage, relocation, estrangement, bullying, and sexual assault before I left high school. By the time I was thirty I had bounced back from workplace sexual harassment, serious illness, an abusive marriage, a medically fragile child, bankruptcy, and divorce. In my late 30’s, I faced a breast cancer diagnosis. I was a single mom of teenage boys, and they needed me. The time spent waiting for biopsy results was the hardest week of my life. The Sunday afternoon before my test results were due, I received an unsolicited message from a psychic medium. I had never heard her name before that day, and I’ve never heard from her again.
“I just want you to know,” she said, “those test results you’re waiting for will be negative. You are not going to have cancer, Beth. All of your life struggles have already occurred. The rest of your life will be spent helping others. Your past challenges will become their future inspiration.”
She was right. The diagnosis was negative. Other than that week, my life after divorce had been moving steadily uphill. Today when I look back over the difficulties in my life, I see that the happy days far outnumber the difficult ones. Still, those tough times were TOUGH. I consider myself a resilient woman, one with an abundance of optimism, but there have been times in my life when I thought I’d never get out of bed again.
Through these experiences, I’ve developed some reliable recovery strategies. These are things that I did in addition to therapy, spiritual development, personal coaching, REIKI, energy work, and lots of love and support from others. If you’re having a tough time in life right now, give these suggestions a try:
- Accept that everything happens for a reason. Whether you trust in God, The Universe, or something else, understanding that “all things truly do work out as they are meant to be” is a powerful acceptance tool. Accepting this is how I overcame anger, grief, heartbreak and resentment. Have you ever felt a heartbreak about that person you thought was your soul mate, met them years later, and discovered that you were far better off? Ever lost a job, felt devastated, then landed a better paying or more rewarding position? Yes, sometimes we are disappointed and heartbroken and later realize that life turned out better than we originally imagined. Things are going to work out the way they are meant to, my friend. Let go of your resistance and allow it to unfold.
- Stop obsessing about what other people think, might think, or will think. Honestly, I believe that the fear of what others think is the most damaging and dangerous situation in our culture today. When making important life decisions, the opinion of others is the least important aspect. If you find yourself obsessing about judgments from neighbors, co-workers, church-goers, or family members will think about your life, relationships, finances, church, school, career, etc., ask this question: “What is the best choice for THIS family?” This is the first step to releasing the need for approval.
- Take things one day at a time. When you’re dealing with a life crisis, try and avoid thinking about the past or the future. Those thoughts can really keep you stuck. Instead of worrying about what will happen in the future, or why things cannot be as they once were, focus on today only. There were times when I would promise myself to do just one thing, then I could go back to bed. Soon it became two things, and eventually, I was able to set bigger goals, stretch out of my comfort zone to get back on track and moving forward again.
- Listen to Uplifting Music. Music is scientifically proven to elevate your mood. Whether you enjoy classical piano or guitar, show tunes, jazz, rock, pop, country, or alternative music, playing the tunes that you love will help. Maybe right now it’s just one song to begin your day. Then you can try music at night so you stop over-thinking, worrying, or feeling anxious before sleep. If you need some help finding motivational music, find my favorites here. Feel free to add some of your favorite songs in the comments below. I hope you find yourself singing aloud very soon. That’s always a good sign. ?
- Laugh every day. Right now, this is an easy one to avoid and I understand. You may not feel like laughing today, and you don’t have to. But as soon as you can, whether it’s a few days from today or a few weeks, start laughing. Collect some things that make you giggle. Compile your own collection of jokes, books, comedy tracks, old photos, stories with friends, YouTube videos, or full-length movies. Science tells us that laughter heals. Here are some of my favorite funny things.
When you catch yourself smiling, you know you’re starting to recover. Soon those small smiles will lead to tiny giggles and eventual belly laughs. When that happens, you’ll know that you’ve survived the storm. Now, it’s your turn to inspire others. ?