How many challenges do we face every single week of the month? Real life contains emotional tests like disappointments, tragedy, societal issues, stress, injury, divorce, death, unemployment and even choices we make with an unknown future. So how do we keep moving forward without being totally defeated with life?
There are several ways we can do this that are truly effective if we are determined to move forward and intentional about facing the issue. By intentionally facing the issue, it builds on our strengths and makes us even more resilient for the next challenge. If we don’t face it, it weakens our capacity for the next time.
Boy did I learn these lessons the hard way…
Despite my hand injury and pain slowing me down, past abuse, and the huge commitment of raising my grandson full time (some days I feel too old for this!), I refuse to let myself get defeated. Through my emotional fitness journey, I found some strategies that I put into practise that really helped me to learn to experience the inevitable challenges, have normal feelings about them, yet find a way to move past them quicker so that they have less impact on my life.
Here is what I learned…
- I learned to enjoy my life as it is, instead of wishing it was different. I learned to be present in my current life, enjoy what life has to offer now and not constantly be feeling like I need something different. Having those feelings of wanting something different than what you have now is a huge stress, worry and constantly gets you down. This is a hard habit to get out of, and I need to remind myself of this at times, but it is worth the work!
- I learned to be thankful. Wow, this made a huge difference in my life. It is so easy to count our troubles instead of counting our blessings, but focusing on trouble completely eliminates our ability to experience the good we have been given in life. A change in my perspective here made all the difference. I learned to recognize the good and to be very thankful about it.
- I learned to slow down. I was constantly in a rush every minute of every day. By being in this state of mind, I was constantly making mistakes, cutting corners, getting ahead of myself and missing out on so many important moments in life. Not to mention that being in a rush all the time was driving my kids crazy! I learned to slow down and remembered what my mom always told me…”slow and steady wins the race”…dang it she was right! Slowing down and being intentional about what I was doing improved my state of mind, I was more relaxed and my life was less stressful and (no surprise), my relationships improved!
- I learned to face the truth and the real emotional issues. It was always easier to turn away from life challenges instead of facing them. I was a master avoider!! The fact is, these emotions and truths will catch up to us eventually! I learned that when I faced reality, I was much more capable of dealing with life effectively. Seriously, when you do this, what once seemed difficult, now seems so much easier! Things that seemed scary, now feel more comfortable and familiar. I felt the difference this made in my strength and it helped me to build a much deeper confidence in myself. Feeling capable is a great feeling! ….and once on this path, you just keep getting stronger all the time!
- Further to facing the truth, I found that NOT pushing emotions away or packing them away in the “little black pandora’s box” of my mind was the best idea! Seriously, I have learned that we need those feelings in order to have satisfaction, meaning and absolute pleasure in our life. Packing away those feelings in the black box actually drained my energy and had unconcious impact on my personality! Sounds scary, but its very true. We need to experience our real emotions to have satisfaction and joy in our lives!
- Another thing I learned is that things cannot be perfect all of the time. I had to really believe the fact that no one is perfect and no one gets things right every time. If we have too unreasonable of expectations of ourselves, there is a constant feeling of failure and inadequacy. This is NOT a good feeling, but had become a bad habit for me. Perfectionism actually leads to anger and lack of confidence and has a negative impact on relationships. This is a tough one to get over since I have had this issue since childhood, but it is an essential one to work through in order to be happy with yourself. I learned that I was able to gain confidence through the process of trying, succeeding, failing and trying again…It built my power, resilience and confidence over time.
- The last thing I learned that was a critical shift for me to avoid defeat in life was to realize that relationships in our life need to be nurtured and cared for. This includes coworkers, intimate partner, kids, family…all of these relationships need to be given attention and commitment to keep them alive and positive…and not just occasionally…this is something to work on consistently. The other thing I had to learn was that I am 100% responsible for my contribution to the relationships and for my happiness. No one else was responsible for any of this. Forgiveness, making amends, accepting forgiveness, being open and vulnerable about love and talking about concerns were essential to realize and to apply to my life.
There was a lot of things to talk about today! These were all things I learned by being committed to personal development, being determined to deal with past issues of abuse, focusing on becoming a better person… Ultimately, developing personal strengths in multiple areas of life and thinking bigger like this really does make accepting any kind of defeat in life totally optional. We have the choice and we don’t have to let life’s challenges get us down!
I am feeling happy, successful and accomplished right now since I got day 13 of my 30 day Fitness Challenge DONE! I hope you have a fabulous day!!
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