A very commonly used quote, often by those annoyingly happy people who haven’t had REAL challenges: poverty, ill health, abuse, etc. in their lives. They haven’t been so down it’s impossible to see a way out of the troubles. They have minor annoyances and find it easy to solve their trivial problems. They have supportive families that will always help, they have the odd bout of ‘flu, not major health problems that take away their ability to work or go on nice holidays. They find it easy to be like Pollyanna and ignore what’s going on in the world, because a wealthy aunt will come along and rescue them from the orphanage and their life of loss and isolation.
Or so I once thought, and I know I was not alone.
Having experienced a challenging childhood, I found myself separated from my family in my early teenage years, in a childrens home and then foster care. I was isolated, abandoned and rejected. I had no power of my own to influence my destiny. My life was controlled by what went on outside of me. I was intelligent, but my educational potential was destroyed by having to move around and change schools. I was damaged and the whole world knew it, like the crumpled bit of litter on the street that people think nothing of stepping on, and some even liked to kick me around just for fun.
Divorced and a single parent by the age of 20, with no career prospects, I felt my life was an existence I just had to grit my teeth and bear my way through as well as I could. I believed I was not a fit mother to my two sons, they would be so much better off without me. I didn’t want them following my path.
Twenty years later, having followed this same rocky, difficult, crippling course through most of the way, I was mostly housebound, virtually bedbound, with ill health and disability. I had lost my job and income, and hadn’t even had a hot meal for several weeks. I believed I was near the end of my life, one way or another, because I knew this was not any kind of life. I had nothing to offer the world and couldn’t look after myself.
This was my defining time, something had to change. It was ‘do or die’. I stopped taking the mountains of pain and sleep medications I was prescribed, really not bothered about which way the consequences would take me. I went completely cold turkey. I ended up in hospital, where I was told “well of course you’ll be in pain if you’re not taking your meds”. I replied “but I have no life with them, I am like a zombie”. If it were not for my sons, I think I could well have taken the other option, and taken all my tablets and ended it there. But I thought if I stop taking them and I die, at least my boys would not have a suicide to deal with.
So I was put on a hospital ward for a week. There were 3 other ladies in my room. Well, they were the best roomies I could have had. Two of these ladies were there for cancer treatments, but they were so upbeat and funny they actually got me laughing and kept me laughing. I also had breakfast and two cooked meals each day. I felt my strength returning, and I realised how much I admired these two ladies who were dealing with cancer, and yet were so positive and uplifting to me.
An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming! – Unknown
I thought that period of about two years was the worst time of my life. Three years later, I look back and I say Thank You. I believe I had to get so low that UP was the only way to go. I had to recognise that it was only I who had the power to steer my own life. Nobody else could fix me: not family, friends, doctors or the government.
I discovered things that made me question my thoughts. Made me think about what was real, what was true, and how my thoughts impacted on my reality. How, up to that time, my thoughts, and the actions they caused me to take, were so destructive. How a small change to a thought, a perspective, can alter reality hugely and exponentially.
To start with, changing the way you think is not easy. It doesn’t come naturally. It doesn’t change your life overnight. I had had over 40 years training and practice in negativity. This is turning everything you believe on it’s head. The one thing I did remind myself, and still do, was that it obviously wasn’t working before, so what did I have to lose by trying something different?
I discovered many strategies that help me tune in to better-feeling thoughts. That helped me sift through the lies I have believed, and let go of them. I practised many concepts that were previously alien to me. And I noticed my world, my reality, began to improve.
I had many regrets about experiences in my life. Then I realised that everything that had happened before had shaped who I am today. I am happy with who I am today, so how can I now regret what brought me to this place?
I developed confidence in my own abilities, to know for myself what made me feel better, and what made me feel worse. I made conscious decisions to go with the flow of the better.
I am sharing my journey with you. I would love for you to join me. And I would love to join you in sharing your thoughts and experiences too.
Some things you may resonate with, feel ease about, and some you may not. That’s OK. Take what makes you feel better. Discard what does not. We are all on our own unique path. Our own amazing journey of self-discovery. We are all beautifully different, and yet all perfectly connected.
- Fate – A Chasing Storm (shgitika.wordpress.com)
- On Cultivating Happiness- A Journey (greenserendipity.com)
- Reach For It (sanesamantha.wordpress.com)