Life is not fair.
Bad things happen to good people.
You know, because you’re a good person, yet you’ve lived more than your fair share of painful experiences.
You wonder if you can live a happy life.
You try to make the best of it but some days the memories of the pain, and all the consequences that have impacted your life, get you down.
You feel deep within that there must be more to your life than this, but how do you move past the pain when it hurts so much? How do get to a place where you feel that you have a happy life?
In my journey, I found some unexpected strategies that helped me in surprising ways. I was astounded by their effectiveness. You could give them a try.
You see, I was in a place where I had become invisible in my life serving the needs of everyone. With my disabled husband, raising five children, I was working full-time, with the last ten years as the sole income provider. Situations at work were challenging and attempts to move up, to earn more revenue to support my family more comfortably, foundered. The pressure mounted, which resulted in having even less time and energy for my family – the very people I was working for to support.
I was feeling hurt. Every year, it was getting harder and harder to manage my kids’ disappointments when I couldn’t support them financially in ways that were important for them — and for me. I was starting to feel a lot of resentment, and along with it came feelings of anger. These feelings, unfortunately, overflowed into how I managed my relationships. I was not showing up the way I wanted to in my relationships with those I loved the most.
Enough was enough! I had to do something different, so I started looking for ideas outside of myself since mine didn’t seem to have any long term results. I was surprised by the answers I found. Even more, I was surprised by the effectiveness of the new strategies I tried.
Five Strategies That Helped Me Climb Over My Wall of Despair
See how you might be able to apply them in your life.
1. Take 100% responsibility for your life
Jack Canfield in Success Principles takes readers to task to assume 100% responsibility for their life.
This is harder than it first appears, but the results are liberating.
For better or worse, slipping into the blame game is a very human thing that we do. We say to ourselves… because of that situation… if this hadn’t happened… if only… and so on. These postpone our ability to assume full responsibility for where we are in life. Which means, until we accept full responsibility, we cannot move forward to where we truly feel we ought to be in our life.
Yes, you have lived some ugly things. But how you choose to interact with those experiences, and what you learned about yourself going through those experiences, and what you do with the insights gained moving forward – is all 100% within your control.
2. Make no excuses
Make no excuses is Canfield’s second principle. It reinforces the first principle taking 100% responsibility for your life. It’s important to remember not to assign blame.
Rather, just focus on extracting the lesson you learned from the experiences that are getting you down, and start applying those insights to how you live your life starting now.
3. You have the power to create to live a happy life
The power that people have to create is staggering.
The sad part is that when you’re feeling mad and frustrated with your current situation, you don’t have the energy to create. Worse, you feel that you’re unworthy as a creator and it is probably makes more sense to defer to others the job of creation. So, you find yourself on an ocean buffeted from wave to wave reacting to others’ lives, rather than creating your own life boat and steering clear to the port where you want to be.
The irony here is twofold – your power to create goes unacknowledged by you, while you continue to use power to create to perpetuate the version of reality that you are currently living, even if it’s making you feel miserable.
For me, I thought, if I’m 100% responsible for how I have responded to the tough stuff that has come up in my life, then somehow that means that I’ve created this place in my life that is making me feel mad and sad. If it’s true that I created this emotional space around me, then it can’t hurt to try to create a more positive emotional space. Clearly, I’ve been able to demonstrate the power to create in a negative direction. What would that look like if I used that same power create a different more positive response? What have I got to lose to run an experiment and see what happens?
The results of the small experiments I ran were nothing short of astounding. So now, I’m running some very large experiments, of which this blog is one. I’ll keep you posted as the story unfolds.
4. Forgive to get to where you want to go in life
I learned about the power of forgiveness from many sources. They are too numerous to list here, so I’ll write up a future blog post on what I learned from these different sources.
For now, I’d like to focus on the most important thing I learned about forgiveness and letting go.
Even though you don’t want to forgive the jerks who hurt you, because they don’t deserve YOUR forgiveness, the most surprising thing you learn about forgiveness is that, ultimately, it’s not even about them. It’s about you!
When you deliberately set out to forgive others the bad stuff they did to you, you in fact learn that you are forgiving yourself. As you pursue forgiveness in a systematic way, you will discover that there are many layers, often unexpected dimensions, that forgiving yourself releases within you.
5. Let go of the old to let in the new to live a happy life
Letting go is like forgiveness but different in the sense that when you release yourself from thinking, and re-thinking about old situations in a never-ending loop, you actually free yourself up for new experiences.
When you keep rehashing the scenes from the past in the present, you keep re-creating them in your life – this is why we witness the people we love make the same mistakes over and over again. They don’t see nor understand that they are stuck in a way of looking at and living life. Until they do, they go over the same patterns, and can never quite see what is so obvious to us.
Letting go can be very difficult to do, though there are many wonderful techniques that I have learned and tried that offered fabulous results.
For example, when you feel yourself replaying the same scenes in your mind, put those thoughts in a balloon and let them float away. Whatever you do, don’t fight or resist those thoughts, because if you do, then you are giving them the strength of your power. Just let them go – gently and neutrally.
Yes, I know, this is easier said then done. Many books have been written on this topic and additional blog posts are planned to share with you what I’ve learned about how to leverage this surprisingly effective tool to get on with living your good life.
So, now what?
Yes, life isn’t fair. Bad things do happen to good people.
But, is life about bad things happening? O rather, is it not more about how you respond to the bad things? What have you learned about yourself in that awful situation? What have you learned about people and about life?
Having gone through the experience, knowing what you know now, how would you deal differently with the situation?
It’s not your fault you didn’t know what to do. You were learning a new skill or insight, and you were doing the best you could with the information you had at the time.
Now though, with the knowledge and wisdom you gained, you have at your fingertips awesome information to guide you.
What can you — will you — do differently to take one step closer to living your true happiness?