Tag Archives: hope

I distract myself

The other day a dear friend asked me what I did when I was upset at something, or someone. When my anger or sadness was taking over every minute. How did I handle it to stay calm and okay?

I paused before answering. (Did I mention we were running, and I always have to pause to get enough breath to answer?) “I look at what’s good,” I told her.

“Oh,” she replied. “Do you mean you look to see all you have, and how many awful things could be true for you that aren’t, and you realize you should be grateful rather than upset?”

“No,” I answered (again after trying to catch my breath). “I look for things that feel good right now. I distract myself like I would a toddler.” Another pause.

“I notice the trees against the sky.” (As I’ve written here often.) “The sound of seagulls.” (I was just in Portland, Maine.) “I hug my kid.” (Or anyone who will let me.)

I distract myself.

I no longer believe in covering up or denying my feelings, and I certainly no longer believe in beating myself up because I’m sad or angry or struggling. I’ve learned to allow those feelings to be – and to be part of me. (The anger was the hardest one to accept. I had learned real well not to get angry.)

But I’ve also learned that “I’m more than my feelings,” and “Feelings, not facts.” I’ve learned that I don’t have to stay in my anger or hurt or pain any longer than I want to. And I’ve learned that the best way to lighten my load is to lighten my load. 🙂 To look for situations or experiences or sensations that will ease my heart or relax my body.

To distract myself.

I’ve learned that if I look up – literally and metaphorically – I can usually find something to smile about. I’ve learned (and I teach) that when I smile, my brain somehow thinks I’m happy. I wouldn’t be smiling if I wasn’t happy – I’m not that crazy – so I must be happy. I use this to my greatest advantage.

It’s not that I have no right to complain because other people have it worse than me. My pain still hurts. It’s not that I shouldn’t feel pain, and I need to shut it down right away. Sometimes feeling – and leaning into – my pain and suffering is what I really need. It’s not that I need to be stronger, or better, or more resilient. I am (quite) strong enough, good enough, and resilient enough. And sometimes things just hurt. Or suck.

But I can lift myself out of my pain and suffering when I’m ready to be lifted out of my pain and suffering. And sometimes it’s as easy as just distracting myself.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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I’m going to have a good day

I woke up this morning with a justifiable reason not to have a good day. But I’m going to have a good day.

I woke up this morning with a justifiable reason to be frustrated and disheartened. But I’m going to be heartened and hopeful instead.

I don’t know if I always was a “glass half-full” kind of person. I know that I work hard to be one now. I don’t want to ignore or negate the awful things in the world or the challenging aspects of my life, but I do want to choose to see the upside and potential. I’ve learned that a positive outlook literally broadens our peripheral vision and allows us to see more opportunities. Opportunities we might miss if we’re hunkered down in the negative.

I believe (finally) in all my feelings. After years of not having – or at least not admitting or allowing – any sadness or anger, I know how life-affirming it is (for me at least) to admit and allow the full range of my emotions. The “good” and the “bad.”

But, I don’t want to be anchored in the anger or sadness. I no longer want to be mired in or defined by my pain. I want to look for reasons – and create reasons when necessary – to have a good day.

I can notice the sunshine and the leaves blowing in the wind. I can breathe deep and feel my mind and soul ease. I can think of the people I love and the friendship and joy I have in my life.

And I can have a good day.

Have a good day.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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There is hope after…

I want everyone to know that there is hope.

I remember when I felt hopeless. When things felt like too much, and I felt like too little. I remember when my brother came to stay with me one night when I didn’t want to be alone, because I had lost hope. I remember when – all those years ago – there seemed like there would never be a break from my anguish, never be a release of my traumas and terrors. I remember when – just recently – I fell back into my fears and anguish for a bit, and again it seemed like there would never be a way out.

I’m here to say, there is.

There is hope after anguish. There is hope after pain. There is hope after suffering.

There is hope after hitting a bottom. And another bottom. And another bottom.

There is hope after remembering things you wish you didn’t remember and facing things you don’t want to face. There is hope after having a week (or weeks) when you felt like you couldn’t get off the couch. Or you actually couldn’t get off the couch.

There is hope.

I know I haven’t hit the deepest depths possible, or at least I think there are people who unfortunately have had to go even deeper into despair than I ever did. But I’m here to say there is hope after deep, dark depths.

I find hope in the little joys of life. Sunshine. Smiles. Breezes. I find hope in others. Connecting. Reminiscing. Laughing. Dancing. I find hope in reminding myself of how I’ve climbed out before and of how so many people climb out of seemingly bottomless pits.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I certainly don’t believe I have anything and everything everyone else needs. I obviously don’t have experiences in all the pain and anguish, or even the deepest, darkest pain and anguish.

I just know that I’ve been graced with a way out of every bottom I’ve hit (or created) and every tragedy or challenge I’ve endured. I just know that humans have an incredible, undeniable ability to adapt and evolve and renew.

And that gives me hope. Endless hope and beautiful hope. That gives me hope that there’s hope after nearly all – if not all – of it.

So, if you need it right now, hang on until you can find hope.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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