When I look back at the past decades, I feel exhaustion sweep over me.
Cancer was not the only negative thing to come up in my life. There have been quite a few horrible things that have taken place, and at times I get overwhelmed by the thought of them.
This is not where, at my age, I thought I would be, and that’s disappointing.
But I realized that part of this disappointment is the lens through which I view things. Granted, I’ve had my share of misfortune, but when my life seems to be sinking into bleakness, it’s time to do something about it.
This calls for a change in perspective.
So I have undertaken a project. I am writing out the story of my life, but with a slightly different bent: when I come across a negative event, I pause and consider whether I can find something in it to be grateful for. I write about how I overcame it, rather than how bad it was, or how unfair and so unlike what others have had to deal with. I place emphasis on the outcome to avoid getting mired in anguish.
A difficult person in my life? I’ve learned that I’m not responsible for their happinesss, only for my own. A disastrous financial situation? I’ve found that what I perceived as a terrifying outcome can be overcome, and there is a light on the other end and a path by which to maneuver through it. A frightening health crisis? I now know I have met head-on the most daunting disease I ever feared that I would have and somehow made it through treatment.
I am still here. Re-framing the bad stuff is work in progress and it’s not always easy to let go of my familiar, well-worn, negative narrative, but, yes, I am still here.
I’ve discovered that my life is a story of perseverence. There have been numerous hardships and it’s true they’ve left deep scars, but I am aware of how they may twist my attitude, which has removed some of their negative punch. While I may look around and wonder why things have gone a certain way, I also see what I’ve learned and how I’ve matured.
If you want to give this a try yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind:
This is something for you to undertake about your life, not to be forced into by another person, nor push someone else into.
This is not about looking through rose-colored glasses or feeling that your concerns are not taken seriously, nor is this a squelching of negative emotions instead of dealing with them. It’s a step to the side for a different view. This doesn’t mean that those events were not disastrous or those who perpetrated bad things don’t deserve punishment.
You have a right to be upset. You are heard.
Re-framing your life in this way means that you give evidence to the exquisite being that you are, and to the power that you have within yourself. If you feel as though you’ve been chewed up and spat out, be gentle and start slowly.
When you’re ready, invite healing by releasing the burden of negativity and, pen in hand, allow yourself to reveal your strengths.