She recently became singular as a result of rejection from her significant other. She was unemployed, about to be homeless and estranged from her only daughter. I listened.
The few times I asked, “Have you…?” Her response was, “I can’t because…” I realized her pain had her stuck in anger and shame. I was reminded of how proud she was. She was used to lovely things and professional opportunities where her creative mind could work its wonders. She had never imagined herself in “this place.” I listened, and then as we said goodbye, for now, I said, “Try to understand it is okay not to be okay all the time. I am only a phone call away.”
After I hung up, I prayed. I prayed I could be a temporary Band-Aid to her hurt. That my words would be more than words. When she could listen I would assure her that “this place” was a season, not her life. I would remind her that it took strength to reach out in her vulnerability. I would reassure her that she had everything she needed inside of her to make it to the other side of “this place”.
I know that when we get caught up in shame, we begin to think what is happening to us is who we are. If bad things are happening to us we think we are bad. That’s a lie! On this point, I would be compassionate but firm. We have to learn to separate our circumstances from who we are and who we were created to be. Without that ability, we begin to exhibit symptoms of shame to include depression and isolation.
There are times when it seems like a parade of “hard stuff” marches through our life and out of our control. It can look like, angst, frustration, fear, anxiety, worry about the future, bills and exhaustion. So what do we do? And is that different from what can we do? I went to my “favorites” list of inspiration and found the following to share:
“7 Timeless Strategies for Finding Inner Strength (When you need it most.)
- Decide to be OK with NOT being OK all the time. Even though it’s true that life’s challenges make us stronger, and that it will be OK eventually… it’s not always OK right now, and sometimes that’s all we can feel when we’re in the midst of terribly tough times.
- Focus only on today. No matter what’s happening, you can resourcefully fight the battles of just one day. It’s only when you add the battles of those two mind-bending eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that life gets overwhelmingly intense and complicated.
- Realize that one tiny step is all you ever need to take. It really only takes a small shift every day that over time amounts to enormous change.
- Remind yourself that few things in life are as personal as they seem.There’s absolutely no benefit to holding on to anger, resentment or any of their close cousins.
- Create healthy space for yourself away from external negativity. You can choose to carve out time away from external negativity, to reclaim some positivity and sanity.
- Make sure you’re only seeking support from the right sources. Think for a moment… If you were craving pizza, would you go to a Japanese sushi bar? Do you go to people who are consistently able to dish out what you are hungry for?
- Choose an attitude that moves you forward. In other words, a peaceful, mentally strong person is not a person who’s always in a good situation, but rather a person who always has a good attitude in every situation.”
“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
Until next time, remember,
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.