I know how frustrating life can be at times. The world is, all too quickly closing in on you and the doorway back to your sanity is getting farther and farther away. Growing smaller until it appears you’ll never fit back through it. The weight on your shoulders is so heavy it’s grinding you to the ground. It’s like you’re constantly swimming against the waves and every time you get near the surface, you get dragged under by the current again and again and again… a seemingly never ending cycle. Trust me; I’ve been on that treadmill where it seemed you’re always chasing the elusive breakeven point. No matter how hard you work, it never seems to get any closer.
I thought, Isn’t that how life works. When the big waves come crashing down, drowning you in the oceans of despair and pulling you farther into the icy depths of depression, sometimes you just have to stop struggling and relax. Stop panicking, take a deep breath, and slowly dissect your situation into those things that can be controlled and those that can’t. Then, concentrate all your efforts on those things that you can change.
Figure out what it is that you NEED. Not what you WANT. Not what it would be NICE TO HAVE. But what you REALLY NEED. Then decide the best way to handle them and move on. If it’s something you don’t need, get rid of it.
In hopes that you can forgo the harsh realities I had to learn from firsthand experience, I would like to share with you a few lessons I’ve stubbornly learned throughout the years.
First, you must understand that the world is not fair. You’re not owed anything. No fairy godmother will appear and wave her wand to turn your pumpkin into a coach. Hard work, done smartly, is still the only key to success. Besides, a pumpkin will go a long way to fill empty stomachs. Better than any coach ever would.
There are many people who are more than willing to help if you just ask. No one in this world can succeed without help from someone and there is no shame in asking. But remember, just as there are times in your life you have to say NO, it is also ok for other people to say NO to you. That’s alright; everything is not always about you.
Secondly, you are not perfect. No one on this earth is. Accept other people’s imperfection and they will accept yours. There is always going to be certain people that will not love or appreciate you no matter what you do. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and it makes no difference if you agree with it or not, respect it. Don’t try to change them, don’t try to change yourself for them, just let them go. On the other hand, there are those that will always love and appreciate you no matter what you do. Surround yourself with them. Reflect their love and appreciation back to them. They are all you need. Embrace them. A sincere smile is always worth more than words.
Your life belongs to you. You’re responsible for it. Stop blaming everyone else for your problems. Others can help guide you, but never do anything that you don’t think is right just because someone else thinks it might be right for you. They won’t have to live with the results, you will. Always remember, there is nothing more important than honesty, integrity, values, love and forgiveness. These are not just words; they are a way of living.
Sometimes people will say things they don’t mean and other times they will do things they said they wouldn’t. Accidents happen and sometimes bad things happen to good people. You are not God; you do not have all the answers. Get over it. Anger and resentment can build a very strong fort around your heart. Only forgiveness and kindness will tear it down. Admit it when you’re wrong and learn from those mistakes.
Life is not always about work. Just like you need sleep to refresh your mind and body, you need relaxation to refuel your spirit. Be thankful and take comfort in the simple things. Remember, no matter how horrible your life is, or at least how horrible you think it is there are millions of people that would gladly trade places with you.
Finally, things are never as bad in reality as your imagination can make you believe. If you keep your head and don’t panic, you will eventually float to the top.
Jerry Brotherton is an author and father of four.