This is not the type of post that I tend to write, but Tom has such an incredible outlook on life that I’ve decided to share it in case any of you are going through a tough time, or are having difficulty overcoming past disappointment. I especially love the rain pic here because I think it’s perfect for a blog post about flourishing during difficult times…or metaphorically making it through a storm.
Personally, I like to focus on the positive, so I rarely discuss the challenges I’ve faced, but I think it’s appropriate for this post. Growing up, I suffered through serious health problems. They were so severe that there was a period when I was in the doctor’s office at least three times a week. In my mind, these trials came on out of nowhere. I remember always being very happy and carefree, and then all of a sudden being in crippling pain. During this period, I frequently had nightmares that something bad would suddenly happen over which I had no control. That had an undeniable impact on my personality, and is why I love the following advice from Tom:
The truth about worrying. Worry is like a prayer to the wrong God; it increases stress, which isn’t good for our body or soul. Our fears are often about something that we don’t want to happen, that hasn’t happened, and that may never happen. If we can stay focused on the present, we can fend off fear. For example, instead of worrying about an upcoming test or a job interview, if we tell fear to take a hike and immerse ourselves in preparing for it, physically and mentally, we can do our best.
Don’t worry about worrying. That being said, if you do catch yourself worrying, don’t mentally beat yourself up for doing it. That only leads to more stress. Without feeling guilty, acknowledge that you were worrying and then tell yourself you’ll do better in the future.
Dealing with a loss or trauma. When I went through all those health procedures as a child, even when I was scared and felt like crying, I tried really hard to stop myself. I felt that if I stayed strong, I’d do better. Yes, it’s wonderful to be strong, but sometimes when life is really tough, instead of suppressing our emotions, we should allow ourselves to feel them. Then we can let them go and leave them behind us. The problem with pushing down negative emotions is that they usually won’t stay down, and when they manifest themselves, the sensation can be even stronger. This tip applies whether you are in physical or emotional pain. During those childhood procedures, I used to think that if I were strong enough, I would not feel the pain. When the tactic didn’t work, I was convinced that I had failed. Somethings hurt so much that you cannot make the pain go away, but you don’t have to keep reliving it when it’s over. That just tears you down. So see the situation for what it is, experience it, and release it.
Go forward with confidence. Just because something has gone wrong in the past doesn’t mean it will go wrong in the future. When you face rejection, instead of thinking that you are unlikeable, or incompetent, be a detective. Try to understand why you were turned down, learn from the experience, and move forward without feeling bad about it. Remember, life is a learning process. If we never fell down, we would never feel the pride of being able to get back up.
If any of you have advice, we’d all love to hear it.