That's life! We can never get it under control. But you have a choice in how to respond in the fallout of a situation that is difficult.
"Arrghhh. One challenge after another."
The dog barfed on the new carpet, Aunt Lizzie is coming with her new boyfriend and the house (and you) aren't ready, telemarketers keep calling and the furnace just stopped working. You're ready to tear your hair out.
We all have days like that - one challenge after another. It's frustrating. Just when we think we've got everything under control and life is straightening out, something happens to throw us off kilter. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
That's life! We can never get it under control.
But you have a choice in how to respond in the fallout of a situation that is difficult. Perhaps you've made your best choice, but there still may be parts of the situation that are hard to digest. For example, you miss a flight because you didn't get to the airport on time. Instead of letting your blood pressure rise and berating yourself - or your driver, or the traffic - you take a deep breath and decide to use your extra time before the next flight to read a book you have on your Kindle in your carry-on. You've chosen how to respond.
Now, to take it to the next level, here's a suggestion for the next thing to do: say something good will come of this. Then expect something good and watch for it. Maybe you'll meet someone at the airport and have a great connection. Maybe you'll run into an old friend. Maybe you'll feel refreshed after a few unplanned hours of alone time.
When faced with a challenge I say, "Something good will come of this," and time and time again, something wonderful happens as a result. I believe that saying something good will come of this puts my mind in a place where I am looking for the blessing. Maybe there's always a blessing and we miss it by bemoaning the situation. Rather than let my mind run on automatic and be frustrated and defeated, I give my mind the job of looking for the silver lining.
This saying is such a habit for me now - because the results have been so wonderful - that all my friends know it. When they forget to empower themselves in this way, I remind them something good will come of this, and in those moments when I forget, they remind me.
In addition to saying frequently, "Something good will come of this," in a calamitous situation, one statement I use a lot in stressful situations is: "It is what it is." Acceptance of what currently is loosens me up from that paralyzed place where I often make matters worse. Acceptance often comes with a deep sigh. My shoulders go down a bit and I'm better able to flow with the twists and turns of life.
When we accept things as they are, we give ourselves the gift of returning to the present moment where life actually happens.
Ellen Wood of Questa is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of the series, "The Secret Method for Growing Younger." Her websites are howtogrowyounger.com and ellenwoodspeaks.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Spanish version of this column is here.
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