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Surviving a broken heart


“It felt like my heart had been torn out of my chest.”
– Jennifer Lopez on Ben Affleck, in her memoir True Love


“In the beginning, you tamp down the animosity for the kids’ sake. “I’m not going to deny that I went through the wringer. But I don’t think I doubted we’d end up here. That was always my dream, that the kids can have two loving parents that show respect for each other. And I feel that’s what they have.”
– Elin Nordegren on Tiger Woods, People



“I think when I came into marriage—especially when you’ve had divorced parents like myself… You’d want to try even harder to make it work and you don’t want to fall back into a pattern that you’ve seen happen in your own family. I desperately want it to work; I desperately love my husband and I wanted to share everything together. And I thought that we were a very good team.”
– Princess Diana on Prince Charles, 1995 Panorama Interview

“[Divorce is] very humiliating and very isolating… But, by the way, if it’s not painful, maybe it wasn’t the right decision to marry to begin with. Those are the appropriate emotions. When people get in your face and say, ‘This will pass,’ you think, Are they crazy? I’m never gonna feel any better than I feel right this minute. And nothing’s ever gonna make sense again. And I still have moments where I’m like, ‘Nothing’s ever gonna make sense again.'”

— Reese Witherspoon on Ryan Phillippe, ELLE

Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be hurt? I suppose it has something to do with knowing you have nothing to lose by loving and everything to lose if you don’t. I believe that. I also believe that each experience, each encounter no matter how insignificant it might seem, bears something transformative. And ever expanding. Who I am, and all those amazingly scary, difficult-to-digest events that have brought me here. To this particular moment, to this particular place.

Here are tips to help you recover from break ups

ACCEPT THE PAIN

Accept that you will have to go through some pain. It is an unavoidable truth that if you loved enough to be heartbroken, you have to experience some suffering.

When you lose something that mattered to you, it is natural and important to feel sad about it: that feeling is an essential part of the healing process.

The problem with broken-hearted people is that they seem to be reliving their misery over and over again. If you cannot seem to break the cycle of painful memories, the chances are that you are locked into repeating dysfunctional patterns of behaviour. Your pain has become a mental habit. This habit can, and must, be broken.

This is not to belittle the strength of your feelings or the importance of the habits you’ve built up during your relationship. Without habit, none of us would function. But there comes a time when the pain becomes unhealthy.

Don’t Fight Your Feelings A break-up is often accompanied by a wide variety of powerful and negative feelings including sadness, anger, confusion, resentment, jealousy, fear and regret, to mention a few. If you try to ignore or suppress these feelings, you will likely only prolong the normal grieving process, and sometimes get totally stuck in it. Healthy coping means both identifying these feelings and allowing ourselves to experience these feelings. As hard as it is, you cannot avoid the pain of loss, but realize that by experiencing these feelings, they will decrease over time and you will speed up the grieving process. The stages of grieving frequently include: shock/denial, bargaining, anger, depression and eventually acceptance.

Keep busy. If you wake up early take a walk, go out to breakfast or do something around the house. Try a little “retail therapy” (go shopping) or enjoy the decadence of going to a movie in the middle of the day. Many businesses allow their staff to take “mental health days” if needed. If you can’t sleep do the crossword puzzle, read or watch TV. Don’t sit in your room and ruminate, you have to free your mind so your heart can heal.

Don’t try to mask your pain by trying to find a replacement. We all know the term “rebound relationship” these happen when we (unconsciously) use another person to fill the gap that’s been created by the ending of a relationship. These transitional connections can feel healing in the short term, but if you don’t process your pain appropriately you will not be able to be in a fully committed partnership.

 Give yourself permission.

It is okay to be smile again. It’s okay to find something funny and have your curiosity evoked. It’s perfectly fine to dwell on other matters besides your old love. It’s acceptable to feel those first flutterings for someone else. It’s okay to have your heart beat for something, someone else again.


I like to think that it really takes very little to survive after our heart’s been very broken — some gumption, a little bit of hope, the daring to dream again… and patience. Know this now: The time has come to stop wasting your heart and time in anger and obsession – re-living the pain of relationships past. Be thankful for the lessons and life experiences this relationship has taught you, and be hopeful for the future. Know that there are better things to come and welcome every new experience that comes your way with open arms—they may just exceed your expectations.

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It’s All Under Control: A Journey of Letting Go and Hoping On

We are driving on Transcanada Hwy just past Swift Current, Saskatchewan heading home to Winnipeg. Every driver is supposed to drive at 110 km per hour on this highway. I am  driving at 114 km/hr, just 4 km above the limit, not too bad. In front of us to the right is a line of truck, my assumption is that they too are driving at 114 km/hr because it is taking too long to pass them. We stay on the left side.  As I attempt to pass the 6 trucks on the right lane, I see a sports car veer just behind us. They must be driving at around 130 km/hr. As we pass the first truck, I see car behind tailgating us, kind of putting pressure on me to speed up, coming just a few meters close to us. We accelerate to 119, he comes even closer.

I can not go faster than that to impress him…but he keeps on coming even closer. I choose not to yield to the pressure. These guy behind me is in a black BMW. I see him checking his phone, then making angry faces at me and getting closer and closer. I am feel threatened by his tailgating,  I know that his car is too closer to us than it is safe, a bad accident could easily happen should I have a sudden need for to slow or stop for unforeseen circumstances ahead of me. I speed up alittle bit, thinking it might calm him down but it did not. We continue like that for the next ten kilometers until we finally passed all the trucks.  Finally he zooms past us at a speed of lightening.

“I hope he does not get a ticket.”

I don’t how others feel when I was telling you this story; I have to be honest with you that when I first saw the car behind me I started to feel under pressure to speed past the trucks to give him a right of way. But as I thought through it I decided not to speed any faster, I knew that speeding was only one part of the solution of yielding to the driver’s behavior, I also knew I could show some anger or probably swear at him  but that is not me….I wanted to handle the situation differently, I wanted to stay calm and allow him to pass as soon as I had a chance. I had to choose to keep my testosterone in check and I knew that deep in me I had that power of saying no to the tempting spirit.

We all experience pressures in our lives. We feel pressured to perform, to conform and please others. We experience financial pressures, social pressures, career and professional pressures – pressures in relationships, (marriages, partnerships, parenting, etc.). We want to pin the blame for pressure. In this situations we feel that we need to take our power back from these external forces. And, this accurate – when we are experiencing pressure, it’s a signal that we have an opportunity to call our energy and power back to ourselves. We just get confused on how to do that.

The dictionary defines pressure as stress, a constant state of worry and urgency. It’s a force that pushes or urges, (emphasis on force). To pressure is to compel, or make someone do something. Some pressures are healthy, and even necessary. The adrenaline rush we feel at the start of a new project, or when we have a deadline approaching, helps motivate us. But when we try to do too much, all the time, stress becomes the enemy – quite literally. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, raises the body’s metabolic rate in readiness for a ‘fight or flight’ response. It increases heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. It affects background body functions too, like digestion, cell division and even our reproductive processes — putting them on hold until calm returns.

Being on constant alert and able to react to an imminent, life-threatening emergency is great when you need it, but living constantly in that state is detrimental. Stress affects our ability to think clearly and remember things; it has been shown to increase the likelihood of depression and can exacerbate health risks like stroke and heart disease. It also impacts our immune systems, which scientists now fear can impair our ability to fight cancer. Thus, unrealistic worries are over-reactions to a tolerable situation or a prolonged over-reaction to a threatening situation that can not be avoided. But how can you be sure a situation won’t cause trouble? You can’t. How can you be sure you won’t handle the problem any better if you worried about it a lot more? You can’t be. However, we can learn to recognize extreme over-reactions, e.g. being terrified while flying or obsessing for hours about an insoluble problem. But a little worry about crashing while flying is realistic and some thought is necessary to know that you can’t do much about a problem. So, how much time should you devote to a particular problem? There isn’t an exact answer; that’s why some of us let anxiety overwhelm us.

Many a times, we all find ourselves under pressure similar to my tailgate experience, we feel pressure, spoken and unspoken, to do everything and be everything, pressure to provide for your family, to be available to everyone, to meet company targets, to attend every meeting, to keep engaged, to have meaningful and well-maintained relationships. And as we well know, as we grow up we are taught by the people or our environments that we should suck up when we are pressure. We start on a journey that I call survival journey, you start to say, “I just want to get through today.” or, “Just one more party and it’s over.” We start to walk through sad places where we quit to enjoying the season s, the presence, others and starts trying to get through it instead. Beyond stressing about your general workload, if you dwell on the related risks and get wrapped up in thoughts of what could go wrong, you generate patterns of fear that start to seem normal. You get so used to being afraid that you actually start to accept it as a sign that you’re working hard: “Oh, I’ve got to give a big presentation, so I’ve got to be nervous.” That sort of thing.

Over the years I have learnt a thing or two about working under pressure. I have learnt that when one acts or live under intense pressure one start to create survival environments for themselves. I have seen people who live in survival journey making impulsive judgments, angrily rushing to bring closure to whatever matter is at hand. He or she feeling is compelled to get the problem under control immediately, to extinguish the perceived danger lest it destroy him or her. When one lives in survival journey they are robbed of their flexibility, their sense of humor, their ability to deal with the unknown. They forget the big picture and the goals and values they stand for. They lose their “cool” or feeling at peace, they lose their creativity.

I can’t help but think we’re a lot like that when life presses down on us. When the pressure gets too intense, we start looking for ways to bail ourselves out from under the thumb of circumstances that seem too much to handle. And all too often we are tempted to bail in terms of our attitudes, feeling angry, bitter, or even mad at God—or anyone else we can blame our problems on. Or, we are tempted to bail in our actions by refusing to persevere in righteous ways.

Apparently, gaining a sense of mastery or learning one is able to handle problems early in life, e.g. in monkeys who get good mothering and social support when young, seems to protect the adult from serious anxiety. Although fears are generally based on primitive automatic emotional reactions, more intense panic and specific fears occur when we feel particularly vulnerable–open to being seriously hurt. Some of this vulnerability may be genetic tendencies but much is probably learned, often at an early age. How are these dangers, these “Wow, that scares the hell out of me!” reactions, learned? Sometimes, we see the actual results of a real danger–a heart attack, an auto accident, someone going crazy–and we vividly imagine that might happen to us. Examples: Panic attacks often are exacerbated by the scary thoughts that the tightness in my chest and high anxiety means I’m dying from a heart attack, going to faint, going crazy, etc. Such thoughts greatly increase the panic.

Sometimes, we are given specific instructions by others to expect danger, e.g. some social phobics have been told that interacting with others can be disastrous–“they will think you are stupid or weird,” “you can’t trust them,” “you’ll make a fool of yourself,” etc. Sometimes, we have started to think in a certain way (the source may be totally unknown–a TV, movie, book, or just our own fantasy as a child) that implies some situation is dangerous. Examples of this might be: “Oh, what I just said sounded really selfish… dumb… critical… ” which grows into “I’m going to mess up when I talk to them,” “I’m not good at socializing,” “I can’t think of anything to say,” or “I get really uptight and start to sweat when I try to talk to someone.” We can create, in effect, our own dangers, and may be especially prone to do that if we are given certain genes and childhood experiences.

Norman Vincent Peale tells how a young business man asked him to talk with his father, the head of their business. He said. “I’m very worried about Dad. He is so nervous and tense. There are so many pressures and problems in the business and my Dad is giving way under them.” Dr Peale encouraged him to relax and talk over his problem of pressure in the business.  After a time, Dr Peale said to him, “I don’t suppose you ever read the Scriptures do you?”

“Certainly I do” the man replied.  Dr Peale said, “You read them but you don’t practice them.”

“Of course I practice them, I’m a moral man.”

“I wasn’t talking morals and ethics, I was talking about the healing power of God.  Have you ever read the 26th chapter of Isaiah, 3rd verse – ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you’?” Peale then went on to explain that the father had not been keeping his mind on God, he’d let it dwell too much on his problems.  He urged him to repeat the text three times a day to get it fixed in his mind and heart. Faith in God, more than anything else, helps us to keep things in perspective and cuts our pressures down to size

It boils down to whether or not we want comfort or character. You or I may think that life should be a bed of roses, but if that’s your take on life, you’re in for a big surprise—trouble happens! The issue is not if you will face trials, it’s how you will respond to the inevitable pressure that the problems of life bring. It may be that you face pressure at work. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable project, it’s easy to think, “If I just fudge a little bit I could get this job done faster.” Or, when the problems at home won’t go away, we find ourselves wondering, “Maybe I’ll just leave so I won’t have to deal with this anymore.” The sin of pride causes us to respond to problems with thoughts like, “I don’t deserve this.” And soon our attitudes are in the dumper and God’s work is derailed.

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Are you feeling stuck in life?

Are you feeling stuck in life? Many people do. Sometimes it feels as if we simply cannot move on with life. As if there was something that keeping us from pursuing our dreams and hopes. AND THERE WE ARE, Stuck! We feel limited and simply do not know what to do. We have no idea how to break free from the limitations that are imposed upon us. What is worse, we do not even know what it is that is imposed on us and who imposes these limitations on us. It’s quite scary to be confronted with an invisible obstacle you cannot seem to tackle. Even though the situation may seem hopeless, there’s much you can do about it. In fact, there are a variety of highly efficient tactics and powerful tricks you can use to free yourself from being stuck in a rut.


To illustrate how painful being stuck can be, I want to draw from the analogy of the movie, the Groundhog Day. If you have not seen the film Groundhog Day, please do so immediately—it is hilariously entertaining, touching, and has thousands of implicit lessons for improving one’s life, community, and the world. Some of you may know I wrote my dissertation on the 1993 romantic fantasy starring Bill Murray, directed by the late Harold Ramis.

Groundhog Day is about an arrogant TV weather man (Bill Murray) who finds himself stuck in a time loop where he keeps repeating the same day over and over. The worse part? He’s the only one who remembers the past day’s events — no one else seems to remember anything! At first he uses this time loop for personal gain. After a while though, he starts to evaluate his life and priorities.

In the movie, the main character, Phil Connors is trapped in a recurring day — a freezing February day in Punxsutawney. The town never changes; the events and the people never change. Only Phil can change.

It is impossible for Phil to have any control over the external world. Every morning he wakes up and it’s the same day again. He is compelled to find how best to survive and prosper, and decide if this is a curse or maybe a blessing. This is a nightmare everyone fears: to be trapped in a repeat mode forever.  Boredom crushes creativity and saps motivation at work and at home. The good news, there is an antidote to boredom.  It is about tapping into the power of purpose.  The fun part is that there are 5 lessons to be learned from the movie.


So what you can you and I do to get unstuck? As we have already established, you won’t be able to break free by digging deeper. What is necessary is to find another approach that helps us to address the underlying issue.

Here a some lessons for us

Don’t give up.

Again, Groundhog Day as life metaphor: Most of us have at some point been trapped in a situation where no matter what we did, we couldn’t extricate ourselves from some endless cycle of lameness. In the film, Phil’s attempts to bypass the situation altogether by offing himself don’t pan out; they don’t solve anything. The lesson is clear: Giving up doesn’t solve the problem.

Look at the big picture

This is about meeting yourself where you are. What are the current issues? Where do you want to be? And what is the in between? Remember, “The way out, is through.”

Take the wheel. 

Stop being a passenger in your own life. Take responsibility for your well-being and break the cycle of blame. Where you are today is solely the result of your choices and actions. Where you will be tomorrow is a result of things you do or don’t do today. Your circumstances and your results are your responsibility. Yes, many external factors are beyond your control, but you can change how you feel about them.

Do your best, live in the moment. 

Your best may be different at different times, and at different tasks and in different situations, but it begins with being in the presence, being in the moment you will always know when you are doing it. “Presence” is not about attracting attention to oneself, as some seem to think, but about being present and PAYING attention.

Express, Don’t Repress

As you work your way through your rut, don’t suppress your emotions. Instead, experience them fully. Going back to our example of a job loss, perhaps you’re very sad that you lost your job. Maybe you loved that job and wanted to stay with the company for the rest of your working career. Rather than be depressed for weeks or even months, express the emotion you’re feeling. If you feel you need to cry or yell out in rage, then do so. After you’ve let the emotion out, let it be. Don’t dwell on it forever. Experience the emotion and then move on. Remember, each event we experience in our life is a learning opportunity. Find the lesson that’s hidden in your current situation so you can move on.

We are All in a Prison of Our Own Making

Everyone is living out their own Groundhog Day as we speak. You’re bumping into the same problems, the same issues, the same challenges in most of the situations you’re in, because, duh, you’re you, and this is your heavy, heavy synthetic bag. You could even argue that this is The Point of why you’re here. 

Help Others In Need

The first time that Phil passes the old homeless man on the street in Punxsutawney, he pats his pockets pretending not to have any money. But over the course of the movie, Phil becomes more and more empathetic to the old man’s tragic situation. Phil buys him meals on numerous occasions, and tries to save the guy’s life when he’s stuck out in the cold. Phil also repeatedly catches a kid who falls out of a tree, helps some women with a flat tire, and performs the Heimlich maneuver on a restaurant goer. As his actions show, helping others doesn’t just only make them feel good — it can make you feel great, too.

Do one thing at a time
Anxiety and overwhelm kick in when there’s a lot going on.

But even when you have a lot to do, it’s impossible to do everything at once. The most effective way to make progress towards any goal is by doing one thing at a time.

Make a list of what’s most important for you to do. Do one thing first. Then, move on to the next. Keep repeating until your day is through. When you get distracted, come back to the one thing you’re focusing on.

Give thanks to whatever or whoever you give thanks to, but acknowledge your own role in your success. 

Live in Beauty

The French believe each day should be lived in beauty. No, that doesn’t give free rein to having a closet, cleaning the garage or basement. I do love a nice pair of shoes. It expresses that life is beautiful…hardships and all. Notice the single flower reaching for the sunshine through the snow, or the dog out for a walk, wagging his tail and carrying a favorite ball. That is beauty. It’s also a moment of perfect clarity.

Master Joyful Skills

If you are bored at work or home, put yourself on the path to master joyful skills.  This can happen regardless of your time, financial resources or the level of teaching talent available in your community.You will see that even if you are working in a rough neighborhood, with a terrible work schedule and a low wage job, you can cultivate a sense of purpose.

In the movie, Bill Murray brushes up on his piano lessons with a local teacher and eventually rocks out to a full house.  He worked with what was available and poured passion and purpose into it.  He mastered a joyful skill.

 
Being stuck in a rut is no fun, but as I always say ‘nothing last forever’!  Everything has its season, and I strongly believe that when one door closes another opens.  Just as the universe appears to work against us sometimes, it also works for us a lot of the time.  Remember that the universe seeks balance, so things will eventually level out, no matter how bad the outlook may be.  The more positivism you can foster during this time, the better your chances of getting out of that rut feeling better than ever.  You’ll be able to pour that new motivation and energy into your goals, and work that much harder (and focused) on your success. The idea is not to avoid these issues, because sometimes it is not possible, but to be aware of what they mean and know how to turn them into opportunities for new opportunities and personal reinvention .

Biggest fear

Our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive and express what we really are.
We have learned to live by other people’s point of view because of the fear of not being accepted and satisfy other people’s demands, being good enough!

 

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Every day is a miracle

We weren’t born to just pay bills and die. Better start making memories and enjoy your life.❤️

 

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Kindness

Don’t let anyone walk away
from you, without taking a
trace of kindness or a sign
of peace of your life!!!

Saddest thing

The saddest thing is, when you are feeling real down and realize that there is no shoulder for you. People don’t always need an advice. Sometimes all they really need is a hand to hold and a heart to understand them. Be a true friend and see the pain in their eyes. Just support!FC25F3A2-DADE-4DAF-9809-471186F98E48.jpeg

Service

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10 ~ Abundant life is loving and serving others. That is where true joy can be found. Try it! 😊❤️✝️

 

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Storm

and once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. you won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. but one thing is certain.when you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in

 

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Kindness

Kindness is the only religion which doesn’t recognize racialism.

 

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Choosing to be happy

Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.

Kindness

Kindness is as simple as being grateful for the love anyone has shown you… by not destroying them just because it isn’t on your terms.D65257B4-DED2-4342-ABA2-68F96BA74E89

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Forever Peter Pan

Image result for Forever Peter Pan

“All children, except one, grow up.”

It’s the opening line to Peter and Wendy, the classic Peter Pan novel in which much of the lore and history surrounding Peter Pan comes from. Except the storyline feels far too commonplace in my own life. I feel like a 12-year-old trapped in an adult’s body. Somehow I’ve faked my way through life and while my body’s grown, who I am, where I want to be, what I want to do with my life eludes me. Every step I take towards a goal feels like Peter fighting off the adult pirates of real life who’ve seemed to stack the cards against me.

Here’s the most frustrating part about reaching your goals: even when you reach them, you’ll end up not where you want to be in life and wondering if there’s more.

No one has made this more apparent than New England Patriots’s quarterback, Tom Brady. In an interview with 60-minutes, he stated:

”…there’s times where I’m not the person that I want to be. Why do I have three Super Bowl rings, and still think there’s something greater out there for me? I mean, maybe a lot of people would say, “Hey man, this is what is.” I reached my goal, my dream, my life. Me, I think: God, it’s gotta be more than this. I mean this can’t be what it’s all cracked up to be. I mean I’ve done it. I’m 27. And what else is there for me?”

Most people would kill to have Tom Brady’s life and yet when he’s “arrived” he ends up discontent with where he is in life. In the biblical narrative of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon is reported to be a man with absurd wealth, 700 wives, and knowledge beyond comprehension, yet concludes it’s all vexing, vanity, and even isn’t where he wants to be in life.

We all feel like Peter Pan, constantly stuck, never growing up, and in a constant battle to reach the next tier of life wondering when we’ll finally make it.p

Consider the story line from the epic fantasy novel and movie Lord of the Rings for a moment. A young Hobbit named Frodo Baggins discovers a ring of power built to enslave mankind by the dark lord, Sauron. He embarks on a journey along with humans, elves, dwarves, and a wizard to destroy it and battle the forces of darkness. Along the way he succumbs more and more to the evil power of the ring — and that’s where the story ends! If you know the books or movie, you know this is hardly the case, but imagine if that were the story’s ending?

Far too often we forget that our own journey is still being written and playing out. We end up depressed where we’re at in life because we feel like we haven’t arrived, but even when we get there, we realize there’s another mountain to climb, whether that be more personal growth, a search for meaning, or finding joy and hope in faith or a Creator. It’s important to remember that just like a story has chapters, our own lives have chapters as well.

One reason we’re compelled to keep watching movies and reading books is because the stakes are high. Just when the hero is about to win, tragedy or failure strikes. We, as the viewer, are then forced to know how it’s all going to work out. The tension, failure, and struggle all keep us turning pages. Without these chapters, we couldn’t be convinced of an epic ending or moments of victory because that’s not how real life works.

Regardless of where you are in life, whether having arrived, disappointed, facing down addiction, or battling what can seem like unending tragedy, it’s important to remember these feelings may be part of a bigger story in your life. It’s a chapter, but doesn’t have to be the main theme of your greater story.

Still, it begs the question, “Okay then, how to we find joy in the hard or mundane chapters of life?”

The Journey

This will make sense in a moment

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” — Ursula K. LeGuin

In one of his books, Dr. Timothy Keller quotes Yale philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff who observed that:

“…modern culture defines the happy life as a life that is “going well” — full of experiential pleasure — while to the ancients, the happy life meant the life that is lived well, with character, courage, humility, love, and justice.”

It’s an interesting comparison when all around us we believe circumstances dictate happiness. Perhaps this is why many of us feel like we aren’t where we should be in life at the moment. If life is “going well” then we feel content about our circumstances and that we’ve achieved what we need to to be “happy.” However, if we are stuck in the middle of our chapter of life feeling we are not where we belong, a happy life eludes us. And yet, the ancients found a fulfilling life in aspects which define our journey: character, courage, humility, love, and justice. All things that take time and a grueling journey to cultivate.

As a culture now built on speed and efficiency, instant gratification is perhaps the greatest detriment to why we feel blown about in the sea of life. Even when we feel we’ve arrived, we don’t arrive because deep down there’s the nagging sense that the journey isn’t complete. There’s always something more.

What I’m learning is that within the chapters of my life, the tension, hardships, and even the good all play a role in creating a version of myself as God intended. If I can see that the life I’m meant to live (even when I don’t feel I’m where I should be) is building a man who exudes character and courage it shifts my perspective to the long term, as opposed dwelling on where I think I should be by now.

Years ago I was where maybe you are today. I was facing down addiction, alcohol abuse, a divorce, and feelings of inadequacy even though I was doing well in my career. I was taking progressive steps, but stumbling along the way. All I could think about was how I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Far too often we stand in front of the proverbial mountains of life and think, “Look how far I have to go…”

Instead, maybe today you need to take moments to turn around and look down the mountain and say, “Just look at how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown.”


 

 

 

Working under pressure

68EFEA55-9DD5-44E1-BE15-E62551A253EEOver the years I have learnt a thing or two about working under pressure. I have learnt that when one acts or live under intense pressure one start to create survival environments for themselves. I have seen people who live in survival journey making impulsive judgments, angrily rushing to bring closure to whatever matter is at hand. He or she feeling is compelled to get the problem under control immediately, to extinguish the perceived danger lest it destroy him or her. When one lives in survival journey they are robbed of their flexibility, their sense of humour, their ability to deal with the unknown. They forget the big picture and the goals and values they stand for. They lose their “cool” or feeling at peace, they lose their creativity.

I can’t help but think we’re a lot like that when life presses down on us. When the pressure gets too intense, we start looking for ways to bail out from under the thumb of circumstances that seem too much to handle. And all too often we are tempted to bail in terms of our attitudes, feeling angry, bitter, or even mad at God—or anyone else we can blame our problems on. Or, we are tempted to bail in our actions by refusing to persevere in righteous ways.

In Barlow’s (2001) new experimentally-based book, the crux of anxiety is described as being an anticipation of trouble and feeling unable to control events in one’s life. This suggests that one’s sense of self-control (or Bandura’s self-efficacy) is of vital importance. Note that “normal” people often believe they have more control over events than they really have (an exaggerated sense of mastery to quell our fears?). Many experiments with animals deprived of control have immediately produced agitation and intense tension. Also, psychological experiments studying the much later impact of early experiences, like animals allowed to control their food and water supply vs. animals having plenty to eat and drink but no control, have demonstrated marked and complex influences on the adult animal’s behaviour (less emotionality, fewer fears, less stress hormones, different brain organization, more adventurous exploratory behaviour). An interesting and surprising contrast is that early physical trauma did not produce as much adult emotionality in animals (there is some reason to doubt that this holes true in humans). Apparently, gaining a sense of mastery or learning one is able to handle problems early in life, e.g. in monkeys who get good mothering and social support when young, seems to protect the adult from serious anxiety. So, learn your self-help lessons well.

Although fears are generally based on primitive automatic emotional reactions, more intense panic and specific fears occur when we feel particularly vulnerable–open to being seriously hurt. Some of this vulnerability may be genetic tendencies but much is probably learned, often at an early age. How are these dangers, these “Wow, that scares the hell out of me!” reactions, learned? Sometimes, we see the actual results of a real danger–a heart attack, an auto accident, someone going crazy–and we vividly imagine that might happen to us. Examples: Panic attacks often are exacerbated by the scary thoughts that the tightness in my chest and high anxiety means I’m dying from a heart attack, going to faint, going crazy, etc. Such thoughts greatly 10 increase the panic. Sometimes, we are given specific instructions by others to expect danger, e.g. some social phobics have been told that interacting with others can be disastrous–“they will think you are stupid or weird,” “you can’t trust them,” “you’ll make a fool of yourself,” etc. Sometimes, we have started to think in a certain way (the source may be totally unknown–a TV, movie, book, or just our own fantasy as a child) that implies some situation is dangerous. Examples of this might be: “Oh, what I just said sounded really selfish… dumb… critical… ” which grows into “I’m going to mess up when I talk to them,” “I’m not good at socializing,” “I can’t think of anything to say,” or “I get really uptight and start to sweat when I try to talk to someone.” We can create, in effect, our own dangers, and may be especially prone to do that if we are given certain genes and childhood experiences. 

Norman Vincent Peale tells how a young business man asked him to talk with his father, the head of their business. He said. “I’m very worried about Dad. He is so nervous and tense. There are so many pressures and problems in the business and my Dad is giving way under them.”They went into his office and he looked nervous and tense.  “Glad to see you Norman.  There’s always so much to do.”  He commented.  Dr Peale encouraged him to relax and talk over his problem of pressure in the business.  After a time, Dr Peale said to him, “I don’t suppose you ever read the Scriptures do you?” 

“Certainly I do” the man replied.  Dr Peale said, “You read them but you don’t practice them.”

“Of course I practice them, I’m a moral man.”

“I wasn’t talking morals and ethics, I was talking about the healing power of God.  Have you ever read the 26th chapter of Isaiah, 3rd verse – ‘You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you’?” Peale then went on to explain that the father had not been keeping his mind on God, he’d let it dwell too much on his problems.  He urged him to repeat the text three times a day to get it fixed in his mind and heart. Faith in God, more than anything else, helps us to keep things in perspective and cuts our pressures down to size

It boils down to whether or not we want comfort or character. You or I may think that life should be a bed of roses, but if that’s your take on life, you’re in for a big surprise—trouble happens! The issue is not if you will face trials, it’s how you will respond to the inevitable pressure that the problems of life bring. It may be that you face pressure at work. In the face of a seemingly insurmountable project, it’s easy to think, “If I just fudge a little bit I could get this job done faster.” Or, when the problems at home won’t go away, we find ourselves wondering, “Maybe I’ll just leave so I won’t have to deal with this anymore.” The sin of pride causes us to respond to problems with thoughts like, “I don’t deserve this.” And soon our attitudes are in the dumper and God’s work is derailed. In fact, the next time you’re tempted to bail on God and squeeze out from under the trouble, think of Jesus, who “humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Philippians 2:8). He “remained under” great suffering for the purpose of making us better.

Express, Don’t Repress

28E3BDA7-9233-49DF-B849-AA8F0BDC270BAs you work your way through your life, don’t suppress your emotions. Instead, experience them fully. I have a friend who recently went through marriage break up. She was so angry about the whole thing. When I called to talk to her she wanted to cry and speak up her feelings without any interruption. I offered her my ears. She talked for over two hours.

“Thank you so much for listening, “ she commented at the end. I suggest that rather than be depressed for weeks or even months, one should express the emotion in a healthy way. If you feel you need to cry or yell out, then do so. After you’ve let the emotion out, you will feel better.

If you’re feeling low, feeling depressed, anxiety,remember it is just temporary. Grow through it. You have family and friends who truly care for you. Tell them about your problems. Keep yourself busy. Take help online. Do meditation. Seek therapy. Seek medical help.

Remember, each event we experience in our life is a learning opportunity. Find the lesson that’s hidden in your current situation so you can move on.Remember that under any situation God Is with you and He is For You. In that situation you are, whether it’s ugly or hard, tap into the Joy of God that is within you because that’s how God Fills you with strength to help you make it through. And you know, the joy of the Lord is your strength today. Hold tight to His joy and you will be held by His strength. Nothing you face today will be bigger than your God and His strength.