I hate when black clothes are a slightly different black and don’t match
we joke but this is an actual thing
Sometimes you have to die a little on the inside first in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger, smarter version of yourself.
Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, someone they need, or something they thought was meant to be. But it is these losses that make us stronger and eventually move us toward future opportunities for growth and happiness.
Over the past five years Angel and I have dealt with several hardships, including the sudden death of a sibling, the loss of a best friend to illness, betrayal from a business partner, and an unexpected (breadwinning) employment layoff. These experiences were brutal. Each of them, naturally, knocked us down and off course for a period of time. But when our time of mourning was over in each individual circumstance, we pressed forward, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life.
Here are some lessons we’ve learned along the way:
- You are not what happened to you in the past. – No matter how chaotic the past has been, the future is a clean, fresh, wide open slate. You are not your past habits. You are not your past failures. You are not how others have at one time treated you. You are only who you think you are right now in this moment. You are only what you do right now in this moment.
- Focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t. – You are who you are and you have what you have, right now. And it can’t be that bad, because otherwise you wouldn’t be able to read this. The important thing is simply to find one POSITIVE thought that inspires and helps you move forward. Hold on to it strongly, and focus on it. You may feel like you don’t have much, or anything at all, but you have your mind to inspire you. And that’s really all you need to start moving forward again. Read The How of Happiness.
- Struggling with problems is a natural part of growing. – Part of living and growing up is experiencing unexpected troubles in life. People lose jobs, get sick, and sometimes die in car accidents. When you are younger, and things are going pretty well, this harsh reality can be hard to visualize. The smartest, and oftentimes hardest, thing we can do in these kinds of situations is to be tempered in our reactions. To want to scream obscenities, but to wiser and more disciplined than that. To remember that emotional rage only makes matters worse. And to remember that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to grow stronger.
- It’s okay to fall apart for a little while. – You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well. You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again. And a smile doesn’t always mean a person is happy. Sometimes it simply means they are strong enough to face their problems.
- Life is fragile, sudden, and shorter than it often seems. – There may not be a tomorrow – not for everyone. Right now, someone on Earth is planning something for tomorrow without realizing they’re going to die today. This is sad but true. So spend your time wisely today and pause long enough to appreciate it. Every moment you get is a gift. Don’t waste time by dwelling on unhappy things. Spend it on things that move you in the direction you want to go.
- You will fail sometimes. – The faster you accept this, the faster you can get on with being brilliant. You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work. Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. So get out there and try! Either you succeed or you learn a vital lesson. Win – Win.
- You have the capacity to create your own happiness. – Feelings change, people change, and time keeps rolling. You can hold onto past mistakes or you can create your own happiness. A smile is a choice, not a miracle. Don’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along and make you happy. True happiness comes from within.
- Emotionally separate yourself from your problems. – You are far greater than your problems. You are a living, breathing human being who is infinitely more complex than all of your individual problems added up together. And that means you’re more powerful than them – you have the ability to change them, and to change the way you feel about them.
- Don’t make a problem bigger than it is. – You should never let one dark cloud cover the entire sky. The sun is always shining on some part of your life. Sometimes you just have to forget how you feel, remember what you deserve, and keep pushing forward.
- Everything that happens is a life lesson. – Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc. They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’ Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way. If you don’t get a job that you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting. And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.