IN HARD TIMES, REMEMBER THIS…
By Angel Chernoff
NOTE TO SELF: One of the most important moments in life is when you finally find the courage to let go of what can’t be changed. Because when you are no longer able to change a situation, you are challenged to change yourself—to grow beyond the unchangeable. And that changes everything.
Of course, when hard times hit there’s a default human tendency to hold on—to extrapolate and assume the future holds more of the same. This doesn’t happen as often when things are going well. A laugh, a smile, and a warm fuzzy feeling are fleeting and we know it. We take the good times at face value in the moment for all they’re worth and then we let them go. But when we’re depressed, struggling, or fearful, it’s easy to heap on more pain by assuming tomorrow will be exactly like today. This is a cyclical, self-fulfilling prophecy. Know this! If you don’t allow yourself to move past what happened, what was said, what was felt, you will look at your present and future through that same dirty lens, and nothing will be able to focus your foggy judgment. You will keep on justifying, reliving, and fueling a perception that is worn out and false.
But make no mistake, this is more than simply accepting that life will improve as time passes. Yes, “time heals wounds,” but yours is not a passive role in the process of healing and moving past pain. The question is: where are your present steps taking you?
It doesn’t matter what’s been done; what truly matters is what YOU DO from here.
Realize that most people make themselves miserable simply by finding it impossible to accept life just as it is presenting itself right now.
Don’t be one of them!
Let go of your fantasies. This letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care about something or someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only thing you really have control over is yourself, in this moment.
The best action you can take right now is to change your thinking, instead of trying to change the broken world around you.
And there is a path. Marc and I have walked this path ourselves many times. A decade ago, in quick succession, we dealt with several significant, unexpected losses and life changes, back-to-back, including losing my brother to suicide, losing a mutual best friend to cardiac arrest, financial unrest, and more. Trials and tragedies strike indiscriminately and nobody is guaranteed safety. But, by changing your thinking, bad times and rocky patches can become the proving ground for achieving renewed happiness.
The key is to understand that no matter what happens, you can choose your response, which dictates pretty much everything that happens next. Truly, the greatest weapon you have against anxiety, negativity and stress is your ability to choose one present thought over another—to train your mind to make the best of what you’ve got in front of you, even when it’s far less than you expected.
Yes, YOU CAN change the way you think! And once you do, you can master a new way to be.