Setbacks, tragedies, crisis, challenges, battles, storms of life…whatever you prefer to call them, are unfortunately, a part of this life.
While I certainly wish you joy, peace, happiness and above all, the heart to dance through life; I cannot promise that there won’t be days when it will rain.
What I hope to offer though, by sharing the keys that got me through my personal hurricane is the truth that you can make it through anything; so that after it passes (and it will), you’d be stronger.
Three months before my second wedding anniversary, when my daughter was barely ten weeks old, I faced the most painful and most difficult crisis of my life. As a physician, I had learnt to handle breaking bad news to others and comforting friends and families who had lost loved ones almost on a daily basis. I had even survived the personal loss of my father a few years before, but nothing prepared me for this.
As I look back on that time of my life and ask myself how I made it through; of the long list of things I could write or say, these remaining four points (see ‘Anchor Deep, part 1’ for first four points) below for me are the most important.
- Refuse to be bitter
This is somewhat tied into forgiveness. Bitterness has been likened to cancer – a ravenous evil that eats up everything good till it kills. In actual pathology, a cancerous cell is one that has lost the natural process of stopping – kind of like when you stop growing. Imagine if you continued to grow taller when others stopped. You’d be too tall, too high above everyone else to share a joke, see a smile, shake a hand or give or get a hug! You’d be lost! A cancer cell doesn’t stop, it just continues to grow and grow until it uses up all the resources that were meant to be used by normal cells and invades normal tissue, destroying it. It is ugly. And that is what bitterness is. Bitterness is like wearing sunglasses. Everything looks darker. If you are struggling with bitterness, don’t give up. It’s very common to do so especially when you’ve been deeply hurt. Find help. Talk to a counselor, a trusted friend, a mentor. Find a way out. You’d be finding healing and life.
- Lean on family and friends
I cannot overrate the refreshing zest you can get from laughing with, crying on the shoulder of and walking through life with good friends and family. While I must confess I was especially blessed with a strong, relentlessly loving family and a circle of amazingly true friends, I know some people aren’t. I am no Dr. Phil, but I know a good way to start is by being a good friend yourself. Listen, hold, offer yourself – a smile, your time, share your possessions with a friend in need. Join a group – if you are religious, you can find a group at your local place of worship, join a professional group, support groups online or in your community. Point is you can find support – you just need to start looking. And if there is none, maybe think of starting one! You’d be surprised how many people will join you. Some things are universal, like love and family.
- Love yourself
Sister, sister! Please love yourself. Do not be vain. But never take yourself for granted. Be kind to yourself, be patient, treat yourself with respect. No matter what you’ve done, how you’ve been treated or what has happened to you, you are a priceless treasure, a gift to this world. You are you! So treat yourself nice. The first step in loving yourself is to forgive then treasure yourself body, spirit and soul. Get a manicure, massage, facial – pamper yourself! Don’t wait for someone else to. You can’t expect someone else to love you till you do! Read a book, if you don’t have a lot of time, read a refreshing article in a magazine or online. Feed your soul! Regularly too. Listen to music; invest in programs that build you up mentally, spiritually, professionally, socially, in every way. Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Think about it, it’s that greatest gift you want!
My heart breaks for people who end up chronically depressed and even more for people who commit suicide. I don’t think less of them. I just hurt and wish they found, what I found. That is, the truth that you can live…..again. And when I say live, I mean with a fullness and richness you never knew before. Without bitterness and with the healing of forgiveness.
There were times in my pain; I thought I died over and over again. But I survived, and so would you. You have to choose to, though. Choose to live. You may not know how. That’s why you need to first decide to. When you do, you’d start looking for how. And then you can start at the stop of the list by finding an anchor. You’d be alive by the time you make it back down the list.
As I close, I leave you with a truly, truly beautiful piece. May it warm your soul.
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
You can live again, anchor deep, life isn’t a bed of rose, thriving in spite of my pain, free through forgiveness.