Life can be rough
Life can be tough
I am still standing
I am still smiling
I have got to keep going
I am looking forward to the light at the end of this tunnel
I am a masterpiece
There is indeed no one like me
My DNA is proof
Sometimes I am tempted to fit in
To think, To dress, To live like you
But it is okay to sit out
If that is not who I am
I have got to keep checking my ways
Lest I find others have crept in
Lest I discover I have lost sight
of who I am
I am me
I am happy being me
I am good for me
Challenges reveal our strength. No matter how difficult the situation gets, always remember you can handle it and come our better, wiser and stronger. Your experience will help someone else coming behind you. Don’t give up because someone else’s survival is based on you winning your own battles.
Saying thank you can be a difficult thing to do. Doing so means admitting that you are in another’s debt. I am admitting that another individual did something for me. I am not all powerful, I need the help of others to survive. The reality is that the human race is interdependent. We cannot live life alone. We are constantly relying on each other for all kinds of resources, both physical and emotional. When I say thank you I am acknowledging that I have received something from another human being.
I recently came across Ryan’s story. The story came about from Ryan’s desire to solve the world’s water problem. What started as a wish by a Grade One pupil in 1998 has grown into a Foundation that has played an immense part in solving the challenge of clean water in some parts of the world.
Ryan currently speaks around the world on the importance of making a difference no matter who you are or how old you are. He believes each of us has to find something we are passionate about and take the required steps to make a difference.
There are so many people in the world today who have found what they are passionate about and have made an impact in many lives. I would like to highlight three examples below:
16-year-old girl who at the age of 11, spoke out for the right of girls to an education. She escaped a near assassination by the Taliban and has been featured by the Times as 1 on the 100 most influential people in the world.
Fought apartheid in South Africa, he was imprisoned for 27 years and instrumental in ending Apartheid. He became the first black president in South Africa and has inspired the world.
He was born without arms and legs. He dealt with his depression and loneliness.
He is an author, musician, actor, and his hobbies include fishing, painting and swimming. Nick says, “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!” He is now a proud dad! He advocates the need to ‘live above your circumstance!
These analogies demonstrate age, colour, limitations can be overcome and we can make an impact no matter the obstacles.
What’s your story now and what will your story be with the passage of time?
Below are ten concepts to make your story noteworthy
Find your life purpose and run with it
Understand life is not a bed of roses
Increase your strength
Remember there is always an end
You are not a victim but a victor
Think of your reward
You need people in your life
Don’t dwell on your past
Take time out to meditate and pray (for those with a ‘Faith’)
You are not alone (others have walked this path)
As you progress in this journey, sometimes you would encounter setbacks, disappointment, frustrations but the key is to keep going and not give up!
I meet people every-day who no matter how good they have it, seem to find some gloom. I also meet people who have the odds stacked against them, but face each day with a smile, a spring in their step and a pocketful of hope.
It’s true that some challenges seem daunting especially when they become your every-day.
I’m not talking about a looming exam or a project in renovating your home, the trial of moving halfway across the country or finding a new job. Those things come to you and pass soon enough.
I’m talking about situations that redefine your life.
Becoming a widow, a single mother, an amputee, raising a child with cerebral palsy, a figure altering operation like a mastectomy and scars that you wake up to every morning. I’m talking about life events that have the potential of destroying any vision of the future.
You wake up to a whole new world and there’s no easy escape route. It’s your new reality, dished out by unpredictable circumstances for you to now live out every-day. I know what it’s like because I too have watched my picture perfect world spiral into utter chaos, leaving me in a state of catatonic despair.
One of the critical lessons I’ve learnt is that a trial is a trial – whether it looks trivial to people on the outside or intense. The weight of the situation is not determined by a universal scale, but by the person or people in the situation. So whether your situation is terrible or not too bad – you decide. But if you feel like I felt, that your situation is hopeless; read on.
Life as always, is about the choices you make. Again, I challenge you to choose to live and not die.
I’m not even talking about suicide here. I’m talking about the death of visions, dreams, hopes, ideas, projects, enterprises that once burned inside of you. I’m talking about the death of a soul, long before the body is in the grave. I’m asking you to fan the embers and spark up your life again.
Today, I invite you to choose life. Choose that no matter the circumstance, your knees will not buckle but rather, you will choose to steady the ship of your life. The tides may have come strong against you but you still hold the rudder – and that is the power to choose.
“Choose, you say?”
Do I hear?
“I didn’t choose this life, this family, this disease!”
Hold that thought while I’ll share a quote by Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He endured and survived the most inhumane conditions in several concentration camps including Auschwitz.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
You will never have it all or have complete control over all that happens to you. So get over it and accept it as a fact.
I urge you today though to take an inventory of your life.
After I seemed to have lost it all, I sat down and began to write down what I had left. I had my faith, air in my lungs, my daughter, an amazing family, wonderful friends, a job and slowly but surely, the sun began to rise from the horizon, giving me hope and a beautiful view of my future, one day at a time.
I urge you to do the same. Even if your list ends at one thing and nothing more – there are days I have felt and still sometimes feel that way; know for sure that that one thing is enough for now.
Choose to be thankful. Choose to maximize whatever you have. Choose to be positive, hopeful and full of life, because in spite of the ‘over-a-zillion things’ you cannot control; these, you can.
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.
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.
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.
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.