4 Important Lessons You Learn Through Difficult Times, by MAURA HUGHES

While difficult times can feel like a deep dark hole that we can’t escape and we often wonder “Why is this happening to me?”, there is a silver lining to tough times. It’s through the difficult times in our life, that we are able to grow. It’s when we are tested that we are able to rise, push through and come out the other side stronger, braver and bet

No one wants to struggle. No one wants to even admit their struggling. We all want to have Photoshopped versions of our own lives that fit perfectly into an Instagram square. But life does not work like that. Every one of us will be faced with a variety of tough times in their life. It is one of the few things we can really count on.

The truth is, there are some important lessons in life that we are only taught through difficult times and they can become the silver lining to the darkness.

1. Who your real friends are.

It’s an unfortunate and often time brutal truth to learn that someone we once thought would be there no matter can’t be counted on. Difficult times have a unique way of trimming off the fat in our lives. If someone does not truly care, they will not make the effort to be there. End of story. The realization that someone you love doesn’t make you a priority can knock you off your feet but it will save you time and energy that would have been spent trying to be there for them in the future. Eventually, you will learn who really matters, you will be grateful for them and you will have cleared out some emotional space for someone who will be there for you, through thick and thin.

2. The depth of your strength.

“It builds character,” was my mom’s favorite response to any complaint I had growing up. As annoying as that line was, it is true. Nothing builds our strength like surviving difficulty. Nothing forces us to leverage what we have, dig deep and come up with every ounce of integrity, patience and strength like a hard time. When you survive something, your internal scoreboard registers it. Imagine as if your internal synapses are pushing an extra win into your win/loss column and the next time you go into battle, your will take an inventory of what your winning record is and bulk up your confidence that you can survive and thrive, no matter what you are facing.

3. What really matters in life. 

Difficult times tend to turn our worlds upside down and anything that is nailed down to the floor will go flying. Sometimes it’s comforting to know what actually does stick, what is still hanging in there after the world goes awry. Because when we’re right side up again, we’ll be able to look a little more closely at those things, take a bit better care of them and love them even more for being unmovable. Most of us spend most of our days worrying about everything but what we should be worrying about. But after a difficult time, we’re less likely to worry as much about the little things and focusing on those unmovable pieces in our life that really matter.

4. How to be grateful. 

Difficult times leave us with a lasting impression. They alter us and change the way we view our lives. We have learned who and what matters in our life and undoubtedly we have a greater appreciation for them. Surviving hardship gives us a broader perspective on what hardship really is. You will look back on the things you use to complain about and be thankful they are your only worries. After we have survived a difficult time, we are given a deep gratitude for our life.

Difficult times will happen. To find the light, we have to go through the darkness and while you’re in the midst of it, try to take a deep breath and remember that the lessons you are learning will shift your view of life. You will learn what matters, who matters, how strong you are and how lucky you are to exist. That’s what difficult times teach us and they are some of the most important lessons we can ever learn.

Original Post; http://www.purposefairy.com/80874/4-important-lessons-you-learn-through-difficult-times/

Loss: A Journey Of Survival

Dealing with loss is never an easy process.  It can take the joy right out of your soul in seconds, and change everything you have every know.   It can even change you.  Are you ever the same after losing someone?

There are all kinds of loss.  Loss of a parents, grandparents, siblings, children, friends.  Loss of ideas, concepts, and hopes.  Loss of dignity, pride and self.  It doesn’t matter whom, or what the loss is, it all ends in the same way – pain, confusion, hurt, anger.  It can put us in a very dark place.  A place that is there which leaves us questioning our meaning of existence, our beliefs, and ourselves.

I’ve had a lot of losses in my life.  My first “loss” was when my parents divorced.  I was six years old and I remember the time period – it stands still in my mind.  It’s a whirlwind of events, but for some reason the moments I remember are played so slowly.  My parents were just not meant to be, and I clearly understand that now, as a grown woman, but as a little girl my world was shattered.  I remember asking my Dad to stay in my room so that I could sleep.  I asked him to sit beside me for nights because I feared losing him.  I feared waking up and not finding him there anymore – not knowing where he went.  Life as I knew it was different from the rest of my friends and I was scared.  I did not understand the concept of Mommy and Daddy not being together anymore.  What did that mean for me?

Years later I lost my Grandfather. This was the first time I had physically lost someone.  I lived in a different city, and remember the phone call from my Dad.  Hearing words of loss is never easy.  Trying to figure out how to deal with it is something that you are unaware of when you are 13 years old.  I cried, as I hurt.  I lost my Grandpa – which little girl doesn’t cry?  I was a child still.

Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.” ~ Unknown

1998 was one of my most challenging years.  I was working with elderly people.  Loss was inevitable in this job.  It was also the year that my Step-Dad and Grandma were both diagnosed with cancer.  I remember that summer being filled with confusion, and many tears.  Cancer is a hellish disease.  I thought I was “trained”.  My medical experiences had prepared me.  I had a full understanding of how this disease would take its toll, and take the very life from my loved ones.  Watching them die in front of you is much different from receiving news on the phone – I took a leave of absence from my job and devoted my time, knowledge, experience and love to both of these people, my family members.  I took over palliative care – spent nights in the Cancer Agency, and palliative care homes. My efforts of love and devotion could not win the battles that were in their lives, and eight weeks apart was just too much for me.  I looked at death in a different way now – I was scared of it, and it had its control on my life.  I was scared to drive, I was scared of my loved ones driving,  I was scared of accidents, I was scared of disease.  I went so far as to not order food from a restaurant for delivery for fear of something happening to the delivery man and me being responsible for taking away someone from this earth who was loved my friends and family in their lives.  I was scared of everything in this world that would potentially take away someone I knew, someone I cared for, or worse – someone I loved.

One could say I did not handle this well … and nearly 20 years later I still feel scared of death.  I’ve lost more friends, and family.  And each time it takes away my faith in reality in this whole life process.

If you don’t realize the source, you stumble in confusion and sorrow. When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, dignified as a king. You can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready. Lao Tzu

And then loss, at its finest … miscarriage.  This is not only a physical loss, but this is an emotional loss.  Horrific, and indescribable.  I have had two successful pregnancies between 2011 – 2013 and have two beautiful boys.  Why would I think that this would happen to me?  But apparently,”This is common”, they would tell me.  “We are surprised this has not happened to you yet!”, another would say.  Wait? What?  Am I really hearing this?  The idea of not seeing my babies heartbeat on my ultrasound, or feeling them kick and move in my belly was sad enough, but the reality of “what could have been” broke my heart to pieces.  What would my baby have looked like?  What would she, or he have grown up to love?  Would they have had the most beautiful smile, just like my two boys?  What caused this?  Was it me?  Was is God’s plan?  Was I being punished?  What did I do wrong to deserve this? Am a I horrible person?  What did I do in my past live to deserve this?  Did someone hate me so much that they wished this upon me?

My baby would have been born last week, and so i’ve sat here going through the motions and trying to understand loss a little better.  Making an effort for Loss and I to become pal’s so I can empathize a little easier.  What is it that causes us the tears, that horrible ache in your heart, the feeling that causes those uncontrollable tears.  Because my mind wants to identify it, and grab it and throw it away and never think of it again, or do I?  If I am able to figure out what I can do to block those emotions does that make me a horrible person?  Heartless?

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love.  ~ Washington Irving

I realize now that it is nothing that anyone can prepare for, prevent, or even accept gracefully.  Loss is horrible, and it breaks you down.  Only time can heal, and that is because of the distance it creates between you, and when it happened.  Time … will eventually heal all losses.

And after the tears stop I sit back and think just how lucky I am to be alive and to have experienced all of these memories, especially the ones that hurt so much, the losses that broke me into pieces, and tore my soul apart.  I pick up the mess I have turned into, and I remind myself that I hurt because I loved so much, because I cared so much, because I let things matter to me from the deepest parts of my being … because at the end of the day what it comes down to is that some people are never this lucky.  I am blessed.

 

 

 

Good Riddance; Letting Go and Moving Forward

With each year, as we approach the closing of the year, we begin to reflect on life reminiscing about the past years adventure, contemplating the things that we had hoped to experience, or move away from.  Every year is the same story – we have 365 days to try to get it right.  Some of us go full force with guns blazing, and others of us get sidetracked, or simply give up.  Unsuccessful, you learn to accept that some challenges were not met head on, and prioritize them into your current set of goals in the new year to come.

Every year I have the intention to work on “me” – convincing myself to let go of things that hurt or caused me to feel in a negative manner, and figure out better, more cathartic methods, of trying to overcome obstacles in my life.

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The past few years have been devoted to learning how to balance family, friends, and my career.  It has not been easy.  Each day I work through how to put 150% effort into each of these really important things in my life … there never seems to be a cut and dry answer, and sadly when I do have days when I feel like life is feeling balanced, and my efforts are evenly distributed amongst my family, friends, and career, I find that the one thing I do forget about is myself.

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My goals for the past year included finding a job that I dreamed of – being in an environment that I not only loved, but felt comfortable, challenged, and motivated.  I wanted a job I was passionate about, and not just a job that I would “settle” at.  

My family goals were to be a better mother, and wife – which, I am still not sure exactly what that means.  Does that mean I smile more so than not? or am I just never grumpy, or bitchy towards my husband? 

My friends goal was to weed out the manipulative, negative, and hurtful persons, and get closer to the ones that I felt had a more authentic, genuine, and loyal persona.  The biggest challenge over the past two years  was being disappointed in people’s expectations of me, and individuals lack of loyalty and respect towards the friendships that I shared with them.  I am sensitivite to things that are said to me, or behind my back.  I am an emotional being, as most of us are, and have let things take effect on me far more than they ever had the right to be in my world.  Slowly I am learning that i’ve kept far too many negative people in my life for much longer than they should have ever been there for.  It wasn’t “them” that was doing something to me, it was “me” allowing these individuals the “right” to be in my world.  Unlearning the rule of “be nice to everyone” was difficult because I felt that it was going against all of what I knew to be “right” – what God taught, what elders preached.

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Did I get it right last year?  when I sit here and write out my view on where I started, and ended in 2015 I feel like there was a progression.  But do I feel 100% satisfied?  No.  I think that goals are great, and working on creating a better, positive, and more fulfilling life, in general, is a healthy thing to desire.  There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.  It is not selfish when you want the best version of your life – creating this will make you a better person in return.  There is always room for improvement, and that is one of the beautiful things about this life – we have the right to create our own choices – our own path, and our own destination.

Each year we have the chance to start over again, to move forward from the hurt, the lessons, the challenges, and try to do it right. Celebrate the accomplishments you made this year, and reevaluate where you would want to be a year from now.  Hold yourself accountable for what you want in your life, and make it happen.  In a few days you will be able to close the door on this chapter, and move forward into the next.  What you choose to bring with you is up to you – take life lightly, love with all of your will, and remember to make yourself a priority in 2016 xo

2016 New Year celebration display with the date outlined with fiery sparklers in green and blue on a black background

 

 

 

 

 

She Was Done: A Magnificent Read by Adrienne Pieroth

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She was done not fully being herself.

She realized she was the only self she could be—and not being unapologetically true to herself was a disservice to her soul and the world.

She was done listening to the noise of the world. She realized the quiet voice of her own soul was the most beautiful sound.

She was done questioning her motives, her intentions, the call of her soul. She realized questions seek answers, and maybe she already knew the answers.

She was done striving, forcing, pushing through and staying on the hard path. She realized toughing things out might be a sign to pick another path.

She was done with friends that admonished her to be more light and breezy. She realized they didn’t understand she swam in the deep waters of life, she felt at home in their dark depths and died if she lived on the surface.

She was done with the distractions, the denials, the small addictions that pulled her away from the true desires of her soul. She realized that strength of character came from focus and commitment.

She was done not following the desires that yelled out in her soul every day. She realized if she did nothing about them, they died a quiet death that took a piece of her soul with them.

She was done with dinner parties and cocktail hours where conversations skimmed the surface of life. She realized the beverages created distortion and a temporary happiness that wasn’t real and disappeared in the light of the day.

She was done trying to please everyone. She realized it could never be done.

She was done questioning herself. She realized her heart knew the truth and she needed to follow it.

She was done analyzing all the options, weighing the pros and cons and trying to figure everything out before leaping. She realized that taking a leap implied not fully seeing where she landed.

She was done battling with herself, trying to change who she knew herself to be. She realized the world made it hard enough to fully be herself, so why add to the challenge.

She was done worrying, as if worry was the price she had to pay to make it all turn out okay. She realized worry didn’t need to be part of the process.

She was done apologizing and playing small to make others feel comfortable and fit in. She realized fitting in was overrated and shining her light made others brave enough to do the same.

She was done with the should’s, ought to’s and have to’s of the world. She realized the only must’s in her life came from things that beat so strong in her soul, she couldn’t not do them.

She was done with remorse and could have’s. She realized hindsight never applies because circumstances always look different in the rearview mirror and you experience life looking through the front window.

She was done with friendships based on shared history and past experiences. She realized if friends couldn’t grow together, or were no longer following the same path, it was okay to let them go.

She was done trying to fit in—be part of the popular crowd. She realized the price she had to pay to be included was too high and betrayed her soul.

She was done not trusting. She realized she had placed her trust in people that were untrustworthy—so she would start with the person she could trust the most—herself.

She was done being tired. She realized it came from spending her time doing things that didn’t bring her joy or feed her soul.

She was done trying to figure it all out, know the answers, plan everything and see all the possibilities before she began. She realized life was unfolding and that the detours and unexpected moments were some of the best parts.

She was done needing to be understood by anyone but herself. She realized she was the only person she would spend her whole with and understanding herself was more important than being understood by others.

She was done looking for love. She realized loving and accepting herself was the best kind of love and the seed from which all other love started.

She was done fighting, trying to change or not her accepting her body. She realized the body she came into the world with was the only one she had—there were no exchanges or returns—so love and acceptance was the only way.

She was done being tuned in, connected and up-to-date all the time. She realized the news and noise of the world was always there—a cacophony that never slowed or fell quiet and that listening to the silence of her soul was a better station to tune into.

She was done beating herself up and being so hard on herself as if either of these things led to changes or made her feel better. She realized kindness and compassion towards herself and others accomplished more.

She was done comparing and looking at other people’s lives as a mirror for her own. She realized holding her own mirror cast her in the best, most beautiful light.

She was done being quiet, unemotional and holding her tongue. She realized her voice and her emotions could be traced back to her deepest desires and longings. if she only followed their thread.

She was done having to be right. She realized everyone’s truth was relative and personal to themselves, so the only right that was required was the one that felt true for her.

She was done not feeling at home in the world. She realized she might never feel at home in the world, but that feeling at home in her soul was enough.

She was done being drained by others—by people who didn’t want to take the time for their own process and saw shortcuts though hers. She realized she could share her experience, but everyone needed to do the work themselves.

She was done thinking she had so much to learn. She realized she already knew so much, if she only listened.

She was done trying to change others or make them see things. She realized she could only lead by example and whether they saw or followed was up to them.

She was done with the inner critic. She realized its voice was not her own.

She was done racing and being discontent with where she was. She realized the present moment held all it needed to get her to the next moment. It wasn’t out there—it was right here.

She was done seeing hurt as something to be avoided, foreseen or somehow her fault. She realized hurt shaped her as much as joy and she needed both to learn and grow.

She was done judging. She realized judging assumed the presence of right and wrong—and that there was a difference between using information to inform and making someone else wrong.

She was done jumping to conclusions. She realized she only needed to ask.

She was done with regrets. She realized if she had known better she would have done better.

She was done being angry. She realized anger was just a flashlight that showed her what she was most scared of and once it illuminated what she needed to see, she no longer needed to hold on to it.

She was done being sad. She realized sorrow arose when she betrayed her own soul and made choices that weren’t true to herself.

She was done playing small. She realized if others couldn’t handle her light, it was because they were afraid of their own.

She was done with the facades and the pretending. She realized masks were suffocating and claustrophobic.

She was done with others’ criticism and complaints. She realized they told her nothing about herself—only informed her of their perspective.

She was done yelling above the noise of the world. She realized living out loud could be done quietly.

She was done needing permission, validation or the authority. She realized she was her her own authority.

She was done being something she was not. She realized the purpose of life was to be truly, happily who she was born to be,and if she paused long enough to remember, she recognized herself.

Keep It Simple, Stupid: Eliminating Stress In A Stress Induced World

 Life is about moving forward, right? … At least that’s what they tell me.  Some days I feel like I am in a rut.  I look at my life and feel like it is at a stand-still, and other days I feel like I am climbing straight up the ladder at an alarming rate … feeling like I am on top of the world and nothing could bring me down!

When I look at those “stand-still” days I have to wonder, what exactly is it that makes me feel like this?  Is it a person who has hurt my feelings? a circumstance in my life that I feel helpless and stressed out about?  …  sometimes it’s not anything – but just a nagging, “blah” feeling I have.  We’re allowed to have those days, right?

Most of the time, through my own experiences, there is, indeed, something to blame, or pinpoint.  Sometimes I am just not able to see that clearly.  Sometimes it’s a situation, or feeling that we’ve buried or tried to ignore that, over time, has manifested itself into our subconscious .. triggered by another stressor … and is now waving it’s hand right in front of your face saying, “Hey you!  Long time no see.  Remember me!!??”

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Some of the situations that i’ve noticed over time in my life, and my friends lives seem to be as follows; 

People Who Bring You Down:  Friendships, and relationships should help you, not bring you down.  Find time, and people who are similar to you – people who are smart, forward thinkers, positive and happy.  Surround yourself with people you bring you up, not down.

Work, Or A Career You Dislike:  Don’t settle.  This part of your life takes up SO much of your time – and for such a long duration of your life.  I don’t think that there is a job that we will necessarily love going to everyday, but there are jobs that we are suited for that bring out our best that we can excel in with some good efforts.  Find it.  Do your best, and feel rewarded.

Your Own Negativity:  Be aware of your mental thoughts.  We can be our own best friend, or our own worst enemy.  We wake up to our thoughts and go to bed with them. They are our prime influence.  What are you telling yourself on a daily basis?  Are your thoughts motivating, and positive? Be honest with this one.  It’s okay to have negative thoughts at times…. just don’t let it consume your mind.  Have your bad thought and move on to something positive.  Don’t stay in that grey area for too long … it is far to easy to become a habit.

Messy Living Area, And Workspace:  This one makes me cringe.  A house with a toddler is extremely hard to keep clean but there are no excuses for a messy work environment (if you have your own office).  Be responsible for your space.  A clean and organized area makes me feel great – motivated – clear minded.  I could go on and on about how it is good Feng Shui, and a great motivator to getting a good grasp on the tasks you need to complete –  I work my best in this kind of environment.  It helps me to stay focussed, and feel a sense of accomplishment as I work through my day.

Running Late:  I don’t know about your, but running late, or being late for an appointment is something that throws my whole day off.  Being prepared and organized sets my day on the right track and keeps it there.  Give yourself plenty of time for everything that you are going to do that day – try to enjoy the day as it goes by.  Don’t be stressed with not having enough hours in the day.  If your day gets to that point then be honest with yourself – have your overbooked?  Do you need to reorganize your day to give yourself enough time to do things properly? … Give 100% when you give, and if you can’t you should figure out how you can try to change it. Remember, there are 365 days in a year … rearranging your schedule to be sure that you are 100% prepared, and present can help keep your world from feeling chaotic.

Fitting In With The Crowd:  This can be especially true for our younger generation .. and now that I have children I admit that I sometimes feel this way – but most of the time I couldn’t care – well, at least in the comfort of my own home 😉  Sometimes we let the social scene get the better of us.  I did it when I was younger.  Try to stay true to who you are.  Be yourself, and love who you are.  Don’t conform to be a part of the crowd.  Over time you will realize that it doesn’t matter and much of the energy wasted is on the wrong people, and for the wrong reasons.  This one is all about trial and error.  I’ve learned over the years that my efforts to “fit in” really did go unnoticed.  Where are those people now, now that I stopped trying to fit in?  The real ones stick around because they care for you for who you are.

All Work No Play: GUILTY!!  life is about balance – so find it.  Think of life-like a scale … finding the balance equals harmony.  Letting one end of the scale outweigh the other only causes imbalance in our lives.

Debt:  This is a huge factor for so many people these days.  It’s so hard to avoid this because we live in a society where everything costs money.  In our generation it is so hard to move forward and so many of us try to – usually by accumulating mass amounts of debt, which only cause mass amounts of anxiety, and stress.  Try to remember that living a simple life is the best.  There are not a lot of things we need in this life – food, shelter, clothing, and friendships.  Yes, I love my designer handbags, and sunglasses, and clothes .. but truth be told.  I look back now at all of the money i’ve spent over the years and I feel a huge sense of guilt – mainly because I now look at my son and I think that there were not many things that really brought me true happiness.  The few things in my life that did – came in the form of my husband, and my son.  Things that I could never buy.

Dishonesty:  Living a life of lies, and being lied to are things that are not only hurtful but damaging to yourself, and potentially damaging to friendships that you do that to.  Being honest can cause awkwardness at times, but at the end of the day it helps me sleep at night.  I’ve been lied to many times before – and by people who are extremely close to me.  It hurts me a lot – but at the end of the day I remember that I go to sleep with a clear conscious.  If I was the liar, I don’t think I would sleep as well at night 😉

Infidelity:  Again – this has everything to do with being honest.  Be true to yourself.  Be true to those who you have in your life.  There is nothing more hurtful to me than knowing I hurt someone out of selfishness.  This is one of those things- If you are not happy – then work through it, or go in a different direction.  Don’t try to combine two different worlds thinking that you will find happiness – you won’t.  What I can guarantee you will find it guilt, negativity, and a whole lot of tears … by yourself!

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What many of us do not realize is that it is so easy to get back on that great path where we feel rewarded and fullfilled in life – all we need to do is eliminate the chaos and clutter, and keep our worlds simple.  Don’t overwhelm your lives with things you don’t need.  Figure out what you really need to survive.  At the end of the day this list can go on and on.  The point is that if you are living a life that is honest with yourself, you will eventually begin to feel a sense of fulfillment and positivity.  Now, I am not saying you will be skipping down the road feeling hunky dory 24/7, but you will find a world that has a lot less stressors, and chaos. 

Keep it simple and do good.  Good things are rewarded with good karma.  In the grand scheme of things i’de rather live a simple mediocre life filled with positives than a negative chaotic life that I don’t want to wake up to in the mornings.

Takeaway Truth: A Lesson in “Self Love”

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Over the years i’ve seen many people looking “outside” for what they thought, or felt should be felt on the inside.  If that doesn’t make sense let me put it this way.  Self-pity.  Simple, yet very direct, and possibly hurtful words for the sensitive at heart.

I do not understand where it is taught, or where it is picked up from.  I don’t remember it being a subject in school, or a conversation amongst friends in previous conversations .. however we all seem to develop it to some extent/degree over time … it may not always be there, but it’s lurking .. waiting for its chance to pop out at your most vulnerable and say “hey you! It’s been a long time .. we should go out for a drink and catch up!”

Do you remember the saying, “If you want something done, do it yourself” … I do.  It was usually me saying it when my husband decides to selectively not hear my requests … after all, everything I request is urgent, you know!! HA!

In context to my image posted above, I used the analogy in the last paragraph to explain how we should be looking inwards in order to find our encouragement, our desires, our “pat on the back”, so to speak.  Self Love.

It is too apparent that we like to blame the “outside” for things that don’t feel right, or things that don’t go our way.   When I say, “If you want something done, do it yourself” I truly mean this from my heart.  What no one really genuinely realizes -from the beginning – is that WE have the power all along.  We have the gift to say, “this is not how my story is going to end”.  WE have the biggest cheering section for our own personal team .. “WE”, as in “I ALONE”!

I really feel that if people began to take responsibility for their actions, for their feelings, and ultimately their lives they would realize that everything they want is in the palm of their hands.  The great outlook on life, the warm fuzzy feeling you feel when things go right, everything in life is a result of what you want, and act upon.  Do you love yourself enough?

If you are not happy with your current circumstances you should not look outside trying to find a “blame”, or a “quick fix” .. look inside.  Take a look at the decisions you are making on a daily basis … are you appreciating yourself,  are you making the best decisions for your future?  Peel back the layers and begin removing each element.  Is this something positive in your life, or something negative that you could do without.  It’s called “self-love”.  Love yourself enough to give only the best to you. If you want something done, you must do it yourself …  It starts with you, and ends with you.