Some weeks seem harder than others, just when you think you have this life thing down, it always seems to throw you a curveball, doesn’t it? Life, it seems, doesn’t do easy, it does interesting and sometimes scary, with lots of “what the Fork is going on” moments (“The Good Place” Reference), but it rarely seems like smooth sailing, at least for long periods of time. But the interesting thing is, we keep on going. Most of the site, which is comprised of thousands of people, have been through some really dark experiences in their lives or are still living through them, but, as a testament to the human spirit, everyone gets out of bed and lives to fight through another day.
“We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming - well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.”
-Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses
How do we continue to do that? Continue to fight to make life better or at least live for it to be slightly better, when we can’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel? Deep down most of us want nothing more than a reasonably normal life, yes we may ooh and ahh over Instagram posts of the rich and famous, but what we want at the very basic level is safety, love, good mental and physical health and purpose.
“There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster.”
-Dalai Lama XIV
Being the parent of an Elementary student will teach you many things, chiefly that kids are all different, they learn at vastly different rates, that chances are always given, that in their own time they will learn the fundamentals and rewards always work. Which are actually the exact tools for how we can approach our own learning and growth.
1. We are all different.
What worked for every other person you know might not work for you, this means that the therapist your friends rave about, may not be the one for you, or the medication you were put on, the one with the amazing stories online stating how lives were literally changed, may not be your miracle. Also, you may never get to the point in your life where everything is unicorns and rainbows, and that is okay. We create our goals based on social media stories we read or watch, or on life we peripherally experience, but each of our stories are different and that isn’t a bad thing.
2. We each learn at a different rate.
If we measure our progress against the yardstick of anyone else’s life we will come up short (no pun intended), even twins can react to the same medication, therapy, education, or any other life event, differently. We love to google our symptoms, read self help books and even come onto www.supportgroups.com for reassurance that what we are going through isn’t something completely out of the norm and preferably, see how someone else dealt with the “same situation” so that I can copy their playbook. Doing any of these things is incredibly normal and healthy, but again, it is someone else’s path, it is a guide, but not an exact path.
3. Chances are always given.
This one, in a perfect world would be 100 percent fairly divided, but life doesn’t always play fair, the color of our skin, where we come from, or the language we speak can impact our opportunity for a second chance. What we can say is that whenever possible, give yourself and those you love a second chance. Mistakes come easily, forgiveness, not so much.
4. In our own time we learn the fundamentals.
Rehab may not work the 1st or even the 5th time, but the important thing is that it CAN. Your first therapist may be a disaster, but you learn what you are looking for in the second or maybe even the third time. Your first relationship crashed and burned, but you know what you did wrong and what they did wrong, so you aim not to do those things again or date someone with the same character traits as your ex. You learn.
5. Rewards work.
After you open the door for the first time after having a really bad tussle with agoraphobia, you celebrate and you make it a step further the next time. After you go to therapy, make sure you give yourself a much needed pat on the back. Your rewards can be physical or they can be pride of self, pats on the back, but remember to recognize steps forward. We are undeniably good at recognizing our faults; we should be equally as good at recognizing our progress.
“We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.”
― John Green, Looking for Alaska
Life shouldn’t always seem hard, but often it does and it is, thank you for allowing us to hold out a hand to support you, it is our joy and pleasure.