The Ins and Outs of Life
Let’s face it: When life gets messy with Hepatitis C , Cirrhosis, or any illness – it gets a bit complicated. I am not talking about the medication for treatment, or the diet restrictions. I am talking about the changes in our family, traditions, finances, and our lifestyle. This blog is NOT going to be about how we can take action and move forward. It is going to be about how to look inward when our outward situation sucks.
My life has changed dramatically since 2010. Many of those changes are on the outside. I have been thinking about that. Those are situations. But they do not define who I am. Yet the changes affect me on the inside as well.
Do you remember those stress tests doctors used to give? I took one several years ago. They ask questions about the life changes you have been through. They are meant to assess how much damage you have endured in your personal life and go something like this:
1. Change in health for yourself or a loved one?
2. Loss of a loved one?
3. Unexpected financial hardship?
4. Change of residence?
5. Family separation
Some of us can check one or more on that list. We are the walking wounded, both inside and out . Some people may check one or two of those items in a decade. For us, it seems like a domino effect. Illness can lead to money problems. That puts pressure on a marriage. If you can’t care for yourself, you end up moving in with a relative or friend. More pressure on important relationships creates strain. And you Still don’t feel good. Really.
It’s not like we were asking for it. I mean, you did not just wake up one morning living in a different place, with a sick body and family troubles. The problems came on gradually, one hit after another and you kept standing tall in spite of it. You may not even know how you managed to stand. But you did it. Now you are here dealing with the ins and outs of life and it is not a lot like you thought it would be.
I had one guy tell me his apartment would not let him keep his dog. He said he cried so hard over that. It was like the last straw. He couldn’t even have the companionship of his pet. I gently reminded him that the tears probably were not so much for the pet, but for what she had symbolized in his life. Stability. Caring. Consistency. His companion pet was the one thing that had remained the same, and now even his little dog was gone.
He’s alone this holiday. He wants to see the kids, but feels so bad that he can’t afford gifts for Christmas. He looks like hell. (Pardon – but that’s what HE said) He feels shunned by his family. His outward pain and loss pointed to a bigger problem of loneliness and isolation. He was cooped up in that apartment by his outer circumstances. But his inner battle with sadness was what wore him down.
I told him to read the blog on ARMing a goal. It felt a little lame if you want to know the truth. But he went along and even wrote out some I Am statements. He told me that they would be read aloud every day.
See, that is all I knew to do. Why? Because that is what I do when my outer situation creates inner havoc in my mind. You know I am a compulsive thinker. Remember that blog? I am serious about setting my mind with good words no matter what went on around me.
The truth is that we are alone in our struggles. No one else lives in our body. No one has the power to change our past or create our future. We alone have to face those giants one day at a time. We can connect with other people who are in similar situations. We can let others know that we need words of encouragement or advice. We should accept that love when it is offered.
But the smartest, safest, and sanest thing is to turn inward. By listening to my inner thoughts, I can guide them toward the good things. Yes, the things to be thankful for. One by one, I peel back the layers of frustrated thinking and get to the heart of everything.
For which cause we do not give way to weariness; but though our outer man is getting feebler, our inner man is made new day by day. ll Corinthians 4:16
This is the core of life for me:
I am taking responsibility for my inner space. I might not have a lot of control in some areas of my life, but I can control my thoughts.
I refuse to worry. When I give in to compulsive worrying, it drains my energy. Just say NO.
I guard my thoughts. Living in the past or worrying about the future will not change my outer circumstances.
I do not react to negative situations with people. These are the worst. Sometimes things may come up. If you overreact to them, it will drain your energy. Stop it.
I listen to feelings of loss, anger, failure, or abandonment. They are real emotions. I can look at them with clarity and know that they are just feelings. Nothing more.
I know that the human mind has the capacity to expose any negative thoughts and feelings to the light of day. Shine the light of hope on them and watch them fade.
This is a short blog because I have get some new contacts and glasses and can barely see the screen! My message from a friend confirmed to me that we are all fighting strong emotions and I wanted to share how we are dealing with them. These emotions are the result of situations that we probably do not have control over anyway.
I invite you to join me in taking a journey inward. You have good stuff on the inside of you. Tune inward to your best thoughts. This post is going up as-is. You know I love you. Xoxoxo And I feel your love back Best Friends. Xoxoxoxo. Your blind as a bat friend, Karen:)
How are you dealing with negative emotions from outer situations? Does turning inward to your strong thoughts help?
pics via happyhonkers, picstopin.com,