How many of us feel like nothing ever goes our way?! Doesn’t it seem that no matter how hard we try, we just can’t seem to get past our troubles? Ever feel like giving up?
A few years back, I was having an online conversation with a fellow dance-parent. I had recognized that she was having a very rough time managing her life and duties as a parent. Recently divorced, it seemed that she was perpetually finding herself in relationships that were unhealthy. Furthermore, it seemed that she was jumping in fully, within days of “dating” the other person. She was broadcasting her woes all over social media, I mean there was dirty laundry everywhere! Being her friend (or so I thought), I kept trying to lift her up… I didn’t use judgmental language, or tell her how wrong she was (even if at times I felt that way). I simply continued to encourage her and challenged her thinking about “nothing ever goes her way!” I wanted to let her know that she was absolutely in control of her destiny through her thinking, her choices, and her lifestyle.
After a few short conversations, I thought she was actually making some headway in understanding her role in these unhealthy decisions and situations. We continued to chat, but then without any provocation the conversation turned pretty ugly… and she took offense to some of the challenges I posed to her thinking, even about things unrelated to the original conversations.
Ultimately, she lashed out with the following statement and unfriended me on social media about 15 minutes later:
“My life isn’t perfect like yours! You never have anything go wrong, things are always good for you! You don’t know what it’s like to have bad things happen!”
Whoa!!! I was faced with the reality of that being her honest interpretation of my life. She truly believed that only good things happen to me. She didn’t know that I had recently been through a very unhealthy marriage, despite her seeing the two of us being amicable with each other. She didn’t know that my financial picture (even at that moment) was awful, including debt collectors and loss of services. She didn’t realize that I was having trouble getting out of bed each and every day, to go to a job where my immediate supervisor didn’t value me (or anyone else for that matter). She had no idea what my life had been like growing up as a child of an alcoholic/drug addict. She didn’t know that I struggled through college, believing for the first few years that I didn’t fit in and I didn’t belong. She didn’t realize some of the atrocities I’ve seen, at the hands of others through past life and work experiences.
Then it hit me… she honestly thinks that about me, and it’s because she had never really gotten to know me. She knew a “group” perception that was largely superficial. Truth is, bad things happen to me almost daily but I just don’t share my drama openly with the world on social media. I don’t broadcast my troubles largely because I realize that no matter what I’m going through, somebody else has it much worse.
However, there are many times that I do share my troubles and past failures with other people! I share them as stories to illustrate lessons when working with my students. I share them with good friends, to help validate my experience in similar issues they are dealing with. I share them with the people I work closely with, so that they can understand that I’ve been there, and that there is hope even in situations that seem desperate.
If you’ve read my Recipe for Success article, you’ll understand why I don’t openly complain or gripe about the negative things that happen to me, because I understand how negative thinking affects actions and habits. While I’m nowhere near perfect at it, I sincerely try to not add to the negativity of the world. I want to help people feel good, and to be hopeful that whatever they are facing will only be temporary.
You’ve heard the old saying, “misery loves company.” I simply refuse to accept misery’s invitation! Instead of adding to the “poor me” conversation, I do my best to try and find the “silver lining” to help people get past whatever they are facing at the moment. I want to help others recognize the power of God’s Grace, and the need to call upon Him for help in those dark times. Something that I’ve not always been good at, but am continuously working on. Without a doubt, my problems are bigger than I am, but not bigger than God!
I believe that my successes are born out of my failures, because I pick myself up and seek to improve whatever put me in that bad situation. Sometimes things are beyond my control… but one thing I can control are my thoughts about them. There are lessons in those failures, powerful opportunities to grow beyond my own imagination. I truly believe that… because I fail, I’m able to succeed!