acceptance · discovery · learning · renewal

Dealing With The Dark Side of Life

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When something major disrupts our view of what life should be, it is natural to feel a sweeping range of emotions. Anger. Frustration. Hopelessness. Anxiety. Sadness. Fear. Depression.

Bad things should not happen to good people, but they do. Jobs are lost. Accidents happen. Trust is broken. Health suffers. Mistakes are made. Grief overwhelms. Tragedy touches us all. And when the painful task of living pushes our limits, we wonder … why is this happening? Why must we endure such difficulty? And the biggest question often spoken silently: Why Me?

Every one of us is a unique individual worthy of happiness and all that is good in this world, but we are not so special that we are immune to heartache. The ups cannot be appreciated without the downs. Trying to avoid every negative consequence or potential threat in life is impossible. We can be mindful, love fully, work hard, be diligent, and embrace each moment with gratitude, but the hard truth is we will still be submitted to the dark side of life at some point. Learning to cope with those challenges when they come can be the difference between long-term joy or sorrow, love or hate, confidence or fear, peace or discontent.

The path of Life is a bumpy one, but the bruises do eventually fade. There are lessons to be found in every situation and the process of healing makes room for goals, dreams, and plans for the future.

After my cancer diagnosis, I questioned many things but I refused to ask Why Me. My subsequent treatment carried the proverbial promises: a light at the end of the tunnel, a blessing in disguise, etc. The fight showed how much the people I love matter. It revealed my personal strength and determination and love of life. My eyes opened upon the amazing beauty of second chances. I was reminded that a positive outlook can drastically change the outcome.

I decided my struggle would not be in vain. It would have purpose. I wanted to be a survivor, but I also sought to learn from the experience. Rather than Why Me, I chose to ask Why Not Me?

We are not guaranteed a perfect life and to be honest, I am a bit leery of anyone who has not dealt with adversity. Personal loss, heartache, and challenges teach us to cope when things do not go our way. They force us to peel back the layers, look inward, dig deep, and reveal our true selves. Perhaps more importantly, they give us hope. Emerging from the fog helps us see people and circumstances more clearly. It encourages compassion toward others because we have been there. We understand.

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles. – Charlie Chaplin

The next time life goes left instead of right, allow yourself to feel the pain of your situation. Do not hide from the reality but do not dwell in self-pity either. For although you may not deserve the challenge placed in your path, you have been given an incredible opportunity to become a better version of yourself. Look beyond the obvious and seek to answer the question of Why Not Me? 

Yes, we will be tested, but it is possible to come out on the other side. For even in the darkest moments the light is still there, just waiting for us to claim it.

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~Inspired ME, Joyful BE

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