When Bad Things Happen Change Your Perspective
The first thing people tend to do when something bad happens to them is to ask the question – “Why me?” Trust me I truly understand. Bad things have happened in my life since I can remember. I was raped by a family friend at age ten, but that was after I witnessed my Mafia stepfather murder a man when I was nine. As a result of these two incidents I developed a stomach ulcer and had to be hospitalized for two weeks.
Through the years even more horrific things have happened to me – homelessness, drug addiction, job lost, domestic violence, divorce, cancer. Along with these traumatic incidences, even more hardship occurred, like raising three children as a single parent while I worked and went to college. For several years I dealt with nightmares and developed post-traumatic stress disorder, which I was able to get under control with the help of a psychologist.
Now when I do speaking engagements or I’m interviewed about my life, I’m often asked how in the world was I able to overcome so much pain. No matter how bad things ever got for me I tried to hold on to what I call “my fighting spirit.” I’ve always tried to look beyond whatever I was going through to see a better life on the other side of that obstacle, challenge or hardship.
When people are hit with hardships, obstacles or challenges they often have the following emotions – depression, anxiety, guilt, shame, or anger. The emotions can become so overwhelming that people often look to unhealthy outlets – food, sex, drugs, gambling, shopping – to cope. Depending on the incident a person can plummet into a dark hole and stay there for months, even years.
People tend to look at a certain situation and believe they either have bad luck, God hates them, nothing ever goes their way, no matter how hard they work they will never get a break, etc.
Sometimes what looks like something bad actually turns into something great or something you never expected. For example, say you wanted a certain job you interviewed for and you’ve been out of work for a year so you really need that job. You don’t get the job and you’re bummed. Now you change your perspective. You’ve always wanted to go back to school to get your Master’s degree. When you go to talk to a counselor you find out there is a job opening in your field. You apply, get the job and you still can go to school at a discounted rate because you work at the college.
Sometimes you need something bad to happen in your life to push you to get off your ass and do what you should be doing. For example, you suffered a heart attack because you’ve been eating fatty foods, sodas, cakes, cookies, for years. After surgery, you start a nutrition program and start exercising. Then, you appreciate life so much you start running marathons or hiking mountains.
Another example – that guy you thought you were so in love with, but in reality he was the biggest asshole ever, and he divorces you after twenty years. That could seem like the worst thing to ever happen to you and of course at first you’re sad, angry, unhappy, but then you shift your perspective. You see all the ways he mistreated you, disrespected you, and didn’t love you the way you deserved. You start working on yourself and doing all the things you wanted to do but couldn’t when you were married. Eventually, you’re feeling great about yourself. Then you meet another guy who is the love of your life and he treats you with all the love and respect you deserve.
Many times when something bad happens it’s a window for change; for you to do better in your life. You might have to change careers, get a different mate, go back to school, leave a dead end job, move to another city for employment opportunities, start that business, or do what you’ve always wanted to do deep down inside.
So instead of saying, “Why me?” instead say “How can I use this incident to better my life.”
When Things Go To Hell In A Handbasket Ask Yourself:
1) Is there any way to see this situation from a totally different perspective?
2) Am I doing everything I can to make the situation better?
3) How long am I going to wallow in self-pity?
4) How long am I going to keep blaming others for my situation?
5) Is it really beneficial for me to keep replaying the bad things that happened to me over and over?
6) What opportunities can I find for growth?
Whatever you are going through it important to recognize your feelings and the emotions that come with being human. It is also important to know that you shouldn’t make any important decisions when you are in this state of mind. To do so, could make your situation even worst.
If a situation is so overwhelming and you find that the emotional or mental trauma is too much for you to handle on your own, seek professional help. Sometimes it takes reaching out for help to get through difficult experiences whether that involves your pastor, a support group, or a therapist.
When you work to get through “bad” situations or experiences you want to make sure you are not angry or bitter because that will not help you live a healthy, happy or productive life. You will make yourself, and those around you, miserable. Instead, you want to work to overcome the obstacle or challenge and grow in faith and in mental and emotional strength.
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