Tag Archives: attitude
Feel defeated by problems and failed from past mistakes? Turn this around and make your experience work for you.
How are you doing this Holiday season? I hope my message reaches you doing well. When I was recently invited to be a Guest speaker for the Thanksgiving season, it was interesting for me to find out that the reason I was chosen to come speak for this occasion was the same reason why I was invited last year by another group to come speak for their Thanksgiving celebration – they wanted to know how I can be positive and thankful on a daily basis while dealing with pretty severe challenges having no legs and one arm. This inspired me to write a message about it on a blog.
During Thanksgiving we take a moment to think about what we’re most grateful for. It is a tradition on a Thanksgiving Day for a family to get together around a table, sharing what they are thankful for and having delicious food. On that day it feels like the atmosphere changes in the air, because on that day people make an effort to remember what they are thankful for, counting their blessings instead of problems. And then what happens? Another tradition is right at the end of that day – a famous Black Friday! On the very next day, and even that same night a thanksgiving mood and feeling of gratitude is often overshadowed by constant question on where to get the best deals, worries, stress, anxiety, full schedules and concern trying to find Christmas gifts and getting ready for Holidays. Our focus is shifted into many other directions. Very soon we go back to our normal routine, and appreciation and gratitude of Thanksgiving Day is left behind. When we dive in back to our routine, facing problems and challenges coming our way, it is not always easy to feel a sincere gratitude, is it? Often times various events, people or situations that show up in our lives overshadows our joy and understanding how really blessed we are. It’s hard to feel gratitude when we have roaring storms around us.
What can steal our gratitude? Usually it will be either some events that negatively impacted our life, bad circumstances or other people that affect us in some negative ways. I sometimes hear people say to me “Well yeah, I am thankful for my life and what I have, but…” and then follows the complaint. Watching that person continue the thought, it looks like this thing that he complains about over-weighs all that he said he was grateful for. Can you relate to that at times? Before the car accident I definitely could. In fact, I did not even look into my life from a perspective of “What am I grateful for?” I never really thought of things that I was thankful for. I considered that my vibrant health, my physical looks, what I had and what I could do was supposed to be like it was. It was just normal to me and it didn’t even occur to me that I could lose it all in one moment. Having all I wanted, I still would find various things that I was not happy about and constantly was sad about something. Now, even though I am missing nearly half of my body, I am very grateful for so many things that it overshadows my pain and the loss I had in my life. I very rarely have “bad mood”.
How can this be?
First of all, my inner joy, hope, peace, endurance and inner strength comes from Christ. I receive it in a prayer and through faith. The Lord is my Rock and He is my main source of inner qualities that are so important to have. I always know that all things work together for good in my life. I feel thankful even for difficult situations, because I know they are going to work for my benefit in some ways. And I always smile when I see that it was truly for my benefit. I spoke about it last year when I was invited as a Guest speaker for Thanksgiving Celebration at Melhizedek Church in Sacramento, CA. You are welcome to listen to the audio of it here:
There was a time in my life when I realized that in addition to that incredible inner joy that can be received from Jesus Christ in a prayer, the peace of God that surpasses all understanding and His blessing on a daily basis, my experience in life greatly depends on how well I manage myself.
In addition to what I receive from God and my faith, I do work on myself. I believe one of the greatest favors a person can do for himself is learn to manage his own inner state. It is much easier to handle difficulties when we know how to choose our response in a way that will empower us to make the right decision what we are going to do next. Gratitude becomes a normal daily inner state when we know how to get it and how to manage our own feelings. We can have a positive attitude at all times when we know what creates it and how we can maintain it regardless of what’s going on around.
My biggest and probably one of the most significant eye openings was when I realized that my experience about one or another event depends on how I choose to look at it. In one of my blogs earlier, I shared about how our perspective about events determine our response and decision what we are going to do next. (https://ingalizdenyte.me/2014/04/20/self-management-how-perspective-affects-our-inner-state-and-decisions/ ) An event is a plain fact, and your own choice of perspective will give the color, feelings and emotions to that event. I know, a lot of times it is hard to consciously choose perspective, especially when it comes to dealing with people who hurt you. Our life experience can be very bitter only because of other people’s attitude toward you, their words and actions that hurt you. There is a way to deal with it. But today I want to take an overall look about managing yourself, so you do feel grateful even if the storms of life a roaring around.
What is gratitude, thankfulness, appreciation or joy? All these are feelings, right? Sadness or worry are feelings as well. What does create either of those feelings? You. How? By thinking in a certain way. It is not the event and it is not people who make you feel in a particular way, but your interpretation and your focus. It is you who creates your own feelings. Your feelings follow your thoughts, or in other words your feelings depend on your thoughts. You feel excitement when you think of things that excite you and you feel upset when you think of what’s bad and hurtful, right? You won’t be able get into a depression if you focus on things that make you excited or on new opportunities or when you feel gratitude about where you are in life. Same way, you may lose your inner peace that you received in a prayer if you start focusing on things that worry or frustrates you. You may lose your inner joy if you constantly think about that, which irritates and angers you. You give the direction to how you feel by choosing what you think about.
Your daily experience will be much different when you fully understand that your feelings are created by your own thoughts, and you are in full control of your own thoughts.
Yes, you can choose how you feel by choosing what you think. You can put yourself into anger by thinking about things that make you angry and make yourself feel uplifted by choosing to think what’s good in your life. I am sure you experienced numerous times this: when you wake up first thing in the morning, you feel peaceful and good. But then, when you are fully awake and remember some negative situation, your joy disappears. Then you start analyzing it and slowly but surely you start feeling irritated and not feeling too happy. It’s what many people call a “bad mood”. And you remain in a bad mood as long as you keep in mind your bad situation. Then, let’s say you have some unexpected pleasant surprise. What happens then? You immediately get excited and joyous, right? Pleasant surprise creates positive feelings and you feel great because this surprise took your focus away from the bad situation and shifted it to a pleasant one. Here is the trick: you will feel great as long as you will be focused on the pleasant surprise and beautiful experience it has created for you. But as soon as you go back into analyzing and thinking about that bad situation that you were thinking about in the morning, you will go back into your “bad mood”. Learn to control where your mind goes. It may not be easy at first. But just try deliberately choose what you think about. When you see that your mind wanders around and leans toward that which saddens, frustrates or makes you feel in any negative way – stop it and redirect it toward that which will be pleasant, lovely, hopeful, empowering or exciting. It will get easier with practice, just as everything else. Discipline is like a muscle.
Of course there are times when we might not see any light and not even hope to see the light. It’s hard to be positive when we are in difficult circumstances and have difficult problems or if we are in pain. But we still can be in charge of how we feel. You know what helped me to hold on in my most difficult times? Focus on the beautiful that I had and gratitude for it all. Trust me, it was really difficult, because at times it seemed like my life was filled only with the continuous loss, immense pain and dark despair. A lot of times it felt simply unendurable. I was left with nothing to hold on to and there was no hope for a change. There was nothing that could make me feel better. Physical pain could be numbed by medicine, but emotional pain not. Still, there were times when after surgeries even morphine would not affect my pain and I was left to suffer with no way to ease the pain. When I was barely holding myself from literally crying out loud from pain and despair, that’s exactly what I did to hold myself together – I searched for things I was thankful for. In my mind I was thanking God for saving my life, for my family, for friends who did not leave me, for the love and care that I was surrounded with. I thanked the Lord for I had my right hand and I could move my body. I thanked my God for those little opportunities even though they didn’t seem very promising. But I thanked anyway. Gratitude for what I already had and hope is what helped me to endure the times when I didn’t see the end of despair and agony. My endurance came from hope that this shall pass and God will deliver me out of this despair and it will get better. And I never let it go. Interestingly, the more I focused on what I was grateful for, the better I felt. The more I focused on what I was able to do, the more I could do. The more I focused on what I liked about a person, the better relationship I had with that person. The more I thought of how thankful I was for the opportunity, circumstances were changing into my favor. I don’t know the mystery of gratitude, but what I do know is that gratitude is very powerful.
The more you focus on what you are grateful for, the more uplifted you will feel. In fact, I found that gratitude is a very powerful tool to change how you feel. You might say “How can I feel grateful if I am surrounded by so many problems and circumstances that just have no positive solution?” In reality, you have so much to be grateful for. But you will not notice that if you are going to be focused on what’s not good in your life. It may seem to you that you have only bad things happening in your life right now and there is no way you can find something to be grateful for. But you relax…take a deep breath and think for a moment… Let’s go through simple things. You have what to eat and nurture your body. Maybe you didn’t like the dinner that much today, but you are not one of the starving ones, who wish to have at least a bite to kill the hunger. Instead of walking in the streets and pushing a shopping cart with all your belongings looking for a safe corner or a homeless shelter, you have a home where is warm and your soft bed with many pillows.. You are healthy. You have all parts of your body and you function well. How would you feel if you lost it? If you do have some physical challenges, do you know how many people are in much worse position than you are? You are not doing that bad after all, right? You have family that loves you and cares about you. You have friends that love and care about you… What your life would be like if you lost those who love you and you were absolutely lonely in this world? So many times you could have gotten in a horrible car crash, but you survived and in fact you were not even injured. You wouldn’t want to appear in my position, would you? Look. You truly have what you can be grateful for.
The question is what you focus on.
I want to share with you a very interesting experience that made a major shift in my life. I remember or very well this special moment that was like a turning point in my life. I think it was about 7 or 8 years ago. At the time I recently moved to the United States. I lived in a beautiful land of sunshine California, but I felt very unhappy. Everything in my life seemed dreary, cold and dark. I did not feel happy nor was I even pleased with my life. I was on the bus going home from work. I did not want to go home. I did not want to see anyone and I did not want to do anything. I just felt empty and depressed. As I was driving and looking through the window, black thoughts were bombarding my mind. I did not see even one reason why I could feel happy or at least at ease. I caught myself feeling this way and asked myself “How did I get to this..? How in the world I got myself to the point that I feel so unhappy..?!” Suddenly, I felt this quiet gentle voice within me “Rise above it. Rise above all your problems and what you are not happy about. Inga, look at how much good you have in your life! But you don’t see it because you are focused on what doesn’t go the way you want it to go and you are constantly thinking about what you are not happy about. Rise above all you are not happy about. Rise above your dissatisfaction and look how much good you have in your life.” In my mind I envisioned myself going up and leaving behind all that made me unhappy. I left behind my dissatisfaction, my daily routine, household and job duties, concerns, problems, worries. As I left it all below, here above it felt so good and bright. I felt at ease! I looked at the horizon and I saw Success, Happiness, Joy and Victories of my goals to be achieved yet. I was so longing for the sheer joy and easiness… I was so longing for the excitement of moving forward and achieving the goals that were getting me closer to my ultimate vision. The victory was ahead of me waiting for me to reach it, but… I stopped moving toward it. Just a while ago I had so many goals that I wanted to achieve. I was striving for excellence every time I did something. I had such a beautiful vision for the life I wanted to create! But I lost my vision because I switched my focus on that, which was right in front of me – facts of today’s reality. I focused on the parts of my life that made me irritated, unhappy and annoyed. I was constantly thinking about that, which made me unhappy instead of what I have achieved and what made my life fulfilling and beautiful. I focused on what was not working for me instead of seeking how I could implement the vision of the life I wanted to have. I knew I needed to switch my focus back to my vision. I needed to rise above all that made me so unhappy, leave it all behind and move toward implementing my dream. I had to walk in faith – I had to see my dream to be achieved. I had to choose to think about what I wanted my life to be like and how I could realize that, instead of what I was unhappy about. I will not implement my vision and I will not be happy if I am going to dwell on what was not working for me. I needed to shift my focus.
This was the day when my depressed inner state turned around. It seemed like someone opened my eyes and I saw what I didn’t see before – my life truly was amazing and I had so much beautiful in my life! All of a sudden I saw how much good I had in my life. I came to the U.S. knowing only one person and now I had so many wonderful people in my life. When I decided to move to California, I had nothing except my suitcase, few friends and my dream, and now I do live in this absolutely gorgeous spot of the world! I move around independently, work, travel and enjoy my life just as I did prior the accident. When I decided to establish myself in California, I said to my family and friends that my next goal is almost as impossible as a flight to the moon, but I am going to try it anyway. And I landed! I literally live the dream that seemed nearly impossible! My life is just a miracle… I have so much more to accomplish and I have the opportunity to do that! That moment I felt that all those details that made me unhappy could not even compare to all what made my life so beautiful. I could not believe I did not see it before! And I did not see it only because I was focused on what was wrong in my life. I was constantly thinking about what I did not like and what I was unhappy about. Since that day I stopped doing that.
I made the decision to put my effort into turning away from my constant thinking about things that I was unhappy about. I had too many good things happening in my life to waste my time and my emotions on the negative. I decided to focus on how much beautiful I have, what I have achieved so far and what I was going to accomplish yet. If there were situations that I was not happy about, instead of sitting complaining or being drown in dissatisfaction about it, I was seeking for the ways how I could improve my circumstances, so I don’t have to feel this way anymore. And I did not even bother myself thinking about some things that were irritable. That was a new beginning for me. In my mind I kept my vision of the life I wanted to create, consistently worked on my goals, and by achieving one goal after another I improved my life conditions and my circumstances. Today I live my vision. Of course life had and still has its own moments and unexpected “surprises”, but I always remember what that quiet voice gently told me.
Today I want to pass that message to you. Rise above it…. Don’t look what’s in front of you. Rise above it and look ahead. See how much good you have in your life and how truly blessed you are. Think more about that, than about your problems and difficulties. The only reason to pay attention at your problems is to evaluate situation and find a way to resolve it. So when you look at your difficulty, focus on its solution. When you are not happy about some person, think more about what you like about him/her? When you face the unknown, fight your fear with faith and take action. Focus on that which empowers you. And know that all things work together for good to those, who love God and are called according to His purpose. Just realizing this will create attitude of gratitude in you, because you will know that even difficulties are for your benefit.
Thanksgiving is not something you feel once a year… it is an attitude you carry within you all year long. It is very easy not to even notice the blessings that we receive every day, when we are focused on what makes us feel sad or frustrated. Make it a habit for yourself every single morning to start your day and every night to end your day with reflection of what you are grateful for. Very soon you will notice how your list of what you feel grateful for starts expanding. 🙂
Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful Holiday Season. Enjoy your time seeing your family and loved ones!
Make your Holidays extraordinary!
Have you thought why some people give up and others overcome? Why some get depressed and give in to circumstances and others refuse to give in and find a way to improve those circumstances? I thought about it a lot. Is it really that some are stronger than the other ones? I believe, what sets those people apart is their ability to manage themselves. That’s all. What is self-management? It is the ability to control your response to life’s events, manage your thoughts and feelings/emotions. Or, in other words it is the ability to control your inner state. It is critical for us to be able to manage our inner state at all times, because we make different choices and different decisions, depending on our inner state. Would you agree, that you make different decisions and choose different actions when you feel hopeful, strong and determined and when you feel helpless, dis-empowered and doubting?
Our inner state depends on our Thought focus and Perspective.
What causes excitement and depression? Both inner states are the result of our thought focus. Nobody gets into a depression by focusing on exciting opportunities, or how grateful he is for everything good that he has. Depression sneaks in when a person pays close attention to what he is not happy about and constantly thinks about it. Same way, the more a person will focus on positive events, new opportunities and compelling goals, there will be no room for sadness, but the excitement and desire to implement his desired change. Our feelings always follow our thought focus.
I learned and realized that thoughts and emotions don’t just “happen” to me, leaving me powerless against them. I choose what I think and what I focus on, what meaning I give to the events and what I am going to do about it. Nobody and no event have the power to make me feel in any particular way, unless I allow it. I am the one who chooses my response, and that depends on my perspective and my interpretation of what it means to me.
We always in our mind communicate to ourselves what things mean to us, how we feel about occurred events and what we are going to do about it all. When we are doing well, we are excited and think about how thrilled we are that things are going well, what it took for us to achieve success, and having even stronger belief of what is possible for us, we move on to another venture. Likewise, in the event of various complex circumstances, we weigh our current situation, ask ourselves why it happened, and make conclusions and decisions for the future. While we are thinking about one or the other situation, we feel certain emotions. It’s easy to see the good side and feel positive emotions when the circumstances are in our favor. But it’s more challenging to feel positive if it’s a painful and difficult event for us. The way we will feel about the event greatly depends on how we interpret it and how we communicate it to ourselves.
One of the combining details that affects our inner state and our subsequent decisions is our perspective about the situation. Depending on our perspective we will give the meaning to that particular event, and from there follows our emotions and decisions what we are going to do next.
I am sure we all have experienced situation, when we, after hearing some news or having some particular experience, automatically reacted to what happened accepting the event as a bad thing. Being overwhelmed with negative feelings, we got so fearful, frustrated or disappointed that we offended someone, hung up the phone or broke our relationship with someone, dropped pursuing our goal, gave up on a project we intended to work on, broke our commitments and similar. After some time, when everything calmed down, we asked ourselves “Why did I do that…?”, then realizing that we acted that way because we were driven by the emotions that we had at that time. Unfortunately, our words and actions most often are irreversible. But if we learn how to stop ourselves from the negative reaction and allow our empowering perspective to shape our response to a situation, it is much easier to accept and handle occurred problems, and we can save ourselves from unpleasant further situations that we might put ourselves into as a result of our reactive response.
Our perspective shapes our response. Having the same event, we have a choice of how we will look at it and how we will interpret it.
Is this a punishment or is this a lesson for me?
Is this a loss or an opened opportunity to have new and better?
Does this situation show me that I am not good enough or does this situation show there is an area where I can improve myself, so I can do better next time?
Is this a dead end or is it a challenge for me to find a way because I know there must be a way?
Is this a failure or is it an experience with the lesson of what I can do better and where I should improve? Is this a crash or is it just the end of something that will be replaced by something that really needs to take place in my life?
Is this too much for me to handle or is this opportunity for me to overcome a new challenge and become stronger?
Is this a problem or is it a challenge for me to find a way, to improve and create what I want?
Let’s take a simple example. Ken, after a break-up with the woman he loves due to her lies and cheating, can look at it in various ways. Ken can come up with ideas that he is not good enough, something’s wrong with him, he has been lied to because there is something better than him and probably this woman only wanted to use him. What is he going to do next? Very likely, this kind of perspective will lead him into a belief that will lower his self-confidence and will greatly impact his decision what love and relationship means to him. He might start believing that he is not good enough to be loved, women are deceptive cheaters, it doesn’t work out for him because he is not worthy of a good strong relationship and similar. From that belief and new perspective about himself and relationships, he might make a decision that close connection and love hurt, and he doesn’t even want to get into a new relationship, because he doesn’t want to be hurt and disappointed again.
Having the same situation there is a choice to look at it differently. Ken can look at the break-up as a good thing, because if his second half chose to lie to him and be dishonest, then this was not really his second half. He knows what kind of woman he wants to tie his life with, and this is definitely not what he wants. In fact, it would have been worse if he wasted more time with her and especially if he had made a life commitment with that person. Now he has a new opportunity to meet his true life partner, who will love him unconditionally, who will not hurt him and will be faithful to him. Actually, he is truly thankful for this break-up, because now he is free to meet his true woman for him and is ready for that special connection and relationship. How will this perspective make Ken feel and what kind of decision he will make? Much different, right? The same situation, two different perspectives and totally different results.
Another simple example in a different situation: let’s say I come to work and find out that I was let go. What am I going to do about it? It greatly depends on my perspective. I can see it as I am not good enough and they are getting rid of me, it’s a big problem, it’s the end of my security and well being. But what if this is an opportunity for me to get a better position? What if this door closes, so I would open another door to have a career that I really want? Maybe this is an opportunity for me to apply for the position that I dream about or maybe even create my own business? Again, two different perspectives and both of them will create totally different outcomes for a person.
What if we look at circumstances or occurred events as just the facts. The fact itself can’t make us feel in any particular way. It is just a plain fact same way as any object. It’s how we look at the fact will shape our attitude and our feelings about it. Events, same way as objects or activities are simply neutral matter and they have both likes and dislikes, depending on what it means to people. Let’s take a gamble game. It is just a game, nothing more. But how we feel about it depends on how we look at it and what gambling game means to us. We can look at it as a fun time with friends, excitement of a mystery of what’s going to happen next and a great opportunity to gain unlimited amount of money with no effort and work. Also, we can look at it as a waste of time, opening doors to something that can bring a great destruction into our lives and it is just throwing away our money that we can spend on something more meaningful. It’s all how we look at it will make us feel about that object or any event.
Our perspective is the foundation of what meaning we give to the event or any circumstance, and depending on that we will feel about it in a particular way and will choose what we are going to do about it.
Perspective depends greatly on our beliefs.
We have a choice to believe that we are capable and will improve in the learning process or we may believe that we are just not good enough and will never be. We have a choice to believe that everything that happens in our lives is in God’s control and everything happens for the purpose and for the better. We also may believe that there is no God, life is whatever events happens to us, it’s all about luck and most often life’s not fair. We may believe that with our decisions we can shape our destiny, and we may believe that all life’s events and circumstances are out of our control; therefore, it is meaningless to work hard and make the effort. We may believe that we are not good enough and are not really worthy of love and strong family, and we may choose to believe that everybody is worthy and can have it, so we do as well and we will have it when the right time comes. We may have a belief that we will not succeed anyway, because we are not worthy of success or we are simply not as lucky as others, and we can believe that we will be blessed and will succeed wherever we go. These are just several examples of general beliefs about God, life, love and us as people, which shape our perspective about the events and our connection with people. Belief is nothing more than what we are convinced about, which we can choose as well.
We can take another example to show how belief shapes our perspective and the perspective leads to certain decisions, followed by actions. To make it more real, I will take my own life. The car accident that I was involved in was something that neither I nor anybody else in my life could have ever expected. I was 22 years old, and this event was a major turning point in my life and lives of my family members. The result of that event was that I lost a person, who I was dating at the time (he was killed), and lost basically everything that made my life fulfilling and joyous with no way to restore it back. In addition to losing it all, having multiple injuries and losing both of my legs and having my left arm fully paralyzed, made me totally helpless and not able to take care of myself at all. From being active, joyous and having strong potential to be successful in life, suddenly I found myself helpless in bed not being able to move or do anything independently, except see, feel and speak a little bit. Losing half of my body completely changed my life. There were many different opinions of why it happened, questions about my destiny and advice what I should do with my life at that point. I have heard people had ideas that God punished me; others said this was my destiny and I should just accept it. “Such is your fate…he broke your destiny” was a very common conclusion, implying that I needed to just accept it and give in, because there was nothing I could do to get it all back or make it better. I also had to hear advice not to try so hard pursuing my dream, because it was unrealistic. I disagreed with them all and decided to fight for my life, because I had a different belief.
Today, one of the things I am most grateful for to my Creator is that from the very beginning I had a positive perspective about what had happened and faith of what my future would be like. I had unshakable belief that my life’s in God’s control and therefore, I will not fear. There was a reason why I got into this crash and also there is a purpose why I survived, even though I was given 30% to live. Since the Scriptures say that everything works for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28), that means there must be a serious reason why this had happened, and I believed somehow this was for my good. Even though now I didn’t understand many things, but I believed there’s a purpose in everything and Lord was going to restore my life. In spite of suggestions to give in, I firmly decided that I would not sit around for the rest of my life being a victim of drunk driving. I didn’t believe that this event happened for me to spend the rest of my life being in regret and depression, watching how my life passes by in sadness and restricted life style. I decided that I would not cry and wouldn’t spend my life thinking about what had happened being in self pity or collecting sympathy from others. I kept saying to myself that what I was experiencing at the time was only temporary. I would live a full life in spite of my injuries. I had a very clear understanding that my destiny was not going to be “broken” because of the event that had happened. I could change my destiny the way I wanted to and with God’s help that’s exactly what I was going to do. My understanding about it was so bright and clear, as if I were given a palette of paint, being told that I could draw only black or gray house, and I knew that I could use all the colors I wanted, and paint not only a house, but also blossoming gardens, green trees, colorful flowers, bright yellow sun, blue sky… I did not know how my situation could possibly resolve to a better, but I knew that I would live well. I completely ignored people’s sayings “Such is your fate…” As soon as I heard such opinions, feelings of rebellion would instantly stir up inside of me and my response was “No. That is NOT my destiny. I will create the destiny that I want.” I did not listen to what anybody said about my position in life and their opinions about my goals that I wanted to achieve. I always had a vision of how I wanted my life to be, believed that it was possible to implement it and did everything I could do to make it become my reality. My helplessness created a burning desire to do whatever it takes to lead joyous, active and independent life again. I set the goals for myself, which step-by-step transformed my life from not being able to speak, move or do anything independently to travelling from Europe to the United States by myself and building my live all over again. I had a vision that I would live a full active lifestyle in spite of my injuries, consistently worked toward my goal, and today I live my dream that seemed nearly impossible. In fact, today I feel happier than before the car accident.
Now, after a while, I clearly see that if I had looked at my circumstances “realistically” as many did, and would have agreed with people, who told me that I should just accept what had happened and let it be the way it was, because such was my fate – probably I would still be spending my days being stuck at home having no access to a full life. My belief shaped the perspective that gave me hope and empowered me to take action to change my circumstances and create the life that I envisioned. My perspective about this event and my future gave a birth to the attitude that I can’t and won’t give up on my life, but will take action to improve everything, and had unshakable belief that I would succeed. I did not allow my loss to ruin my desire to live a full joyous life. Opposite, my loss gave a birth within to a burning desire to live and aspiration to achieve my dreams. I did not allow my desperate situation to destroy my faith. Opposite, my faith became stronger than it ever was. My adversity revealed to me the values that I never saw before. My belief and attitude made me strong, persistent and unstoppable.
As all of my above examples show, the same situation can have totally different outcomes, depending on which perspective we choose. Some beliefs are unconscious, and they come from people’s backgrounds, religious beliefs, experience, philosophy or other people’s opinions and their experience. If we are aware of our beliefs and our perspective, we can manage and choose the response that will empower us.
For instance, difficult situations is something that everyone avoids. However, they will be there whether we like it or not. Every single person has faced difficulty at some point in their lives, and the way they handled it greatly depends on their perspective about it and what they decided to do about it. In any case, naturally everyone has negative feelings about difficult situations. What if we take a different point of view at the difficulty? Opportunity. It’s an opportunity to learn what better choices I can do next time; opportunity to develop certain character traits; opportunity to learn to trust more the Higher Power; opportunity to test myself how I can handle challenges. In each situation it is possible to learn something. If we value learning and growth, we can look at every situation as a lesson and ask ourselves what we can learn from this experience.
If we believe that God does not give us more than we can cope with and there is a reason for everything, we will just know that our current situation is not more difficult than we can handle, and it is in our life for the reason. Our job is to handle it the best possible way and see the reason. After some time we might see that actually particularly this difficult situation was for our good, because it directed our life path toward our dream, it tested us, developed necessary character traits and gave us more wisdom. After seeing that, our belief will get even more grounded, and when next time we will face difficulty – we will be even more steady in our empowering perspective and we will handle the situation in a different way. If we see that a certain challenge was given to us as a lesson or opportunity for our self-improvement, our mind will be focused on what we can learn from that and how we can improve ourselves, instead of how bad and difficult situation is, and naturally, we will handle the challenge differently.
We do not have control over other people and a lot of times we do not have control over what happens in our lives. But we have a choice of how we look at it all and what we are going to do about it. Depending on our decisions what we are going to do next, we will have subsequent events and this way we shape our destiny. If we carefully and deliberately choose our beliefs and perspective, we will always have control over our response to various life’s events, challenges in our relationships or any situation in life.
“It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.” Anthony Robbins
Be Strong. Be Determined and Persistent. Be Unstoppable! 🙂
Our lives are filled with various experiences, and not all of them are good. Every person knows the meaning of the word Problem. Usually we do not have a good association with this word. Difficult situations are never pleasant, and a lot of times it means destruction for us. We all naturally try to avoid problems and also naturally we react negatively when we face them.
I want to invite you to see another side of the problem. When we look at the bigger picture – difficulties are just the same part of life as everything else that we consider good. We are not going to avoid them as much as we would like to. Struggles can play two roles in our lives, and I believe we have a big influence on which role they will be playing. Problems may lead us to the anxiety, fear and even despair, and they also can make us stronger, strengthen our faith, teach us to not give up, but aim for the goal. Challenges can either break us or make us stronger, and it depends only on us what kind of end result we are going to have. How we are going to cope with them depends on our faith, attitude and our actions. I have learned to see a lot of good in problems. In fact, difficulties were to my benefit.
After getting into a car accident and losing both of my legs and having my left arm paralyzed, I had to go through an enormous physical and emotional pain and face a lot of challenging obstacles while living in my home country, Lithuania. Upon my arrival to the United States, some of the issues resolved right away, because here there is a different access for the wheelchair users and different climate. However, there were other issues that needed to be solved. My attitude really supported me, because it helped me to overcome every obstacle I had encountered with, and it developed a new perspective about the problems. I started seeing them as the same part of life just as joy and success, and I accept them naturally as all other life circumstances. Problems and difficulties are just simply situations that we have to deal with. They are going to come into our lives over and over again, and what outcome we will have depends on how we look at those situations and what we are going to do about them. If we see our situation as a big problem and will focus on how bad it is and how difficult it is to improve it – we will immediately have negative feelings. The more we think about its complexity,- negative feelings will increase. Soon enough we will get anxious, worried, and fearful and eventually we may even get panic. It is very difficult to make a wise decision being in such inner state, would you agree? Have you ever noticed that the more you focus on the problem and its complexity, the more difficult it seems to you? The more complicated it seems, the worse you feel, and eventually you don’t even know what to do about it. When you choose to focus only on your problem itself, it is difficult to see the solution. You feel stuck and it doesn’t even make sense to make any efforts to improve the situation, because you simply don’t see that it can be improved. Finally, there is a temptation to just give up on it and let it be.
Let’s see if a different perspective about difficult circumstances can make a difference. How about if you look at it not as a Problem, but as a Challenge that has a solution? What is the solution? That is going to be your challenge – to find it and implement it. Do you know a game The Rubik’s Cube? I remember those times, when in my childhood my brother and I would turn that magic cube trying to put all those colors together. It was difficult and often times we couldn’t win. But we still kept playing it. We clearly understood that the point of this puzzle game was to find a way how to put all those various colors in a way that each side of the cube was the solid color. We knew that there must be a way and we looked for it. There were days, when we’d lose our patience and pass it on to Mom or Dad, so they could try it. But on the next day, we’d take it back and again tried to solve that puzzle. Why would we take it again and again despite of how difficult it was to find that mysterious solution? It’s because we knew that there was a way to arrange that puzzle cube in solid colors, we were challenged to find a way, and we were determined to find it. If you did not have a chance to play this puzzle game, pick another challenging game that you played. Remember how you looked at it and what was your mindset, why would you go back to that game over and over again, and played it until you had the victory. Because you knew there must be a way, right?
What if you looked at the difficult circumstances the same way? Try to look at them in the same way as you looked at the game that challenged you. Remember yourself when you were a kid, how you, sincerely believing that there must be a way, kept trying to find a solution for that puzzle game. And you found it, right? Your current situation also has a way out. What is that way? I don’t know. But you can find it, if you look for it with such determination and enthusiasm as you had while playing that game. Your life difficulties are your Rubik’s Cube. It is given to you to find its solution. Problems are there for you to learn and make you stronger, not to break you down.
When facing a difficult situation, it is important to control our perspective about it. The situation is solely a plain fact. What kind of feelings we are going to have and what we are going to do about it, greatly depends on our perspective about that fact. It is important how we interpret it and what kind of question we ask ourselves.
Problem: If we look at the occurred situation, focusing on how unexpected and complicated it is or how bad it can get – we will see it as a Problem and we will feel stuck. If we focus on the problem itself, usually the questions in our mind will be out of our emotions and the ones that do not have an answer or will be dis-empowering. For example “Why is this happening to me?!”, “How could he/she do this to me?” “Why can’t I get out of the problems?!”
We see the situation as a Problem because we focus on how difficult or hopeless it is. We will handle the same situation in a much different way, if we focus on the solution and ask ourselves different questions.
Challenge: I learned this from my experience, and I will use it here in order to be able illustrate my thought. The fact that I completely lost the use of my left arm by having it paralyzed, was very painful. It seemed nearly impossible to take care of myself with one arm and having no legs. The first few months after the accident I would constantly ask myself “What about the shower? How am I going to put on clothes now? How am I supposed to fix my hair with one hand..? How in the world am I going to fix meals with one hand?!” The first several months my Mom used to help with all these needs, but I knew I must find a way to take care of it all on my own because I couldn’t keep asking for assistance for the rest of my life. I must continue my life in spite of my limitations and I had to find a way to take care of myself independently. This way, I did not keep telling myself that I could not do anything by myself because I didn’t have my legs and my arm, but I was looking for ways how I could take care of things being in such physical condition.
Now, after many years, I see one very important detail that helped me to find ways to take care of myself and fully re-build my life. When I needed to do something with one hand, in my mind I did not ask myself “CAN I do this?” If I did, the answer automatically would have been NO, because nobody cooks or puts on clothes with one hand. And generally, it looks nearly impossible to do things using only one hand, which actually requires two. Instead, I asked myself “HOW can I do this?”, and thus automatically my thoughts were focused on figuring out the solution. My left hand is still paralyzed and I do not have my legs, but today I live on my own across the globe from my family, and independently take care of my needs, take care of the household matters, laundry, cleaning, shopping, cooking, work, travel, etc. because of this simple reason – facing a challenging situation I ask myself “HOW?” instead of “CAN I?” Thus, I developed such character trait, that as soon as I face some difficult situation, I automatically ask myself a question “How can I solve this situation to get the best outcome?” or “There must be a way. What is the way?
The ways to improve or cope with the situation are always there, we just need to find them. The same situation – which is a solely fact – can be taken two ways, and our end result will depend on whether we look at it is a Problem, focusing on its difficulty or we look at it as a challenge to ourselves, focusing on possible solutions.
Facing difficult situation, instead of looking at it as a Problem and focusing on how bad it is, remember a puzzle game that you were challenged by. You kept looking for the solution, because you knew there was one. Your situation does have a solution same way as that puzzle game, you only need to look for it, and keep looking for it until you find it. You will find a way by asking yourself questions that will direct your focus on the solution. There is a big difference between questions “Can I, is it possible?” and “How can I, what is the way?” and each of them will deliver totally different results for the exact same situation. “Can I?” is usually automatic reaction to the difficult situation. The danger of it is that if the situation is going to be really difficult, the answer will be immediately No. I started my learning journey in the Rehab center, when I needed to get out of bed and dress up independently, or having ingredients for the sandwich (which was needed to cut, etc.), tried to figure out how I could make a meal for myself with one hand. If I had looked at it as a Problem, focusing on my limitations and asked myself “Can I do it?”, the answer automatically would have been NO, because nobody slices the bread and other ingredients and makes the sandwich with one hand. But I looked at it as a challenge to find a way how I could do it, and it made a big difference not only in that situation, but in my entire life.
As a coach, when I see a client seeing the situation as a Problem, I tell him about the example of the puzzle game, to help him see his situation as a challenge. And then, I apply some of the questions, to help him change the perspective and find the solution.
It is always more powerful if you hear the powerful and not expected questions from somebody else. But if you don’t have a coach, who would help you with that, you can do it yourself. When you face a situation that is difficult, instead of calling it a “problem”, focusing on its difficulty, think of it as your challenge that you need to resolve. Only by asking yourself questions that will direct your mind to seek for the solution you will find the solution. Ask yourself questions that will make you look at the situation from another perspective. Some of the examples are:
- If this situation is a Win/Win – what’s in it for me?
- What can I appreciate about this situation?
- What can I learn from this?
- Having the situation the way it is, what would change it to a better?
- Where is the solution to this?
- If I see this situation as a challenge to myself… Maybe there is something for me to learn, improve some character traits or something else… What would that be?
- What would be ideal outcome from this situation?
- What needs to happen to have my desired outcome?
- What possible options can I see that would make my situation better/improved/resolved?
- If I decide have fun with this, what could I laugh about this situation?
Start appreciate difficult situations. They are there for a reason, and it depends only on you if you end it strong or the situation will overpower you. Problems either will break you or make you stronger. Which end result you like better?
Show those problems that YOU are stronger! 🙂
Be strong. Be determined and persistent. Be unstoppable.
We don’t always have a choice of what happens in our lives. But we do have a choice what we do with it. Those, who know me well, hear a lot me saying that it is not what happens to us determines our destiny, but what we do with what happens. It’s a choice. A choice to give up thinking that you can’t handle it and a choice to fight for your life. A choice to be easily discouraged and a choice to persist. A choice to be pessimistic and a choice to find good things even in bad circumstances and hold on to unshakable faith that the best is still ahead. A choice to let it go once it gets tough and a choice to keep pushing it forward and make it work. It’s a choice. It’s a decision, which will determine what is going to happen next. Have a wonderful week!
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped” A. Robbins
As I was editing my manuscript of Unstoppable, I was inspired to share with you one of the crucial details that made a huge difference in overcoming my challenging obstacles and goals that I needed to implement. It is having “I can” mindset and inner communication. Empowering inner communication or in other words Self-talk helped me to break through the most challenging times. When my circumstances seemed totally desperate, I said to myself “For me it looks impossible, but I know there is nothing impossible for God; He will create opportunity for me.” When I heard “You can’t do it”, my response was “Yes I can. Don’t tell me what I can and what I cannot do”. When people told me “It’s impossible”, my response was “I know it’s not going to be easy, but I will try and will do whatever it takes to make it happen”. When I faced difficulties that made my goal impossible and it seemed I had no strength to make another step, I would pull all my strength together and say to myself “Inga. You can do it. It’s not more than you can handle. With God’s help you will get through this and you will see the light at the end of the tunnel”. My self-communication empowered me greatly. I felt strong enough to take any pain and difficult situation, and I had unshakable faith that what I want CAN BE done. And that was my foundation, which was like a rock that I was standing on. I did not allow difficult circumstances to break me down. And then, I took consistent action, which moved me forward.
It is very important to be careful how we interpret events and what we say to ourselves, because it determines how we feel about the occurred circumstances and our ability to handle the situation. Can you feel the difference in how you feel when you say to yourself “Yes, I can do it and I will make it happen no matter what it takes for me to get there.” and “I can’t handle it. It’s too much for me. ” Would you agree that you are going to have different results in each of these situations? Sure, without a doubt.
It is critical to pay close attention to how you communicate to yourself certain events and circumstances, and whether or not you can handle it, because depending on that you will make decisions what you are going to do about the situation. Then, your decisions will be followed by your action or inaction. Automatically, your action (or inaction) will create following circumstances and ultimately it might even give the direction to your destiny.
Always remember, that various circumstances have no power over you and they can’t make you feel in a certain way unless you allow it. You are the one, who chooses what you think about and how you look at things. Learning to control your own thoughts and your focus is crucial because it determines your inner state, your following actions and finally your results.
I will never forget that beautiful sunny day, when I realized that if I do not like the way it is now – I can change it. Nothing – no accident, difficulties due to my changed physical condition, or any other problems – can determine how I feel and how I will continue my life journey. This is my life, and what it will be like depends on me, and not on other people, events or some occurred circumstances. Yes, the accident created those desperate circumstances, but I could change them by taking initiative and action that will create different circumstances. I don’t have to settle for the way it is, and I believe that with God’s help I am going to get out of this horrible place in my life.
That moment something happened within me. I felt strong and determined to change my life conditions. I had a strong desire to be connected with people, work, travel and be useful to others, and that moment I knew that this was exactly how I will live. Without any more waiting or hesitation I decided to take initiative and start making changes to get myself out of the dead-end. I was living in unbearable emotional pain for so long that I just could not stand it anymore. I hated my suddenly changed position and this endless pain so much that I was ready to do everything I could do to return to change it all. It did not matter to me how much work and efforts it would cost me. But I knew that I was not going to settle for “disabled lifestyle”. My decision and determination was absolutely non-negotiable. I clearly realized that nothing was going to just happen if I sit and do nothing to make it happen. I knew I had to take initiative in order to implement the vision I had for my life. If I am going to be idle – the circumstances will shape my life, and it was not going to be the life that I desired. So I identified what my goals were to move toward the vision and how I was going to reach them. And…I took action. I held the vision of how I want to live, and consistently worked toward my goal.
Today I literally live my dream that seemed nearly impossible. The goals and the standards that I set for myself transformed my life from not being able to do anything independently to travelling across the world by myself and building my life all over again in a foreign country. I do live a full active and meaningful life.
… And it all started that moment, when I realized that my further life does not really depend on the accident and its consequences, but on what I was going to do from that moment.
By writing about this I want to share this lesson and experience with you, who took the moment to read. It is not the event that has the power to determine your future, but what you are going to do about it. Know that you can change your current circumstances if you are not happy with it. Current circumstances were created by your own earlier made choices or some occurred events that you could not control. Same way, by making certain choices and taking action you can create different circumstances. Your life is in your hands, not in the hands of your circumstances. Your choice of what you are going to do about it from now on will determine your future events, and finally maybe even your destiny.
Do not allow the circumstances be in charge. YOU take charge of them and your life! Nothing is impossible for those, who have faith. It might look impossible, but with God all things are possible. God bless!! ♥