Whether by fate, transition, or poor choices (which face it, we all make at some point in some arena in our lives)… we all struggle with the horrible, ugly “woes” in life.
Throughout my life I’ve faced many tribulations in multiple arenas (I’m so far from perfect–and that’s okay!). However, the one thing I take from these moments is opportunities for growth and learning.
Lately, I think life has told me that I still have a BUNCH of lessons to learn. Initially, I felt wrought with despair, anxiety, and panic. Buuuut, really? Why waste that energy on panic when there’s so many things to gain from these experiences?!
No, we can’t control the way people react to us, but we can definitely control the way we react to ourselves; which in the end has the MOST impact on what we do in response to these hardships.
You see, it’s EASY to fall into a pit of fear–life is SCARY. Especially when we’re stressed, exhausted, or rejected. (which all super suck…but are super necessary for success)
It’s easy to forget some age-old truths (especially in a society that glamorizes being busy and achieving) but here’s some “woes” we all face at times, and insights we can GAIN from them.
1. $$ WOES
MONEY does NOT= HAPPINESS. One I forget a bunch. I mean, of course one needs to be stable and pay the bills (which has been hard for me at times as well), but after that… what’s the big deal?! Chasing money never made a sad person happy. Money is just a symbol for something else we want… “freedom, security, recognition”, you name it! So it’s interesting to take a step back and see what MONEY really may mean to us, especially when you’re having money woes.
2. Body WOES
Many people see our bodies as a work of art. and many people struggle to appreciate what a body really is. Now, I get the logic of appreciating your body (and kudos for doing it!). Buuut after you go through the ups, the downs, the wrinkles, the cellulite, and things most of us inevitably encounter–there’s SO much more to our bodies. Instead of thinking of our bodies as THE canvas, I’ve learned over the years of my own body woes that seeing it as a “paint brush” is waaaay better long-term …ANNNND can help us deal with our bodies no matter what season of fitness/beauty we are facing. Instead of focusing on what our bodies look like, it’s more important to look at what it does for us for longer-term satisfaction/productivity. I mean, walking around hating our bodies every time we gain five pounds doesn’t get us any where closer to our REAL goals, which tend to have more to do with doing and being what we dream to be–and making sure we make time to take CARE of our bodies in the mean time so we can do those things. Not punish ourselves for being human and loving things like chocolate (mmm…chocolate).
3. Family WOES
Okay. Now this one is hard for most of us to confront/talk about it. But, in reality NONE of our families are perfect. As a former MFT grad student, I definitely have seen the ins and outs of family woes, and by no means have a perfect family life myself. However, there’s a lot to learn from these experiences. I think one of the first things to acknowledge is that this is more of the NORM than not. One thing I’ve discovered as well is that there’s a lot we can do to set examples in our family, and even if our own reaching out doesn’t work–there are certainly families we can create from things other than blood. Friendships are really useful for providing that family support and structure. Additionally, we can either let these family woes take us under and make us want to avoid Thanksgiving and Christmas OR we can try to make sure we are giving to our families and get what we need from other sources if they simply won’t/are unable to provide that for us. Kinda sucks, bc we all grow up with the notion that “family is this and that”, but really family is… simply humans trying to figure it out. Just like you!
4. Friendship WOES
Similar to family woes, but we tend to learn from these that either:
1. I’m not being as great of a friend as I can be and need to work on X, Y, or Z. (So learn to build those things and if you can’t–it may be a good time to address these skeletons)–Yes, that ugly mirror of true friendship that will tell you “hey, you’ve got that piece of spinach in your soul–you might wanna address that).
Then there’s point 2,
After seriously looking at point 1, then we can fairly conclude that maybe our friend is A) going through some personal stuff and you may have to just wait it out, or last resort… B) they just aren’t positive people to have in your life.
If you’re consistently finding that your friendship woes are tied to part B (ESPECIALLY the negative people part) then you may want to figure out again why YOU draw in and seek out these types of people. Another learning opportunity for yourself.
There’s definitely plenty of other woes we could address (and I may tackle productive ways to do so in the future)… But I’d figure I would finish on an empowering note that “success is on the same road as our failures”. You may face many WOES or FAILURES a long the way, but success is further along down that path. Focus on the SPECIFIC thing that you failed at, try again, try another way, and keep on keeping on. Just because you fail a few times doesn’t mean give up. In fact, we may never reach that success sign further down the path without using some grit to get us through those gritty parts in life.
So overall, what can we learn from hitting rock bottom? That there’s A LOT to learn from it (and those without these moments are actually missing out sometimes! Sucks you got fed with a silver spoon :P) and it’s important to take the opportunity to do so to continue to grow and eventually succeed.
As a famous rapper named Drake once said, “Started from the bottom, now we here.”
(Feel free to put that on repeat in times of doubt)
Until next time,