Knowing that you can stay strong no matter what’s happening in your life inspires a kind of confidence and a feeling of security that’s hard to find any other way.
In this article, I want to share how I’ve stayed strong and the road I took to arrive at that place.
The 3 biggest challenges I faced in my life
When I was 19, my friend from high school was murdered. As you can imagine, that was a massive shock to me with so many emotions and thoughts to process. Fortunately, her murderer was caught and brought to justice, but I had still lost my friend.
The next major challenge happened when my daughter Sophie was 6. One day, out of the blue, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. It’s common for a diagnosis in children to occur at 50 to 500 Leukemia cells per millilitre of blood, but she had 12,000 and a huge fight ahead. Fortunately, she’s in remission now and doing well. She’s a Karate champion raising money for other kids like her.
Then three years ago, I had a series of strokes and pseudoaneurysms on the brain. I had difficulty doing basic things like communicating and walking, and I was told I would never run or play sports again.
I don’t want to dwell on the challenges I faced. Instead, I want to share how I stayed strong to get through them. I want to share the strategies you can use to learn from my lessons!
Create a vision for the future
During the most challenging times, I always created a vision for the future. When my friend was murdered, I pictured her getting justice. Later, when Sophie was sick and couldn’t walk, we talked about the day she could walk 10 kilometres, and we created this lovely vision of it. And we ticked off that goal in 2021!
The day I was told I’d never play sports again due to the strokes, I decided I would get my black belt in Karate to show them it was possible. I’m not at black yet, but I’m getting very close!
With firm goals and visions in place, I then lived one day at a time, focusing on small, incremental improvements towards that goal. And I celebrated each small achievement along the way to the larger goal.
Find the Glitter
When Sophie was ill, we kept a ‘glitter journal’. It was a notebook with a glittery cover, and each day we would write in there what the one good thing was in that day. We would each find one bit of glitter for that day to keep us going.
I now keep a gratitude journal. I’ve since learned to be grateful for minor things and look for the good every day. I also add quotes and images in my gratitude journal that inspire me to stay positive.
Ask for help
Asking for help is one of those things that we humans find extremely difficult. Yet, through my challenges, I learned that asking for help is essential when we need it.
Not only did I find that a little bit of help from others made my load that much lighter, but I also noticed that asking people for help was like giving them a gift. So many of my friends wanted to help but didn’t know how. Once I asked, my friends happily cooked dinners, picked up our children from school, visited in hospital and did so many other little things that made a big difference at the time!
Don’t think you’ll be a burden, instead put yourself in their shoes. If one of your friends is going through a tough time, wouldn’t you love to help out?
I hope you’re not experiencing major upheaval in your life right now. But if you are, I hope that these activities help you as much as they helped me. My wish is that they help make your path forward faster and easier!
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