With the current challenge Bill and I are facing – especially in the last few months – it’s been hard to get adequate sleep and it’s easy to slip in to feelings of despair and even self pity. I know you relate, because we’ve all been there.
When troubles come to you, do you come out of them victorious? Do you consider yourself a survivor no matter what life has thrown your way so far? Or do you break like a tea cup or buckle like a weak board?
Years ago I never thought of myself as a survivor. After surviving things that many people tell me they could not have survived, I took a different look at my strong points as well as my weak points. Come to find out, I am a survivor, even though I never looked at it that way.
As I pointed out in a previous post, if a situation can’t be avoided you have to work through it the very best that you can. Sorta like having a bad hand dealt to you in a card game: you have to play with the hand you’ve been dealt.
How you react to any situation has a lot more to do with how you’ll fare over the long haul rather than the situation itself. The right attitude can get you mentally past the unavoidable and help you look for opportunities that will better shape your world, not only in this moment but the future.
The Price You Pay for Handling Things Your Way (Especially If It’s Not Mainstream)
Bill and I spoke to a group of home-schooled kids after one of his major exhibits back in 2006.
My part of the talk was brief, but it was a message that I wanted them to have and hopefully carry through life with them. As it turns out, I was told by several parents (who also attended) that it helped them to better deal with situations they were dealing with (probably more than it helped or will ever help the kids).
Here’s what I told them:
You can do almost anything you want to in life, but there will always be a price to be paid. “Prices” can come in many forms.
One of them is the loss of acceptance or camaraderie from someone you hold dear.
Know up front that you cannot expect anyone to totally share your point of view, your goals, or to see exactly why you are doing what you are doing. That includes your mother, father, sister, brother, your children, any other relatives, AND even your BEST friends!
In all probability, if what you want and are doing does not match what the vast majority is doing, you’ll be criticized.
It can be very much of an emotional loss to “lose” someone you thought you were on the same wave length with. But in order to walk the road you have chosen, you need to be prepared to risk and accept that loss.
In many cases, just keeping what you’re doing to yourself will avoid a lot of problems.
Criticism – Knowing It’s coming and Using it to Help you
One of the things I learned to do long ago, was to take a criticism or a negative comment when it comes (no matter the source), weigh it out, and then make it work to help make me stronger.
I know it sounds odd, but doing this is sometimes where one of your greatest sources of help will stem.
For example: I have a dear friend with whom I felt I could share the details of our situation even though I knew her mindset on handling the problem would be different than mine. It was unwise of me and I ended up upsetting her. (Mainly because she cares for us, and I think she deems our course of action to be the wrong one.)
She asked “How much more can (you) take and how much more before you buckle under this strain?” She then made suggestions on how she would handle the problem, which is not at all like Bill and I would consider handling the problem.
Nonetheless, her question has turned out to be one of my greatest sources of strength so far.
While reading her email over and over, I thought back on my life and how all the “problems” or difficulties that I’ve had over my life have strengthened me to bear what must be borne now. In the 70 some years I’ve lived I’ve formulated the path I want to walk and what I want to stand for. There is no way that I can expect someone else to totally understand because they have not lived my life.
I thought of all the difficulties men and women have had to bear over the course of history. They had to be strong rather than fainthearted. This country would never have been founded if everyone buckled at the first sign of adversity or even well into the adversity. Many things have been done over the course of time that people, in this country especially, consider impossible now.
As hard as our situation is, as unpleasant as it is, as painful as it is, as much as I hate it, Bill and I have looked for the good and have found it. We are still walking in the direction of the outcome we desire, but have faced the reality of the other possibilities.
Whatever the outcome, I know I’ll never be the same in many ways. But hopefully, I will be better overall and able to be of benefit to others.
Bet You’re Wondering How This Effects You and Your Garden
Our situation will severely limit my time in the garden. Since we depend on our garden for our food I’ll have to be very creative to find a way to do the necessary tasks. Out of adversity will come many new discoveries about how things can be done more easily and efficiently.
I’ll have lots of new ideas to share with you.
When problems and difficulties come your way as they do to us all, try to dwell on how you want to be through it all.
Look for the good things, no matter how small. The little joys can get us through the big problems.
And although all of us have a certain outcome we desire when experiencing difficulties, the desired outcome alone is not the real victory when all is said and done.
It’s what we achieve inside ourselves that makes all the difference: That “elusive victory from within” that can make us the men or women of strength that we really want to be.
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