Working through life challenges – Releasing the past
In my last blog, I wrote about the emotional pain of “victim mentality” when faced with a health or other life challenge. In this entry, I will share some ideas for getting out of that mindset. Mindset is a muscle, so it is important that we exercise it properly.
A big reason for our emotional pain is being stuck in the past; how life was before dystonia, or other health condition or life challenge. We need to find a way to release the past. It is not who we are anymore, no matter how hard we try. We can be whomever we want right now. We may not be the same person as before, and we have to learn to be okay with that, IF we want to be happy. We also need to be open to the possibility that we can be even better than before. I know how crazy this sounds, but Post Traumatic Growth is a very real and powerful thing.
By no means is ‘letting go’ as easy as I am making it sound. I completely understand that it is a process that unfolds at our own pace. It is something I have to work on every day. The more I work on it, the better I am able to release the past and embrace the me I am right now. I can’t begin to tell you how liberating it is and how much better it makes me feel when I am able to do it.
I would like to say that I freely do whatever I want whenever I want, but that is not always the case. There are days when things are far too uncomfortable because of the pain and other symptoms of dystonia. Therefore, I do my best to live my life within the boundaries of my abilities and work hard to accept that I can’t always do everything I want, or some of the things I used to. If I don’t allow myself to accept the reality that life is different now, I will mentally torture myself and become a victim of circumstance.
I did this for far too long and it resulted in so much pain. I had to learn to let it go, and as mentioned, I still have to work at it every day. Finding joy in whatever I do is where I try to put my focus, so the past does not determine my present or future happiness. I feel I have better accepted the challenges I live with and learned to ride the fluctuating waves that each day brings, but I am still a work in progress.
Every night I go to bed praying I will wake up with fewer symptoms than I had the previous day. If this does not happen, I am better at not fighting what I can’t change physically about myself in the moment, but it comes with constant practice over a long period of time, and I still falter. What I have learned is that I can only change how I respond to how I feel and do my best to be grateful for whatever I am able to do on that given day.
When we focus on the abilities we have now, acceptance follows, giving us greater peace of mind. By holding onto what once was, we trap ourselves in a vicious cycle of emotional pain.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross –
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, and volunteers for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, for WEGO Health as a patient expert panelist, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. To learn more about Tom’s coaching practice and get a copy of his book, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.