Professional mom seeking clarity, balance and a well deserved glass of wine.
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I first heard this quote maybe 30 years ago and little did I know back then, this Chuck fella was on to something big.
I think it’s safe to say, whether or not you’ve been on this earth for fifteen or fifty-two years it’s likely that you’ve experienced some form of gain, loss, joy, sadness, love, pain, success or defeat. And there’s a high probability that you weathered each and every storm and eventually found a ray (or two) of sunlight after the clouds cleared. Yet, there are some who might dispute this and claim to never have found the sun; were never able to recover from a death, childhood trauma, a breakup or divorce or life-altering affliction.
To borrow a phrase from Miss Oprah Winfrey, “What I know is this…”
Chuck nailed it! It’s not WHAT happens to you that determines your fate, it’s HOW you deal with it that creates the life you have. It may not always feel like it at the time, but doesn’t everything always seem to work out—in the end. The emotional label you choose to slap on any experience is always up to you. You then get to decide how long you’ll choose to feel that way. Your feelings create your beliefs and your beliefs create your story aka: your life. Funny how it works! Bottom line, no one else makes us feel a particular way; we decide on our own. Perspective is a choice.
Take death, for example. My father died at the young age of forty-five. He was one of the earlier cases of AIDS in the 80’s and watching him slip away in four short months felt very confusing, gut-wrenching and awful. Sure, I had questions and experienced all the typical emotions that accompany such an event. I could choose to feel hurt and betrayed and angry and place blame and, ultimately, all those emotions would do is leave me bitter and sad and stuck. Instead I chose to feel grateful. To this day, I am grateful that I am and forever will be Phil Hiatt’s daughter. I was given the gift of an amazing father for twenty years. Some people never know their dad. His being gay also taught me some major life-changing lessons—to judge less and love more, to always live my truth and never hide, to encourage others to do the same and to appreciate the simple things in life, like holding someones hand or the joy of owning a really fantastic pair of shoes. 😉
Sure, death is a biggy. What about seemingly smaller situations, like finances and the feelings we assign to how much of it or how little we have and why that is. How many people utter the phrase, “If only I was rich—then I’d be happy.” Over the years I’ve experienced times o’ plenty and periods where Top Ramen was a delicacy. Through the tough times, it became clear that I had a choice—feel like a failure and wallow in self pity or stand up, say thank you, put my creative hat on and work hard to change the situation that, more than likely, I had put myself in. HINT: finally learned that self pity equals stuck and any time spent there is wasted.
Today, one of my Superfriends finds it painfully necessary to say goodbye to one of the greatest loves of her life. For the past twelve years her dog Scout has been her mostly companion, trusted friend and protector. They’ve spent hundreds of hours in pediatric wards helping sick children feel better and contributed time, energy and furry kisses to the homeless and hopeless. This day will test her patience, her faith and her resilience. Saying goodbye has got to be one of, if not the hardest, life experiences I can think of. I know she’ll weather this storm and in a very short time, bask in the warm rays that will peak through the clouds to remind her of their walks together around the park, their summer family retreats in Mammoth and the warm smiles that Scout brought out in everyone who ever met him.
Maybe you’re feeling sad or afraid or just stuck today. Consider a new mantra, a fresh perspective and an attitude of gratitude, no matter the circumstances. It may sound PollyAnna or naive, but trust me when I tell you, this shit works. You have the power and control to decide your fate and choose how you want to feel, react or adapt.
Perspective really is everything!
How is it showing up in your life? Half full or half empty?
Stay sane, my friends,