When life gets challenging, we sometimes fall into depression or anxiety with negative self-talk about our ability to cope with what life has thrown our way.  There are so many difficult life circumstances that we experience from global fears, like our pandemic or climate change, to personal life challenges like job loss, death of a loved one, house fires, or illness.  So many stressful events come our way during our life span and many of us feel isolated by them as our culture discourages talking about vulnerable feelings related to arduous life experiences. We may find ourselves focusing on the effort and how it impacts us, how it makes us anxious or brings us down, rather than looking for the positives.

            Upsides? You ask.  What upsides?  Well, the fact that you are doing it for one thing.  You may be putting forth a hellacious effort to get through this.  You may be crying, screaming, or isolating.  You may be getting headaches, backaches, sick to your stomach, or any number of physical complaints as your stress settles in your body.  Each day you get up in the morning and each night you go to bed and sleep.  Each of these days is an accomplishment and gives you evidence that YOU GOT THIS, that you did it, that you can do it, that you are doing it, and that you will do it.  The key is to attend to what you are managing and not how complicated it is.

            You can tune in to your accomplishments, whatever you DID manage to do related to this grueling thing you’re trudging through.  If you focus on these things, you may be surprised at how rigorously you accomplish things.  Even small things can be a big deal, particularly when life gets nefarious.  And life can get pretty darned demanding at times.

            Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the most formidable events that we have to work through were chosen by us before we were born.  If we can sit still, relax, and meditate, we might develop some insight as to what this experience could be teaching us. We can try to remember that the only thing making it negative is our judgment of it as being nefarious.  If we can take the disagreeable aspect away and attempt to look at it as neutral or objective, we might find it less heavy, and more tolerable.

            I’ll offer up an example of the death of my son.  Most people would agree that there is nothing more painful than the death of a child.  It can be complicated and heart-shattering.  Yet, if I can expand my mind and open my heart, I might find the positive aspects.  When my birthday came around recently, my deceased son pointed out to me that my true birth day will be the day my body dies.  His birth day was two days after the day I think of as his birthday.  In the process of his body dying and me having to live my life without his physical presence, I have become much more spiritual, even psychic at times.  Surely, I’d rather have him here physically, but I likely wouldn’t have connected so well with the spirit world if he were still here.  From that perspective, his death was a gift.  It hurts and makes me cry on a regular basis, but I cannot deny what it taught me.