Confronting Transitions

“The more things change, they more they stay the same.” So said French author, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr over a hundred and thirty years ago. That oft used phrase has never been truer than right now.

            Change is a part of every life. Some of those changes are positive ones that change lives forever, such as, a marriage or the birth of a child. Yet, many more of life’s transitional moments can be just as life changing but not always in a positive way. The list of those moments is much longer. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job or career, divorce, discharge from a military commitment are just a few. In these days of pandemic, we have discovered all new ways of having our lives disrupted.

Not all of these life changes lead to extreme negatives. Take the example of losing your job. For some, your job becomes your identity and the loss of that job could become the beginning of a deep spiral into the depths of despair. But consider those that lose a job that are forced to reconsider their life plan and, in the process, find a new career that ends up being more satisfying than the first.  Then there is the person that is left behind by someone they never thought they could replace, only to find someone new that offers new meaning to the word “love.”

            I must admit, I have personally experienced both of those examples and I will also admit to battling against despair in both cases. We all know people who allowed despair into their being and never found a way to let it go. It becomes like a never-ending drop in which each new level of self-doubt leads to failure and an even greater level of self-doubt. On and on it goes. It’s like an alcoholic that’s drinks because he feels bad, then feels bad because he drank then drinks again to stop each intense level of negativity. It is why alcoholism is called a feelings disease.

            There is no magic pill or liquid or powder that makes all those feelings disappear. I have written in other blogs that the ability to take one’s eyes off of one’s self is an acquired skill. It means taking your eyes off of your immediate problem and focusing them either on fixing the problem, or on the eyes of your loved ones that depend on you to provide for them. There was a five-year period of my life where I lived in seven different addresses, lost two jobs and quit two jobs. I was at a point in my mid-thirties where I had no idea what to do next, how I would provide for my family. The pool of despair was calling to me, wanting my undivided attention and almost gaining it. What stopped me was looking into the eyes of my three young children and vowing never to be the image of a man that gave up. Within three months, I was hired to the job that I would retire from twenty-two years later. My life was my own but my children were my why.

            What’s your why? What is it that gives you the motivation to never give up? Find it and never let it go. The negatives in your life will never end. The trick, if it can be called that, is not to focus on the rear-view mirror in your life but on the windshield, not on where you have been but to the amazing locations you have yet to find. Be persistent, for there is nothing more valuable to your success than not allowing failure to control you. Failure is an occurrence; success is a choice. Make the choice and despair will be put in its place. As hard as it is to accept, no one is to blame for where you are, no one but you. Blame others and you are helpless. Accept the blame and you remain in total control of your life and the have the power to fix what went wrong. Choose wisely. Choose success!

© Copyright 2017 Gary Friedman Books

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