How does one encourage themselves to move forward after loss or trauma? How does one move forward after failure or disappointment? I guess if I knew those answers I could help encourage many others. Life can often be hard but our natural desires is to bounce back. Even though it’s easier said than done, you must find your way.
For me, I guess some might say I try to live in a too good to be true reality. And maybe I do. Since I was a very young child I was told about “Pollyanna” -you know the old Hayley Mills movie. Pollyanna believed life’s most challenging problems could always be solved with a positive approach. You know, the “glass is half full, not half empty.” Not very scientific but it often worked for me as a child.
As I grew up and had to deal with adult issues, my Pollyanna plan was not quite as successful. Fortunately, however, I did carry with me the thought “things could have been worse.” I adopted the idea of evaluating the situation first before crying or panicking. Most often found gratitude that the situation was not worse was my best solution.
Now I hear someone saying “but what about real painful situations or loss?” Yes, I agree neither the Pollyanna method or the glass half full help much in those times. I watched my sweet sister battle breast cancer so bravely but she still passed in front of me. Before I could begin to find anything encouraging, I simply cried for days and thought of all the memories we would never make. After a week of so of not answering phone calls and watching endless Hallmark movies which produced more tears, I realized I had to stop it. It occurred to me that I was given a gift that my sister did not receive— another day of life. I realized she would have given anything for another day, another week.
Finally, I realized I needed to live and enjoy life, which is what she would have wanted for both of us. Sure, a song that would remind me of her or a sweet memory could bring a tear or even a smile at times, but I COULD NOT waste the opportunity of life she fought so hard to keep.
Another thing that has been helpful for me is setting goals, sometimes in desperate times it might only be “keep putting one foot in front of the other” but having something to strive for and succeeding, no matter how small, brings encouragement.
In the end, we are all motivated in different ways. Find your way. If you can’t embrace Pollyanna or a half full glass, maybe when you fail at something a big box of chocolate might be the very encouragement you need!
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