How do you Overcome Defeat

A friend of mine recently said to me, “Boy, you guys just don’t get a break!“. She referred to the stressors my spouse and I have been managing almost steadily for the past three years. I could choose to agree with her but the truth is:

I never, ever think that way. EVER.

Everyday, ordinary life can feel hard. There’s the big stuff like fatal disease, bankruptcy, eldercare, divorce, etc. Then, there are the little inconveniences that show up in the average day like a flat tire, viruses, losing your cell phone, running late. These things happen all the time, in some form or another.

Now, of course, when it’s all happening at the same time, well, then, life feels like one big asshole that you want to flip the bird to.

The last three years of my life, have been a mix of the little inconveniences life throws your way and the big stuff. It’s been enough to make anyone feel defeated.

And while the events have worn me down and tired me out at times, at the core of my being, I genuinely, wholeheartedly believe:

Life is beautiful.

In fact, during one of my episodes of great despair (7 years ago when the responsibility of caring for my dad suddenly landed squarely on my shoulders – AND I learned at that time that he was an alcoholic, dying of cirrhosis with only 6 months to live AND I was a new mom with a 1 year old), I began my daily gratitude practice.

Did you catch that?

During the darkest time of my life, I began a ritual of giving thanks.

Who does that? Well, apparently, I do. Not as a gimmick or one time event. For me, “seeing the good” is a lifestyle, an attitude, a practice, a way of experiencing the world.

I seem to naturally exercise the ability to “see the good” even in the darkest moments of my life. It’s almost scary to write that as I fear I will jinx myself right now into some horror event. God forbid. (Knock wood with me please.)

My point is this: Life is hard. Do not ask for it to be easier or you will be sadly disappointed. Do not personalize the events as happening to you. Life is not an asshole disrupting YOUR journey.

Life is the journey.

How you move through life determines the quality of everything that you experience. How you think about it impacts how you feel. How you feel impacts how you act.

The question to ask yourself is not “Why” as in “Why is this happening? (to me, right now, to my family). Instead, focus on “how“.  Ask yourself, “How am I going to… handle this, show up, think, act? 

If I believed, “Life doesn’t give me a break”, I would live in a state of suffering and defeat. Instead, I believe that, life, in it’s complexity, is beautiful. Hard, painful, challenging but always ultimately, beautiful.

Hope trumps defeat.

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