“You don’t have a right to the cards you think you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.” -Cheryl Strayed
Have you ever thought…
“I wish I had her hair.”
“I wish I had his job.”
“I wish I hadn’t gotten into that accident.”
“Why don’t things come easier to me?”
“Why do bad things always seem to happen to me?”
“Why don’t I have more friends?
From time to time, you may wish for things you don’t have and compare your life to the lives of others.
You may ask God or the universe why something happened, trying to understand, but never getting a clear answer and instead end up dwelling on it.
In doing so, you get stuck in a negative story, one that highlights what you lack instead of what you have and what you wish for instead of what is.
The more you feed the fire, the more entrenched in that story you become.
You may never understand why you were dealt a certain hand in life, but you can find a way to connect with your story and to make it one you are proud of.
Rumination only leads to bitterness.
If you’re honest with yourself, when has rumination ever really made you feel better?
By and large, it never does. Dwelling on something upsetting will not draw out the positive. Rather it will highlight the negative and increase your stress. In many cases, it even results in depression or anxiety.
You may ruminate because you think it will help you draw out more insight into what happened or explain why your life is a certain way, hoping this will help you to push past it or accept it.
Most of the time, though, this doesn’t give you more clarity or make you feel any better. You only end up feeling more frustrated with your life or convincing yourself that you should have done something differently.
Ask “what now” instead of “why?”
In a lot of cases, you simply won’t understand why something happened to you or why you were dealt a certain hand.
But trying to figure out the “why” will only hold you back and keep you from considering “what now?”
You can’t change your past or where you are at in life right now, but you can change your future… You have the power to determine the next step.
Decide what kind of story you want to tell.
Do you want your life story to be one of loss, regret, or bitterness?
Or do you want a your story of be one hope, resilience, and triumph?
This choice is literally in your hands.
Your past is part of your story, but it doesn’t require you to continue to live in it. Your job is to take the hand you were dealt and shape your story however you want.
Be curious about yourself and others.
It may seem daunting to write a new story – one of resilience – but curiosity can help.
When you’re curious, you’re more open to the risk that comes with taking on challenges. Those who embrace uncertainty are less likely to feel overwhelmed by anxiety and are more like to choose a path of personal growth.
When you look at life through a lens of curiosity, you see life as more a journey, not as a straight path that leads directly (and only) to happiness.
Be compassionate with yourself.
Look at yourself with compassion, not judgment. Open your eyes to your personal strengths instead of beating yourself for your shortcomings.
No one has the perfect life, and it’s natural to compare yourself to others. But no good comes from comparison; it won’t make you feel better, only worse.
Choose your path wisely. It’s uniquely yours, and makes you who you are.