When Bad Things Happen

Unfortunately, some people are not able to break free of difficult memories.

Posted Oct 10, 2018

My first mentor, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, once said, “The most beautiful people I've known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” I’ve experienced this myself and have seen many people build better lives after a trauma or tragedy. Difficulty can make you stronger, but it takes some work to get there.

Most of us would like to forget the major trials of our lives, but if really good times come before or after the bad times, we may find it easier to focus on the positive. Anyone who has spent time in darkness will enjoy the warm glow of a little joy, perhaps even a little bit more than they would have if they had never experienced what life is like without it. 

Unfortunately, some people are not able to break free of difficult memories that bind them to the bad times. If this is you, please remember that time is an emotional healer, and making good choices in your life can be an even stronger one. You can choose to see the good in your life, and doing this really will help you feel better. It may not happen right away, but if you string together the minutes of feeling better until they become an hour, and then eventually a day, over time you really will improve. 

“Life is difficult,” is the first line of Dr. M. Scott Peck’s groundbreaking book, The Road Less Traveled. It took the book nearly a decade to become a bestseller, perhaps because of those opening words. No one wants to think that life is difficult. The truth is that life is difficult at times, but it’s not difficult all the time. And even in the worst of circumstances, many people can find something to enjoy when they get a moment of peace. Perhaps the peaceful moment itself is where that joy lives.

Being at war with yourself and with life can be exhausting. You have to create a way to get through the ordeals and find a way to take in some quiet time. When your brain, body, and being are quivering from one of life’s cold slaps in the face, you can’t just lie there and take it. You need to take action. Taking almost any action is better than taking no action: it can be as simple as forcing yourself to count your blessings. Just being alive and functioning has got to be one of them.

If you’re stuck inside your own head and can’t seem to break free, watch The Theory of Everything. Stephen Hawking had every reason to feel sorry for himself and not outlive his diagnosis by 50 years, but he was just too smart to let that happen. So, if you are not in an iron lung, I suspect you have a tool or two you can use to change your mind about your circumstance. Bad things happen, but you don’t have to let them ruin or run your life.