People will often ask me how I remain so positive during my most challenging times. The truth is I have bad days, but they are far and few between. Currently, those bad days may have nothing to do with my children or my life, but have everything to do with Menopause. That’s another blog for another day.
In the personal development industry, I believe that people don’t often share their challenging times. Truthfully, I wondered if some of my mentors ever had bad days. Only on rare occasions did I ever hear about Dr. Wayne Dyer or Tony Robbins having struggles. I was relieved to hear that they were not perfect! They were both divorced and had struggles like the rest of us. This was good news to me because their perceived perfection put more pressure on me to be perfect than I realized.
One scenario I remember clearly is the morning Dr. Van Arsdell (A.K.A God) had us sign all the paperwork for our daughter’s open heart surgery at the tender age of 13 days old. That morning, we had to sign papers that told us the odds of her dying and contracting diseases such as HIV (all in a day’s work)! I remember how calm both my husband and I were. It was like I was in a different world and it was not denial. I was very much present in the moment. Randy and I even commented on how calm we were.
Off she went to surgery and almost 6 hours later, she made it through. During those 6 hours, I watched other families cry, stress out and pace the waiting room floor, all normal reactions. I wondered why I was not doing the same. I read magazines, prayed, slept, ate, got a lot of work done and even laughed with my husband.
This past summer I spent 3 months in hospital with my daughter for episodes that almost saw her die several times over a period of weeks. There were times when I was confined to the same room with my daughter for 24 hours because there were no volunteers. Treva was frustrated, tired of medical procedures and suffered from severe anxiety – the massive bruises on my arms told her story of anxiety and frustration quite clearly. I watched children die on the ward. There were nights when crying children kept us awake. I really felt like this was what jail was like. These were not good times. However, I had more positive days than I did bad ones.
How is this possible?
- I allowed the bad days to happen. I surrendered to them. I have learned to share them more openly and not feel fearful that this would seem I am not positive. It was a close friend who reminded me not to feel guilty for having a rough day. I am still a work in progress around this, to be honest.
- I focused on gratitude. When I did get relieved for that one coffee a day, I was ecstatic. When I got my first shower in 4 days, it was a beautiful thing! When we got moved to a private corner room, I pretended I was at the Hilton.
- I learned to ask myself “what do I have control over?” I was very upset that my whole summer was slipping away. Being a sun lover and beach girl, I enjoy the summer the most. So when a volunteer did come by, I took a 30-minute break, found a rooftop play yard and bathed in the sun. One way or another I would find the sun! Yes, I put myself first for a short period of time.
- I changed my thinking. I had 24 hours a day to get things accomplished and really connect with my daughter. There were no outside influences, no laundry, no meal prep and no travel. I started writing a book, prepping for my business and I became calmer than I ever was.
- I continued with life. We went to my son’s graduation ceremony and hosted a party for him. I even went away for 3 days on a mini vacation up north (don’t judge me)! I took one Saturday off and hosted my annual girls’ deck party with no mother guilt. That’s right, no guilt.
- I had the support of friends and family and my faith. I never considered myself alone, even on my darkest days.
- I put my intentions out there. For some of you, this is your belief in God or the universe. I gave the doctors a target date that we would be coming home because I didn’t want our family to miss our summer vacation at the cottage. Guess what? We got released one week before our planned vacation.
P.S. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I believe firmly in my own personal motto that for every negative you should try to come up with two positives. This is not always an easy task. This week, I challenge you to try to replace every negative thought with two positive ones. Do this and report back to me on social media to let me know if it helped. Try it, you might just like it!