I want to share some lessons I have learned in the roller coaster ride that is my life.
I have a strong belief that life is like a school room and there are always lessons to be learned, even if they are ones you don’t particularly like, and even if they are hard to swallow, there is always something good to find so start looking….
- I have learned that unless you love and care for yourself in the same way as you love and care for your treasured family members and close friends, sooner or later you face the consequences of neglecting your mental and physical health. Some of those consequences might scare the heck out of you, or they might be a bit of a nudge, however my advice is to listen up! You must learn to put your self-care on top of your ‘to do’ list, stop putting it off, as it is as important as breathing.
- No-one else can possibly understand the challenges you face in your life with your AS spouse or family member, unless they live a similar space. So stop expecting others to understand. Some will empathise and try to understand and offer support, these people are gold, so take any support that is offered. In my view it is important to develop your own way of living your life, which honours who you are, and is right for you, rather conforming to society’s view of how family life ‘should’ be.
- Not everyone will like you. In fact there may be people who judge you harshly , who deliberately say unfair and unjust things about you based on their perceptions. Not everyone will agree with you, and they may dislike what you stand for, and what you are trying to do. That is not your problem, it is theirs. Do not take responsibility for other people’s perceptions of you or your work. If you are truly coming from honesty , integrity and passion I believe that is what matters.
- Trust yourself and your ‘knowing’. That little niggle inside you deserves to be listened to. It is telling you something, and you need to listen! Other people can try to tell you what you ‘should’ do, and sometimes you may need added info to make your decision, however only you know what is truly right for you. Start by learning to listen ! The times I have ignored my own ‘knowing’ it has come back to bite me, sometimes quite graphically!
- Life can change in an instant. I know it is an old cliché, however it is true! Just when you think you have your life sorted, it can change, so learn to be flexible and fluid. Roll with it, and breathe!
- My last and in my opinion the most important lesson, sounds too simple to be true, however here it is…If it seems like everything is going wrong, and you can’t see a solution: Breathe! yes simple but effective. Take at least 3 or 4 deep ‘belly breaths’. This will calm you, and give you more oxygen to help you think clearly. Most of us do not use our full lung capacity, and particularly when stressed, tend to take lots of shallow breaths in and out through the mouth, which sends the wrong messages (panic) to our brain.
My belief is that in this life, there are always going to be ‘toughie’s’ – times when you feel like you don’t know whether you are coming or going. Bit like our roller coaster – to me, it is about learning ways to deal with them, in a helpful way, that will keep you moving in the right direction!
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