Turning Tragedy Into Triumph: How To Live Your Best Life Amid Turmoil

It’s 1pm and my house is completely quiet right now, which is unusual since the kids are on Christmas break. They are sound asleep because we allowed them to stay up until 5 o’clock this morning  (a luxury only given during prolonged school breaks). Even our pet Guinea pig, Sasha, is quietly nestled under her pink, plastic hut. Meanwhile, I’m comfortably sitting on my sofa enjoying the sweet smell of pomegranate oil and the soothing, soft glow from my candles. 

The reason for this rare, joyous occasion is our internet is down due to the extreme cold in my area. I am literally forced to become disconnected from the world. I am left to come up with other ways to entertain myself or keep myself busy. I now realize how dependent I’ve become on the internet. It makes me feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I’ve been able to get back to doing things I used to love, like handwriting this blog post or reading a paperback book. It forgot the wonderful scent of stale paper from a paperback book, especially a classic. Sad feeling because I am a little ashamed of how I’ve allowed the world to influence so much of my life. It would explain a lot actually.

This time of reflection has gifted me with the ability to share with you guys ways we can turn our tragedies into triumphs. I’ve discussed before ways that you can look at the bright side of any situation, but this is more specific. I used to ask myself, when will this all end? When will the suffering stop? I’ve come to the conclusion that it will never stop. There will always be pain. There will always be suffering. The only action that you can control is how you react to unfortunate circumstances that may occur in your life.

I figure the best way to live your best life during tragedies is to turn them into triumphs. Imagine dancing in the rain during the worst storm of your life. This is turning tragedy into triumph and here is how you can.

  • Embrace Your Journey: Sometimes, the things we want to hurt the most. When going through a traumatic moment in life, we tend to feel sorry for ourselves. It’s normal. Our brains are just trying to make sense of it all, but you have to know that your journey is NOT your destination. Example: Let’s say you have a goal of climbing Mount Everest. There is so much training and preparation that one would have to achieve in order to make it to the top; condition training, physical and mental training, planning the route, knowing the terrain and weather condition, etc. It is a lot of hard work. A mountain climber wouldn’t complain about the journey he/she has to take to make it. They just do it. They know that once they make it to the top and look down at the world, the journey was well worth it.
  • Acknowledge that what you are going through will not last forever: Everyday that we wake up, we have a choice to fight depression, anxiety, heartache, loss, illness, etc. Making that choice will lead you to your desired destination. I’m sure we’ve all heard that saying, “The best part about hitting rock bottom is the only destination from there is up.”
  • Look forward to the future: Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING last forever (well maybe McDonald’s french fries and roaches). What you are going through will not last forever. Imagine how it’s going to feel when you finally reach the top of your mountain. I’ve learned to always look up at my destination and NEVER look down at my past. Looking up only gives you the motivation to continue the climb to the top.
  • It is ok to NOT understand: There are things you may not understand about your journey until you have endured it, suffered through it, cried through it, made mistakes in it, had setbacks in it, almost collapse in it, almost ran from it, etc. Experience has a way of making us stronger and more resilient. So, if ever you were to experience tragedy again, you are better equipped to deal with it. If you are reading this, you are stronger than you were yesterday. You chose to get up and do something. I’m proud of you!
  • Tribulation will teach you patience: The worse part of my journey is being patient. I know great things are ahead. I know that my circumstances will get better, but I am the kind of person that has always lacked patience. This journey is teaching me that all great things come to those who are patient enough to push through. I like to read inspirational stories about people who never gave up because if they can be strong, then I know I can as well.
  • Embrace your experiences: Experiences are important because the experience will give you hope and if you have hope, you have access to the universe. There will be times when you feel like you will never move past your circumstances, but if you continue on your journey and don’t give up, it will get better. Your circumstances will change. When you have experience, you will no longer endure being drug into moments of hopelessness and despair. You’ll know through experience that God has your back and will bring you out of it, as He has done so many times before.
  • Acknowledge the darkness only to conquer it: There is a darkness lingering around humanity. Negative energy is so powerful because it is easy to give into our dark desires; drugs, alcohol, hate, fear, anxiety. If we acknowledge the presence of negative energy, then we are able to fight it, not sit in it. Example: If you are aware that you have diabetes and still choose to eat sweets, then you are giving in to the desire of the disease, hence becoming sick. If you are aware that you have diabetes and you choose to eat right and take the proper medications, then you will feel better.
  • Stand strong in the fire: The fighting process gives you the drive and commitment to stand the pressure. The most dangerous thing is achieving a goal that you didn’t deserve because the process prepares us for the power that you need to stand your ground and never let it go. When you fight for what you want, you won’t let anyone take it from you.
  • Believe in Gods promise for you: Your enemies want you to be stuck in a situation that is beneath the promise God has in store for you. Your enemies do not want you to succeed, but God’s greatest presence is when all hell is breaking loose. I am living breathing walking proof of this fact. Click the link to read how God appeared to me while I was having thoughts of suicide and self-loathing here, Letting Go, Letting God. God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. He also promises that we will live eternally through Jesus’ name. That all of our worries will be accounted for and dismissed. Believe that your life is not meant to stay in turmoil, but yet it’s meant for all things great and wonderful. “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” -Psalm 62:8

Tragedies are hard to get through, especially when the “light at the end of the tunnel” seems so far away. No matter what anyone says, you can turn your tragedies into spectacular wonders and blunders to tell future generations. Allow your journey to be a life lesson for yourself and for other people. Remember, great warriors always have the best stories to tell.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”-Albert Camus

 

Unapologetically Living Life

What does living your best life look like? Sometimes we have the tendency to live our lives for other people and feel like we have to apologize or be sorry for when we finally decide to live for ourselves and do what is best for us.

We shouldn’t have to apologize for living our best lives. We shouldn’t have to apologize for doing what needs to be done to make sure we, ourselves are happy.

Below is a list of actions that you should NEVER apologize for:

BEING YOURSELF!

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It takes courage to follow your dreams and not someone else’s. You may be in a situation where someone is making you feel like you have to live the life that they want you to live.

For example, I would love for my son to become an architect. He is so talented and smart. Instead, he wants to become a comic book illustrator. I want my son to live his best life, so I have to support what he wants to do with it. I want him to be himself and never apologize for it. 

Since tomorrow is not promised, be your best self today. You were born for a reason. You were born to shine. Shine bright baby, shine brighter than anyone ever expected you to shine. Blind the haters with your rays of awesomeness.

FOLLOWING YOUR GOALS

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Everyone has goals and aspirations. Follow yours! Do not mind the nay-sayers and haters. You will succeed because it is something that you want for yourself.

Remember, anything worth having is worth fighting for and your dreams are worth fighting for. So, suit up and get prepared. It may be bumpy, it may be challenging, but you can do it. You only get one life. If you woke up this morning, you’ve already accomplished more than so many other people. You are here, you are worthy, you are destined to be great. 

FINDING YOUR INNER PEACE

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I used to let people disturb my peace, but not anymore. Do you know anyone who has the ability to disturb your peace? I’ve decided that everyone that is known for gossiping or drama has been blocked from my phone. Why? I need my PEACE! I need to be able to go through the day without hearing the tragic news that one of these toxic people has caused for themselves.

At first, I felt bad for ignoring them. Then I had to realize that-that heavy, negative feeling that I would have when I hung up the phone was not worth it anymore.

You can’t expect people to change, you can only change how you allow people to make you feel. If you have to chuck up the deuces to get some peace, by all means, do it without apology. This is beneficial to you and you only.

TRUSTING YOUR GUT

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My gut has saved my life 8/10 times. I trust my instincts for almost everything because I feel like it’s the Holy Spirit guiding me.

If you feel like something is right, then go for it. Your feelings are your feelings and they are important. Your feelings should never be a sacrifice for someone who may or may not agree with your life choices. Learn to trust yourself and your needs and wants.

There will be a time where you would have to make a  life-changing decision. It will be easier to make that decision if you trusted yourself and your ability to do what is right for you and/or family.

BELIEVING IN A HIGHER POWER

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I love Jesus! I am a Christian. Nowadays, society will try to make you feel like loving Jesus is a bad thing. Some would argue that I am brainwashed by the church to give away all of my money, but those non-believers do not understand the relationship that I have with God has nothing to do with the church I attend or how much money I may choose to offer.

My relationship with God is 100% about my salvation and selfishly, help with getting through my life’s challenges, but I will address that in a later post.

We should all respect each other’s choices on how we decide to make life work for us. If you are Buddist, great! If you believe in the energy of the universe, awesome! If you don’t believe in anything at all, that is your choice. I will never judge you for your beliefs, just as I ask you not to judge me for mine.

My faith teaches me, that everyone will eventually learn about the grace that God has to offer, and I feel when He is ready to move in your life, that will be between you and Him. I will still love you as He instructs and I will support any endeavor you may want to follow.

Never apologize for having faith in something. If you think the lampshade answers your prayers, then by all means, pray to the lampshade. If that is what gives you the courage to wake up everyday to fight the good fight, then do it. Do you!

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Now, this list also applies to the a**holes. I say this with humor and all seriousness. I know someone who is an a**hole. They will say anything that comes to mind and not cares about someone feelings. If you are like this, you can still apply this to your life. Just know, you have to respect if someone chooses not to deal with you because of your a**holeness or if I choose to hit that good ole block button. It’s honestly my favorite feature on my iPhone, so don’t bring me any drama! 

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the essence of beauty.” -Dr. Martin Maraboli

*Photos owned by Google*

Changing your Mindset; Becoming More Mindful

Imagine, for weeks at a time, you are unable to sleep, eat, or even function. Your mind is so heavy and so clouded, that you are unable to see the wonderful things in your life. Some time has passed and now you are able to see the beauty in things that you weren’t able to before. Spiritually, you feel hopeful and that every challenge is just one step closer to becoming who God wants you to be. Well, this is definitely me! I struggle with depression, but instead of seeing the glass half empty, I embrace the knowledge that every glass is half full. All because of I am learning about managing my stress and mindfulness, which is, “a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

What is Depression? A lot of people have a misconception of what depression is and how it can develop a life of its own. There are two main types of depression that you may be experiencing; reactive depression and clinical depression.

Reactive Depression

  • Medications, such as steroids, are known to make you more emotional and prone to depression.
  • Common in people with Lupus
  • Since Lupus directly involves our nervous system, it causes such symptoms like memory issues, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and mood swings.
  • Overall, sickness can cause more sickness

Symptoms of Clinical Depression

  • Feeling like a failure and that nobody loves you
  • Feelings of hopeless, empty, or lost
  • Losing interest in things you once enjoyed to do
  • Feeling like life is worthless and that you can’t go on

If you have Lupus or any other auto-immune disorder, you may be experiencing one of these or both. Personally, I’ve struggled with depression way before I was diagnosed with Lupus. Depression is a lifelong struggle for me. It is something that I’ve had to come to grips with and accept. It’s like any other illness, such as Lupus, that I have to manage, most times on a daily basis. Giving up is not an option and money is extremely tight, so I’ve had to research free ways to become healthier; meditation, maintain a healthy diet (which is hard!), prayer, and mindfulness.

I am mindful of my condition in this present moment while acknowledging my feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. I have Lupus, there I said it. But, Lupus doesn’t have me! I have accepted that stress is apart of everyday life. It’s how I choose to deal with stress that determines how I feel overall. Chronic stress is like kryptonite to lupus warriors. It makes our flare up so much more difficult. So we have to reduce our stress.

Ways I’m Learning To Reduce Stress

  • Eliminate triggers- I’ve had to think long and hard about what and who stresses me out. Example, Facebook stresses me out. The only thing that I get when I walk away from scrolling down my timeliness is stress, worry, anger, and frustration. So, I deactivated my profile. Right now, I am unable to separate those feelings. When I close the app, I still have the world’s destruction and everyone’s opinion about it, on my mind. It is so unhealthy.  
  • Exercise
    • You don’t have to exercise, exactly. You can do yoga, walk around the block, or simply walk to the mailbox. There are days that we can’t or won’t move due to pain, but being proactive helps you feel better, more accomplished.
    • You can do this 2-3 times a week. Pace yourself and know your limits.
  • Eat Healthier Foods
    • For lupus warriors, it would be best if we ate more anti-inflammatory foods.
    • Foods That Fight Inflammation
    • Avoid foods that worsen inflammation, such as, soda, pastries, margarine, lard, white bread, and red meat.
  • Mindfulness Meditation
    • Mindfulness Meditation is all about directing your attention to the current moment and accepting that things are the way that they are. In regards to lupus warriors, we have to accept that this is what we are dealing with and calmly regain a sense of control over our lives and this disease.
    • Make time to meditate, even if for a few minutes, every day.
    • Find a quiet space
    • Sit up straight with your legs and upper body relaxed. Good posture helps you breath easier.
    • Be aware of each body part, and try to become completely relaxed.
    • Focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose (extending your belly outwards) and slowly out through your mouth.
    • Start in slow increments; meditate for 5 minutes and increase daily or weekly.
    • Personally, I like to have mediation music playing in the background to help me focus.
    • How to Guide to Mindful Meditation

Being a lupus warrior is exactly that, I am a warrior. I fight battles every day. Some caused by everyday life and some caused this illness. There are some circumstances that I am unable to change, but how I choose to deal with them is half the battle.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from any of the symptoms above, please talk to somebody about them and/or your doctor. Depression is life-altering and should be taken seriously. Be your own advocate. You simply may be dealing with receptive depression, but there is a fine line between that and clinical depression. Also, here is a Stress Test that helps you determine how stressed you are. There are others like it online.

   “In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.” ~Victoria Moran

Resources
Dr. Therese Tryniecki, Phd
Lupus Foundation of America Heartland Chapter
Suzette B's Blog

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