Kathryn Sandford Online

7 Strategies To Help You Overcome The Painful Times In Your Life

"Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilised by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself" Walter Anderson

Losing someone you love whether it be through death, a relationship break up, or a miscarriage can be a painful and challenging life experience. Losing someone is a  life challenge that happens to all of us and for some of us, it happens more than once in our lives.

The loss of my parents was a life test that threw my world into chaos and pain.

"In school you are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you are given a test that teaches you a lesson" Malcolm X

I love the quote from Malcolm X as he explains so well how we are taught our lessons of life - we have to be tested to learn the lesson. Losing someone you love is a test of life and you have no control over the tests or challenges that life throws at you - what you do have however is the power to control your response to these life challenges.

Here are 7 valuable things that I learnt as a result of me losing people in my life who I have loved deeply.  I would like to share these learnings with you to encourage you, to live your life to the fullest, to chase your dreams, to deal with the curveballs that life throws at you, to seize the moment and to treasure the gifts of life, love and laughter.

  1. Live Your Life to the Fullest As It Can Change In A Blink Of An Eye

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable”. Helen Keller

My life changed in a blink of an eye when parents died within 3 days of each other. It was an overwhelming realisation for me of just how precious life is.  How important it is to live in the moment, to be present and not to wish away your life. If you have a dream but you are too scared to go for it –don’t wait for the right time, as it never is the right time, just do it. Find a way and go for it becuase your life can change in a blink of an eye.

My priorities also changed and I realised that I needed to get clear about what was important and who were important in my life.  For me it was my family and my friends who were most important in my life. Also following my dream, to be a writer, speaker and coach became the most important thing for me to do in my life. I knew that I had to follow my dream because I didn't want to look back at my life when I was 70 and think I wish I had given it a go. Life is too short to have regrets! Embrace life, take the time to make memories and cherish the moments you spend with the people you love. Get your priorities sorted and know what is important to you.

  1. Appreciate And Show Gratitude As People Matter More Than Anything 

"Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance” Eckhart Tolle

The people you surround yourself with - your family and friends is your treasure chest. They are more important than all the money, the power or fame, the cars, the houses, the boats, or the overseas holidays you may have. All these material things you gather, your fortune and your power are easy to get and easy to lose. If you lose your money, you go make more, if you don't like one house you go buy another and on it goes. The people in your life who love and support you, once you lose them you cant get them back.

Always show your love and appreciate those you love in your life. Remember that the people you touch with your appreciation and gratitude will bring great joy and enrichment to your life. Whether it is your family, friends, your business colleagues or your work mates always let them know that you appreciate them being a part of your life.

Don't be afraid to show your love and affection to people. Take the time to make the phone call to a friend you haven't seen in ages. Don't get carried away with your busy life. Make the time to nurture and grow your relationships. I realised this lesson very early on in my journey. I could not have survived the loss of my parents without my family and my friends. I also knew that there was no way money, fame or fortune would help me heal.

  1. Healing Is A Process - don't rush it!

And so I wait. I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to me feet once again - so that I can start a new path, my own path, the one that will make me whole again.” ― Jan Canfield

Loss hurts and the pain and heartache we feel is real.  We may feel anger at being left by the person we love, we may feel despair and fearful about out future. You need to go through the process and feel your grief. Accept that it takes time and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can bury the pain deep within you but I guarantee the pain and all those feeling associated with the pain will rise and erupt back into your life.

Following my dream to be a writer, speaker and coach didn't happen over night. It took me 5 years just to take the plunge because that was when I was ready to. I can't say that I will ever be healed from the loss of my parents - in fact I don't believe you can ever be healed but what I do know, is that there is a process where the pain turns to a dull ache, to sad memories where you cry and then you have sad, happy memories where you smile briefly. Be kind to yourself. There will be days where you will want to hide away from the world, crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head. You should do it, though be warned don't use this time out as an excuse to hide away from the world forever. If you give in to your period of time out or hiding away it can make it difficult for you to pull yourself out of the dark cave you are in.

4. Use Your Power Of Choice – choose to live a happy life and choose to be hopeful.

There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster.” Dalai Lama XIV

We cannot control the bad things that happen in our life however we can control our reactions to these challenging events through our Power of Choice. Essentially how we live our life is determined by how we choose to live it.  When we step into using our Power of Choice we are actively seeking solutions to deal with the challenges we have to face. Using our power of choice empowers us to recognise how we can move forward. To move forward we maintain our hope for a better future and with hope comes a happy life. A very simple recipe to life however we can sabotage this recipe to living a happy life by not trusting ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. Choose to turn your adversity and challenges in life into a life - learning journey where the outcome for you, is that you are stronger, more empowered and live a more enriched life.

5. Find Your Purpose In Life

When you lose something in your life, stop thinking it's a loss for you... it is a gift you have been given so you can get on the right path to where you are meant to go, not to where you think you should have gone” Suze Orman

Finding your purpose in life gives your life meaning. Don’t waste your energy on what is not important. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. Don’t be overwhelmed by the journey to find your purpose in life – it is a big journey. Make a plan and take action – don’t give up. Set realistic and achievable goals and take one step at a time. Celebrate your successes – each time you achieve your goal no matter how small or how big, celebrate it and share your successes with those you love. Happiness comes when you know what you are doing, believe in what you are doing and love what you are doing. The pursuit of your happiness is all about you living a meaningful life and when you find your purpose in life, you increase your happiness in life by 200 percent.

  1. Don’t Let Your Past Rule Your Life Now And  In The Future.

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the future”  Jan Glidewell

Your past is your opportunity to learn the lessons you need to deal with your present life. Let go of your regrets in life, make peace with your past, accept it and move on. Look for opportunities for self-discovery and learn how to trust and believe in you. You are not what happened in your past, you are whom you choose to be now and in your future. Become the strong empowered resilient person you desire to be. The person who looks forward the future and is living a happy fulfilled life.

  1.  Don’t Run Away From Life – stay strong and embrace its unpredictability.

 "Running away from your problems is a race you will never win, so just face them head on, and overcome them."

– Unknown

Life is a strange and amazing journey, full of painful experiences and beauty. Running away from the challenges life presents to us is not the answer to dealing with life. When you run away the only place you can go is nowhere!  The pain, the discomfort and the challenges of life will follow you where ever you go. It is ok to fall apart for a little while but only for a little while. Unpredictable hardships in life are inevitable and when we overcome these hardships and meet them head on – we grow stronger, become more resilient and our life flourishes. Spend time on you, developing your strength and your resilience. Get prepared for life and be adaptable and flexible. Remember that everything that happens to you is a life lesson – embrace life and never forget how precious the moments in life are.

“ The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen”. Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


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