Starting Over. Again.
It can wear a person down, from the inside out. The frustration of failure, facing the same giants for the umpteenth time, from flat on your proverbial back. The weight you lost has come back. The bank account is overdrawn, again. The week has ended with a poor job review, the weekend has finished with a marital blow up and you’re finally at your wit’s end. You’re not willing to give up or give in, but starting over, again, can be so depressing.
Listen closely. The things I will share are not a fool proof, step by step approach to sure success. If that’s what you’re looking for, stop reading now, and go find it somewhere else. Just know that if that’s what anyone promises, they are either a fool, or they are dishonest. There is no such thing as a guarantee or a ma
gical potion to fix everything once and for all. This life is a journey. It’s a journey that’s filled with challenges, obstacles and stresses. But you can do this. Seriously, you can. When you fail, you can start over, again… and again, and again if you have to.
Will it be hard? Yes. The person that will make it most difficult to start again is most likely the one who stares at you in the mirror. Can I offer a small piece of advice? Step off, fool. You heard me. Stop being so hard on yourself. You aren’t the only person in the world to fail or fall short. You aren’t the first person to need to start over from scratch, and you won’t be the last. The last thing you need now is a “self-inflicted beat down” for the circumstance you find yourself in. So lighten up on yourself a little. This takes a mixture of grace and courage, but you can do this. You’ve got this.
There is something to be said for not letting yourself off too easy. There may be legitimate fault to be laid at your feet for your current situation. Don’t make excuses or point the finger too quickly at others if there are things you genuinely need to change. Seriously, dude (or dudette), if you keep doing the same stupid stuff and it keeps causing your world to crash down around you, then stop doing stupid stuff. Do you regularly have to search for new employment because you blame others for your poor work? Then start taking responsibility for what’s yours at the office, and bust your butt to make it better. Has your spouse blown a cog, complaining that you NEVER carry your share of the load around the house? Then sit down with your spouse, and work out a fair and purposeful way for you to share the duties that make your house a home… and then follow through faithfully on your part, no excuses allowed!
Listen, excuses are like backsides… everyone has one. Sometimes they stink, sometimes they don’t, but no one likes them rubbed in their face. Analogy understood? Stop making excuses, and yet you can’t let yourself off without any culpability for being in the place where you need to start over again. It’s not worth beating yourself up over, but you insure that you’ll be right back in this place if you don’t take responsibility and make the necessary changes to get you out of this bad place.
So what’s your next step? Maybe it’s time to clean your “Life House”. Let’s talk about it tomorrow.
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Is your glass half full or half empty? Beyond that, is it a nice glass, free of chips and discoloration? And why the focus on the glass? What about the stuff inside it? Does it taste good? Is it cool and refreshing, hot and comforting or lukewarmish and ready for the sink?
Optimists tend to take on the circumstances of life as a combination Coach/Cheerleader/Priest. They will tell you:
- None of this matters, just press on through it because in the end, it will be worth it;
- Circumstances don’t matter, only your attitude;
- Look for the good in everything, and ignore the bad;
- Expect the very best in life, and that’s what you will get;
- You can control your destiny and your attitude!
On the other hand, the Cynic will bring his Eeyore to every conversation, and will most likely:
- Talk about how unfair life is in passing out glasses;
- Spend more time looking at someone else’s glass than his/her own;
- Criticize those with more in their glass as having an unfair advantage;
- Mock those with less in their glass, as if they deserved what they were getting;
- Waste time making excuses, placing blame and dodging the future;
- Give up by passively accepting whatever situation or lot life has placed in their path.
“Optimism is the drug of youth that ignores circumstance & seeks a quick and easy high…
and it is the steady confidence of the aged who know that every sunset is only for a moment.” Page Cole
Can I offer a suggestion? Don’t be either guy/girl. Here’s why, and maybe just a word of encouragement that could help you if you find yourself on the far fringes of either of these types of people…
- Sometimes Life Just Stinks… So Don’t Whitewash It.
- Only When We Face Hard Times With Reality Can We Win Past Them.
- You Don’t Know the Future. Stop Telling People It Will Get Better. It May Not. That’s Life.
- You Can Be an Encourager Without Being Annoying or Condescending… Figure It Out.
- You Don’t Have to Have All of the Answers, Fix Everything or Defend God… So Don’t Try.
- Most of the Problems We Face ARE Temporary, So Stop Making Them Bigger Than They Are;
- No One Likes A Whiner or Someone Who is Consistently Negative. Yes, That’s Why We Avoid You;
- Growth, Real & Substantial Growth Comes to Most People Through Hard Times, Not Easy Ones;
- Life Circumstances Aren’t Dealt Out Equally or Fairly; Some Have More Than Their Share; Don’t Judge People Based on Their Circumstances, Because it’s Stupid;;
- Making Excuses, Being a Quitter or Everyone’s Critic Just Doesn’t Look Good on You.
Can we be positive in face of hard and difficult moments in life? Yes.
Is it OK to be sad, discouraged, frustrated or angry when Life kicks us in the teeth? Yes again.
But find some balance. I think it’s that simple. We’re all going to have hard times, and so are the people we love. Let’s just be authentic as we face those times, deal with the heartache, then push towards wholeness.
Is it because we’re overly concerned about those around us, and we want to help them through the hurt?
Or is there just an innate desire for knowledge, growth and new experiences, and that burning desire to be informed is what pushes us even towards bad news?
Could it be that we’re just plain curious, and can’t help but stick our big noses into someone else’s bad business to satisfy our need to know?
Although any or all of these answers are true at one time or another, I believe that the true foundation for our pursuit and interest in the harsher stories in life is this…
Fear. We’re afraid. Afraid of the circumstances, afraid that the same thing might happen to us. We want to try to avoid conflict or pain so we sit up and pay attention about the family with the abducted child. Our neck snaps as we slow down and pass the demolished automobile on the side of the road. We stare in rapt attention at the flesh eating virus stories, the “house and everything else burned to the ground” news pieces, and the horror stories of those who’ve lost their jobs and used up the last of their unemployment check.
We’re afraid it could be us next. It might very well be us next. So we’re afraid. But fear isn’t our only choice, it’s just one of them.
Choose Active Courage instead of fear.
Fear says, “I worry I might end up broke like that family on the news.” Active Courage says, “I need to see if there’s a place I can send that family some money.”
Fear says, “We can’t swim in the lake or go out in public because we could get sick & die.” Active courage says, “I’m going to embrace and enjoy every moment life has to offer me.”
Fear says, “Pull back, hunker down, protect yourself”. Active Courage says, “Step out, lend a hand, take a risk to help others.”
No, your story may not get the news coverage or attention because it’s not scary, horrible or frightening. But that’s OK. Living a bold life and making the world better because you passed through is an awesome way to spend your days. Leave the fear and negativity to others.