Ever have a day where you felt terrible? A week? A month?
What do you do when you feel sick, afraid, angry, anxious, resentful, ashamed, envious, or some other variety of less than ideal? Really. Think about it for a minute. What do you do when you feel bad?
Where do you focus your mind? What do you tell your self? What do you tell others? How do you treat others? How do you treat your self? Do you lash out? Lash in? Pray? Gripe? Stew in your own juices? Stew in alcohol? Talk with a trusted friend? Take action to make a positive difference? Listen to “screamo” music? Go for a walk? For for a road-rage drive? Help someone else? Call your therapist? Spend money? Practice breathing?
Having unpleasant emotional experiences is a guaranteed part of the human condition. Frequently, things will not go the way we want, and we will feel bad as a result. We can’t stop it. We can’t control it. If you have found a way to successfully refute what I’m saying here, please let me know. My clients and I could really use your secret!
In my experience, there are two main things we can do to make a positive difference in the face of unpleasantness. First, accept that this is simply part of life and that God is still in charge with His loving will. And then, we can choose to respond in a way that makes life better, rather than worse. Toward that end, here is a prayer many have found to be helpful:
- Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
- where there is hatred, let me sow love;
- where there is injury, pardon;
- where there is doubt, faith;
- where there is despair, hope;
- where there is darkness, light;
- and where there is sadness, joy.
- O Divine Master,
- grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
- to be understood, as to understand;
- to be loved, as to love;
- for it is in giving that we receive,
- it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
- and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
So, you find your self facing something troubling or unpleasant or difficult today? Okay, now what? It’s your choices that will define you and your life. What will you choose? Will that make life better or worse? I sincerely hope you will choose attitudes and actions that will make life better for you. And the truth is, when you make choices that genuinely make your life better, you make life better for everyone. Well, looks like it’s time for me to head home. I really FEEL like hitting the La-Z-Boy and being a vegetable for the evening. Hmmm…What to do?