How To Turn Challenges into Opportunities

I have been talking a lot lately about my struggles.  Of trying to decide if the glass is half empty or half full?  My vision has been blurred (and not just by the glaucoma) with the struggle to process thoughts, find my passion and to stay focused. Do you look at the world through rose-colored glasses? Some days I do.

We’ve all heard those sayings, right?  We may have actually felt the distinct difference between viewing life with a positive perspective and viewing it with a negative one.  Positive beliefs draw more positive things, right?

My struggles with emotions is real… some days I want to curl up in a ball and cry for no apparent reason.  Then there are days when I feel like the movie “50 Dates”, you know the one where she keeps reliving the same day and is always happy.  All of these challenges hold opportunity but the key is learning how to change the mindset.

When it comes to facing life’s challenges—because we all have them—we have the change to reframe them,  appreciating how struggles help us build strength and resilience. I could be a world-class weight lifter if that was the case.  LOL.  The key is to train our minds to view these challenges in a more positive light by first reflecting on our lives, identifying those tough times, and understanding how they shaped us and made us stronger.

As I reflect on the past challenges, those I can remember, I struggle with understanding them but I do see how they have made a huge impact on my life.  I can see how the negative mindset has led me on the path of relapse and had me looking at life as if I was a victim.  As I moved into recovery, I am slowly able to embrace the positive in all of life’s challenges and move forward.

In every challenge—and in the time which follows—we build strength and resilience. We don’t have the power to change the past, but we do have the power to find the positive within the past and use it to create a greater impact today.

Thank you for sticking with me during these challenges… my blog posts tend to ramble, my Thirty One business continues despite my bad days, and The Angel Connection is starting to grow.  I guess you are wondering where is the challenge, right?  For me, the challenge in finding my passion and deciding where I want to head in the future.  How am I moving forward?  I am reflecting on these key questions:

What are you learning? How are you growing?

I’m looking for the growth from each difficulty especially in my relapse and my MS diagnosis.  I’m trying to identify new knowledge I’ve gained, relationships I’ve built, or personal growth I’ve experienced. The truth is I’m moving forward despite these challenges, which means I’m strong and resilient, right? I need to open my eyes to the positive outcomes.  I know the lessons I have learned will help me to find my passion again and decide the direction for my business.

How does this challenge reinforce what you are grateful for in your life?

Practicing gratitude has been BIG during my recovery.  I have felt ungrateful for all of the problems which came from my relapse.  I felt resentful.  I needed to find gratitude for what it’s given me and what it’s shown me. As I  look at everything in my life—the big and little things—and learn to appreciate them, it is those things which will help me during the tough times.

What boundaries will you put in place in your life to avoid future challenges and allow yourself to grow?

With the lessons you learn and the strength you build, consider whether there are ways you can adjust your mindset or actions to prevent future challenges. Sometimes life events are out of your control, but other times, you can make changes to move you toward a life of growth, positivity, and purpose.  My MS may be out of my control but continuing in recovery is something I can work on daily.

Today’s post has been a ramble, a way for me to share not only my personal struggles but to try and reframe it to help someone else.  It you are struggling to discover your strength and resilience today, try these simple steps:

  • Use the above questions to look at a challenge from your past. How has this challenge made you stronger and more resilient?  Believe it or not, it has!
  • Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Focus on the positive in your life, no matter what the circumstances. Large or small, it doesn’t matter.

Now, think about one way you can live out your purpose today—and then do it! It could be as simple as a random act of kindness or buying someone a coffee.  Living with purpose requires strength and resilience. Tap into those and challenge yourself to grow further.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors.  Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime?  Did you know that most acts of domestic violence take place between 6 pm and 6 am?  Did you know that more than 60% of the incidents of domestic violence happen at home.

You may wonder why women (and men) would stay around.  You may wonder how could anyone put up with the verbal or worse physical abuse from someone that says that they love them.  Victims believe that they are to blame.  That if the hadn’t done XYZ, then their significant other wouldn’t have had to yell or hit them.  The truth is that NO victim is to blame for any occurrence of domestic abuse or violence.

Domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Women ages 18 to 34 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.  The stats that scare me the most are these:

  • More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year.
  • Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
  • Children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
  • Children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death.

Children are the silent victims.  I was one of those children.  Middle class family with two parents.  By all appearances happy and successful.  But alcohol addiction created a monster that lead us being one of the stats.  I was the child that watched the abuse.  I was one of those children who tried to intervene.  The memories live on and haunt me as an adult.  Forgiveness has lead to healing but the memories linger.  Do I think that witnessing those acts of violence affected me – YES!  I was a victim of verbal abuse for many years. I struggled with relationships.  I struggled with self esteem and confidence.  I struggled with addictions.    Children learn by example.  Remember the line “Do as I say, not as I do”.  Well, chances are children who have been exposed to domestic violence will subject themselves to the same kind of treatment.

#1 FACT: Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.

Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence.

Do you know someone or suspect someone has been a victim of domestic violence?  Here are some resources that can help:

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

NJ Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1 (800) 572-SAFE (7233)

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!