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Search for signs of life

Features column

I am currently navigating some difficult terrain as I am facing transition in my life. It makes sense that in order to get where you need to be, you have to leave where it is you are currently. It makes sense that in order to make room for what you truly want, you have to let go of what it is you don’t need. I am thought to have an optimistic outlook on life in general.

I am always searching for any “signs of life” in bleak circumstances or for another way of looking at tough situations. For me, it is not a matter of pretending circumstances or situations are not what they are, but rather it is a way of deciding to make use of what is in front of me. I may not be able to wave a magic wand and change a situation, but I can change what I say about a situation. I continue to learn that what I say about the circumstances or situations I face shapes how I see them and how I see them impacts how I approach them.

I feel down or become frustrated about situations or circumstances when they come just like anyone else. I am at times tempted by the lure of the pity party where it is easy to find fault in others or to think of all the ways I was wronged and how things are unfair. And, sometimes I am right. I have been wronged by others and things haven’t always been fair, but it does not alter things. Situations and circumstances remain as they are because problems don’t change or go away just because they are difficult and/or unfair. I have come to understand, instead, that it is our relationship to the situations and circumstances we face that can be altered so that we are able to experience them differently.

So when I am inclined to sink into the pity party mode, I gently nudge myself to see through new lenses and to look for ways I can take parts of my grim experience and turn them into something different. Life is going to happen and problems will arise, but choosing not to limit your perspective about them when they do can help to navigate those tough moments more smoothly.

I have learned that our situations or circumstances present opportunities for us to make a decision about whether or not we want to do something about them. There is nothing you can do about a situation when you let it paralyze you. Sometimes, things seem to happen all at once making us feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do. But, it is helpful to remember that when it begins to rain, even if it starts to pour all of a sudden, we won’t stop getting soaked by standing still.

Navigating difficult terrain is about movement and we cannot move forward if we are stuck pointing fingers at others or blaming ourselves. We cannot move forward if we choose to be defeated. Find the “signs of life” in your situation and use them to turn it into something new.

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.