Friday, January 15, 2010

The Perspective That Changes Everything

     For years I have believed things happen for a reason--that life is more than just a series of random events. Problems help us learn, grow and become stronger people. Still, through all the many lessons I've learned, I have a tendency to let negative experiences challenge my mental/emotional well-being. The past few months have been months of profound change and growth for me. If I were to define what has happened, I would have to say my perspective has changed in major ways. I still believe things happen for a reason. I just now understand that everything in my life--both the good and the bad--is there because of my thoughts and desires. The negative experiences show up to teach me lessons I need to learn. This perspective has moved me from powerless to powerful as I ask myself what this experience is here to teach me and move to deal with this situation head on.
     I spent many depressed years as a single parent. Even though I love and enjoy my children very much, making all major decisions and being responsible for four people can get pretty overwhelming at times. While my second marriage gave me additional strength, it was also the time my children experienced the teen years--not an easy time for a parent.
     My daughter has given me an especially rough time. Besides her ADHD, she has struggled with her own depression and poor choices in friends. At times, the arguing and fighting have been fierce, leaving me with overwhelming depression. The whole situation has made my entire household tense.
     About a month ago, I began looking at these problems from this new perspective. I thought, "I brought these problems in. What am I supposed to learn from them?" As soon as I asked the question, solutions began to show up! My mind was flooded with possibilities of things I could try to deal with the situation. Instead of the victimization of the past, I now held the keys to overcome!
     Last night, my daughter began a fight with one of her brothers that was about the become physical. As I moved to stop the situation from escalating, I realized I felt a strange sense of calm that was not present a month ago when I dealt with similar situations. I reacted more calmly than I ever had before, and for the first time I was able to convince my daughter to back down! What a difference! What power!
     My coping skills have greatly increased this month. Whenever I get feelings that make me sad, angry or nervous, I use this question ("What is this supposed to teach me?") to begin to develop ways to cope. This perspective has taken me from sitting on the bench to being a full player in the game of my life. It is the perspective that changes everything, and I will never be the same.