Reasons to be cheerful

For reasons I have not yet disclosed here, 2013 has been a particularly trying year for our family. I will, no doubt, find a way of expressing some of the events in due course, but I feel some things are best viewed at a distance.

Suffice to say we have had time to take stock and have become acutely aware of the things we appreciate. Many are things which are directly under our nose and easily overlooked when there are ‘bigger fish to fry’.

Here are a few thoughts on our reasons to be cheerful.

1. The kind words of others. Our family and friends have been a support and, at times, in ways they have not realised. I unexpectedly came across these words on facebook at 3am one ponderous morning and they really resonated with me:

Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good. Life is too short – enjoy it. Cry with someone, it’s more healing than crying alone. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present and the future. It’s okay to let your children see you cry. Don’t compare your life to others; you have no idea what their journey is all about. If a relationship has to be secret, you shouldn’t be in it.  Take a deep breath, it calms the mind. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. It’s never too late to be happy but it’s all up to you and no one else. When it comes time to go after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer. Burn the nice candles, use the nice sheets, wear the nice lingerie, wear the nice clothes. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special. Over prepare, then go with the flow. No one is in charge of your happiness but you. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years will this matter?’ Always choose life. Forgive but don’t forget. Time heals almost everything. Give time time. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. If we all threw our problems in a pile and we saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need. Yield. Friends are the family we choose. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

2. It’s okay to be happy when there is sadness. At a recent family wedding our 6-year-old came up to me, sweaty from dancing and with a beaming smile and whispered ‘Today I forgot to be sad!’ It was wonderful to be able to tell her that she should be enjoying her day and that we were happy to see her smiling. The ways in which children often accept difficult times as part of the process of life is a lesson for us all.

3. You may not have been given all the tools to cope but you can always learn. My experience in mental health as an Occupational Therapist brought me into contact with many people who had been damaged by their past, whether that was from childhood or subsequent life events. The amazing thing about humans is that we are infinitely adaptable. We can collect tools along the way to change the path ahead of us.

4. Find your strengths. It is often only in the face of adversity that we can recognise our strengths. We have recognised that we can pull together through tough times and that we are good at sharing our thoughts and feelings as a family. It’s something that many families don’t have and it is something that can be changed by any given generation.

5. Cherish your successes. We have chosen to live a more simple life so that I may work from home and spend more time with our children. Many things have changed to enable me to do that but we feel that we have made a success of our choices. It is during difficult times that I am so pleased to have made that choice, and to be able to take time to get through at our own pace.

Thinking of anyone else who is going through it at the moment. Take care 🙂


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