Courage, Hope and Deciding to Change

sunriseby Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.

Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow. ~ Dorothy Thompson

Tough times befall most of us; some, it seems, more than others. While there is some level of self-pity in our struggle for wholeness, there cannot be too much. Self-pity will de-motivate you. No one loves me will de-motivate you and to change and grow and have a happy life, (yes HAPPY!), you have to be motivated to charge toward that life.

To overcome what has happened to us takes courage and that courage is the power to continue to believe that we are good, life is good and there is always tomorrow which will be better than today.

Trudging onward takes a lot of work sometimes and we get tired and sometimes falter. Sometimes we just sit around feeling sorry for ourselves; other times we act out and do things that are more self-destructive. Sometimes we know doing something is bad for us and we do it anyway; sometimes we just want to throw all work, all healthy thinking and behavior, all healing time out the window.

We’re done.

We’ve had enough.

Life is not fair and has not been good to us.

We’re hurt and angry and will do exactly what we want.

Healthy ways of recovering from our pain be damned.

Even if we have momentary relapses from our trudge to wholeness, we must always affirm, deep inside, that we are good, life is good and that tomorrow is going to be better. It is hard, VERY HARD, to play Pollyanna when we are hurting so badly. We must acknowledge and honor our pain without wallowing. Not all of us understand when were are wallowing, and it is sometimes hard to pull ourselves out of behavior that is working against us, instead of for us.

Others can tell us that we are on a course of self-destruction but we feel we need to ride it out.

There will NOT come a day where you suddenly feel free and renewed…where you know you are done with the past and am ready for the future. Do not wait for that day because it’s NOT happening. You have to decide that it’s TIME to make the decision and follow with a course of action. Many times you have to make the DECISION: this is it…no more wallowing, no more excuses, no more dragging my feet. It’s time to move it, MOVE IT.

But it’s important that–no matter what–you continue to know, deep inside, that the troubles are temporary, that new life–a good life–awaits you and that the work and the attitude are worth it.

If we continue to build our lives, by doing things that are HARD.  By reaching out to new people, places, interests, hobbies and classes, we will suddenly see ourselves as champions of our new lives…not victims of our old flames. 

The acts of doing what is not easy or natural to us will eventually take hold to show that we are not quitters.  We are not victims of people who failed to appreciate us.

Use the weekends or your days off to join Meetups or community groups or volunteer somewhere or take classes.

Put the phone down and learn to be silent and self-soothe via meditation or relaxation audios.

Write out those affirmations as GPYB and GBOT teaches.

Do the Relationship Inventory in GPYB if you’re ready.  Start the Standards and Compatibility Inventory in GBOT.  Write gratitude lists and thinks of what “life is not fair” aspects have fallen INTO your column. Sometimes life is not fair in our favor and we have not yet acknowledged that. (See this GPYB video on Fairness and Gratitude on YouTube if you don’t know what this means).  Not every unfairness is against us. Sometimes we have never experienced tragedies others have and we don’t complain about the unfairness in THAT.

When you are hurting, none of this is easy and no one is perfect at it…but keeping a positive attitude and believing in the face of all evidence to the contrary is the difference between a life that is happy and a life that is not.

It takes courage to hope during the tough times. It takes courage to stay positive. But staying positive and keeping your eye on the prize is so important. Don’t give up. Even if you’ve slipped and fallen. Even if you’ve acted out and done things you probably shouldn’t be doing, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF, and continue on.  But know that it takes DECISIONS and affirmative life-building exercises to truly truly heal and move on to a BETTER life.  It doesn’t happen sitting around full of self-pity and hatred. It just doesn’t.

Continue to hope and dream and believe that tomorrow will be better and one day you will happy and whole.

Because you will.


Copyright 2017 Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
I Teach What I Know. I Have The Degrees, but I Have The EXPERIENCE and I don’t ask anyone to do anything I have not done.”

All Rights Reserved No Duplication is Allowed Without Explicit Permission of the Author

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If a post has a tag PT Article it means that it was once on Psychology Today and I am recreating and re-publishing for the blog…it takes a while. I recognize, by the amount of email I received and the traffic and comments my articles had, that my articles were VERY POPULAR. But I had over 100 articles on Psychology Today that helped everyone. I’m trying to recreate them as fast as I can. They’re ALL coming – eventually….but I did my outline for the articles on my local machine, uploaded to PT and edited them there so I have to recreate the process…it takes a while..but I’m writing as fast as I can!!! Read about the HORRIBLE PT breakup HERE

*Included here because it’s the most popular GPYB post/video over the history of the blog/book etc.

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