How to cope with challenges
We are a community with a high number of elders. It is wonderful to see how many of us are really happy; finally have time to do what we always wanted to do. We can choose to take care of our body by eating healthy and being physically active or we can join the book- writers or computer club etc. We can enjoy our lives in active and fulfilling ways and this gives purpose to life.
Yet, there are also many people we don’t see as much who are gloomy and unhappy. They are hidden behind the walls and doors and there is a lot of suffering amongst them. This is perhaps because of sickness, loss of enthusiasm for life or deep grief because the beloved partner died and the feeling of loneliness is overwhelming.
In these situations it is difficult to see meaning in life, there is so much hopelessness and desperation. Very often, people facing terrible tough situations end up despising their lives and feel their lives are meaningless.
It is so important to be able to find meaning in everything we have to go through. Life involves good and bad times, suffering is part of life. We have to accept it. People who realize purpose in life are able to face traumas and fate easier than ones who don’t. When nothing is possible to change or there is nothing that can be done, then it is still possible to decide the attitude toward the situation.
One could become stuck in anger, hate, revenge and despair or can become reconciled with the situation and continue with acceptance and dignity. In any given situation, we have the freedom and the possibility to decide how to make the best out of it and to accept our fate and use that opportunity to add a deeper meaning to life.
It helps tremendously to cope with difficult situations using a gratefulness consciousness. We have so much for which to be grateful. We can be grateful for a functioning body, a profession, a decent job that provided a comfortable life style, maybe a family, kids, living for so many years in peace and in economically stable situations.
It may sound silly, but being thankful is like a medicine for a wounded soul. These “gifts” from the past nobody can take away from us, it belongs to us, and it fulfilled and enriched our lives. Our lives change but there is no reason to “throw life away” in hopelessness and despair.
Maybe it is now necessary to look for things that seemed to be insignificant before but can bring joy and meaning into life now: Listening consciously to a piece of music, observing the wonders in nature, smiling and being friendly to the workers around the house. The radius of our actions may become smaller but not meaningless. And we should never forget: Others are not responsible for our happiness.
It is time now not to ask life what it can give to us, but instead: “What can we give to life”? Certainly we can provide a life time full of experiences, in a written form or spoken into a recorder. Overcoming shyness or fear and asking others for help and support might be part of growing and a reason to be proud. Or we can send a letter to somebody who needs our loving words of gratitude. Forgiveness overall brings peace and healing to us.
Life requires an attitude that we are constantly in a process of learning and of healing – in small as well as in big things –in our early as well as in our later years. We have the choice and the inner freedom to use all our given circumstances in a meaningful and purposeful way and to be thankful for everything that comes.