Adobe Spark (10)

Rethinking the Hard Times

By Orly Katz, LCPC at Everyday Counseling and Coaching Services

When you look back upon your life, of the triumphs you’ve celebrated and the trials you’ve faced, what perception do you hold of the hard times? For many of us, we tend to gloss over or avoid thinking about the struggles we have experienced. This might be because these memories are too painful to face, that we hold a sense of shame over mistakes we have made, or that we feel compelled to focus only on the happy times.

In this video, we learn about another way to reflect on the hard times in life, on those times that changed us, marked us, or made us feel powerless. Take a look below to see this perspective explained.

This video does a beautiful job of sharing a new way of thinking about our “scars” – that they are not something to be ashamed of, but something to be celebrated. That if we imagine that the troubles we have gone through have actually made us stronger, that we are empowered to see the beauty in these experiences and feel pride in our ability to survive and grow.

Unfortunately, at least for some of us, we’ve already engrained beliefs about the hard times in our lives. Maybe we choose to ignore these experiences, pretend they didn’t happen, or minimize how they affected us. Let’s take a look at a method for shifting our perspective about our past and actively switching to finding the beauty in the negative events we have gone through.

  1. Think about a time in your life that left a “scar” – an emotional wound that has stayed with you over the months or years. This might be a memory from childhood, a loss, a stressful event or time period. Hold onto that memory for a moment without judgement or analysis.
  2. Now, walk yourself through that memory. What happened? How did you feel when it happened? What were your thoughts while this happened?
  3. Think about the effects of this event – but instead of thinking of the negatives, what positives arose out of this? In what ways did you change, cope, survive? What gifts has that growth in yourself bestowed on you since this event? Make a list of these and make sure they are sincere.
  4. Next, share gratitude. This may not happen right away and that’s okay. If it doesn’t, engage in this process a few more times, always focusing on the gifts of the event until you feel in your heart true thankfulness for what happened because of these positive impacts.
  5. Finally, fill the “scar” with gold – accept that the event happened and that it has shaped who you are. That this event, no matter how painful at the time, has changed who you are for the better and given you an experience that prepared you for what was to come in your life.

As you fill your scars with gold, know that it can be painful and hard. Thinking about the past can bring out unexpected feelings. Take your time and know that this growth, while difficult, can eventually restore your thinking about hard times and give you a sense of fulfillment over all that you’ve accomplished by living through them.