Before you say anything, I already know.....it's been a bit since I have updated this blog. But I must be honest, I just haven't had anything to say. I've always heard countless times growing up that if I don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all. So....I haven't. I feel like these last couple of months, although normally my favorite time of year, has been overshadowed by a black cloud.
Back in December, we were ready for the holidays, ready for Winter Market, life was good. Then the accident happened. Our son Drew and Rick's dad, were taking two of our pigs to be processed so that we would have product ready for winter market. Not even 10 minutes from leaving the house, the trailer accidently came unhitched from the truck. It crossed the center line and hit another vehicle. Thankfully no one was injured in a major way, however, both pigs were killed and our only livestock trailer was destroyed. As a result, we had to back out of winter market and we are still dealing with insurance matters after the fact. We have a processing appointment in March but no trailer to haul pigs in. Finding a replacement trailer that we can afford has been one of the biggest issues. While I acknowledge that things could have been much worse, I still can't shake the feeling that the rug is going to be pulled out from under us. But I'm a worrier. I always think the worst. I've been that way since I was a little girl.
On top of this, recently I've been having some personal struggles where I've begun to question myself as both a wife and a mother. I've been dealing with a lot of self-doubt about my role in those two areas and questioning myself in many ways. Lately I find myself seeking ways to accept what is and move forward, to be more positive. With warmer temperatures and the arrival of Spring and all the good things that come with that.....flowers, farm animal babies, green grass, porch sittin', and so much more.....I'm trying to find the silver lining.
In hopes that I can help someone else that's going through this same funk....I offer some encouraging tips:
1. First and foremost, get off the mouse wheel
When life throws us situations that cause us to struggle, what can make it worse is our attitude towards it. Like mice go round and round on the wheel, in tough times it is important that we don’t spin ourselves out by limited thinking. Struggles come in many ways and for many reasons, which are unique to the individual. We can so easily become overwhelmed by the pressure and difficulties we are currently facing that we don’t stop and review what is going on. Getting off the wheel allows us to slow down and begin to take steps towards not allowing this struggle to consume us.
2. Don’t lose sight of who you are
It is so easy to get into the victim mentality in those struggling times. Faced with despair and a lack of hope, the why me? thoughts can begin. We may neglect the very things that can possibly keep us grounded. Don’t forget to take care of yourself no matter how pointless or even draining it may feel.
3. Take care of you: Mind, Body, and Soul
Ensuring that we are focused on our wellbeing is the foundation of rising above struggles. Synchronizing the mind, body and soul can bring about strength, health and also a sense of calmness. Even though there is hardship, when we feel well grounded physically and mentally, things are not over exaggerated. Stress can be kept at a minimal as well.
4. How you respond can make a difference
Focus on the thought that some things are meant to be. I have heard this several times over the past couple of months. While I can't see how or what that would mean further down the road, I'm trying to hold onto that belief. I must use this experience to fuel my decisions and not settle for anything that isn't pushing us to thrive. By viewing the situation as a blessing in disguise, the hope is that it will push us towards a better life filled with continued passion for what we are doing in life.
5. Accept and let go, so you can heal and flow
Without acceptance, it is very hard to move on. People hurt us, we make silly mistakes, and change happens dramatically at times. Life is never fully in our control and we do not know what tomorrow brings. Accepting struggles as they are, learning from them and moving on, empowers us. If we are constantly bitter at what life throws our way, we miss the opportunity to live in the moment. It is totally normal to cry and have a period of being sad. You must allow yourself to grieve and accept what has happened in order to move forward. Acceptance isn’t all about sucking it up and getting on with it. Being OK with being uncomfortable for a brief moment is healthy.
6. It is not weak to speak – Talk to someone
Don’t ever be too proud to talk to someone about your struggles and difficult times. You may feel awkward but it is one of the best actions you can do for yourself. Those who muster up the courage to speak up, do themselves and others good. To open up helps with healing, overcoming troubles, and also helps you gain perspective. Sometimes, when we keep things bottled up inside, we can overthink and create bigger problems for ourselves. Talking it out invites someone else to be a friend to you and allows you to be yourself – raw and real. Choose someone you fully trust and don’t be embarrassed. If you don’t have anyone, there are many other ways you can connect with people.
7. Turn your struggle into your power
Begin to look for opportunities in the current circumstance you are in. Starting over can be very fearful. It is also liberating to realize that at any point in time, you can stop what you are doing and start something new if you want to. Two years ago, I was in an immense struggle in my career of over 20 years. I made the decision to completely switch gears and go into another field. And it was the scariest thing I'd ever done. But I did it....and it was the change I didn't realize I needed.
I feel a new purpose within my heart that I can still help others....but in a completely different capacity than what I was doing before. I now recognize more than I did before that sometimes you have to move out of your comfort zone. That is a powerful place to be in.
8. Learn from others
Gaining advice and direction from people we trust is very valuable in a struggle. When people open up about a tough time and how they got through, they are most likely saying it to encourage us. Not everyone needs to know our struggles, as not everyone can be sensitive about them. Insensitive responses can leave us feeling misunderstood and embarrassed. There are also people who feed our struggles by pandering to us constantly without setting us straight when it’s needed. We need to surround ourselves with people who are honest and will sincerely let us know that there is hope. You know those friends who say the right thing, even though you don’t really want to hear it? Generally those are the ones who encourage you to rise up again and not allow this struggle to take a hold of you. They are sincere but they refuse to see you wallow in self-pity. Learn from them.
9. Set boundaries
Something I am still learning today is setting boundaries for myself. Instead of being someone who always says yes or does things to keep others happy, I have begun trying to learn the word no. Setting boundaries is actually living in honesty and representing your truest self. I was always available to everyone with the belief system that I had to drop what I was doing to help others. In the work environment, the stress I was under consumed my whole core but I never said no to it. During a struggle it may be wise to review where boundaries may not be set and work towards putting some in place. Say no to the things that hurt you or destroy your health. Have your own routines and disciplines in place that are focused on health (mind, body and soul). Say what you mean and settle for no less. Set boundaries and protect yourself.
10. And finally…it all happened for a reason.
Perhaps the biggest reason for my experience was that I could write this and let you know that your struggles are not the end of the road. Maybe it's a sign of something new. Perhaps you will learn the best lessons that will push you to grow and give you wisdom in your future choices. Maybe you will find a new purpose or finally follow your passions. It could be a wake up call to get your body into shape, health into gear, mind re-focused or relationships on track. Whatever the reason may be, if you dig deep and allow yourself to be open, the answer will come in the right time and in the right way.
It is not the end – it may just be the beginning.