Listen to this episode of the Focus With Marlene Podcast
How do you see yourself?
Are you despondent and dreading the future, unable to see anything positive to look forward to?
Losses can make everything seem gloomy and hopeless and we resign ourselves to this fate moving forward.
But we can change that picture.
We can reframe what is happening in order to see something positive. Let me share a true story with you.
Years ago, I worked for a company that provided training to injured workers in chronic pain to help in their recovery and their re-entry to the workplace. They had been injured on the job, resulting in their inability to continue working in that same capacity.
As part of their rehabilitation and recovery program, they were required to attend two weeks of all-day classes. They were not very happy at having to attend; in fact, some were downright hostile. Yet after one week, we began to see a dramatic shift in attitudes, mind-set and possibilities.
It was amazing to watch this transformation from hopelessness, despondency and despair to one of possibility, hope and motivation.
Some didn’t let go of what had happened. They were angry at the injustice of it and did not want to hear about ways they could reframe and work with their circumstances. They hung onto their grievance and left with the same bitterness they had when they arrived.
But it was those who took the information presented and applied it, where we saw what attitude and a different mindset can do to greatly improve any situation we find ourselves in.
One Woman’s Story
While there were many people I came to admire, one lady in particular resonated with me. Her injury left her unable to continue in her job and restricted many new job options. Her benefits would soon run out. She was a single mom living in a tiny one-bedroom house and the enormity of her losses was severe. Life seemed grim and hopeless.
After the first week, she returned to class glowing after the weekend off. She was not the same person who left on Friday. She shared with the class what had happened to change her outlook. She went home and thought about all the information we had taught in class and decided to apply it to her situation. The first thing she did was reframe how she looked at her current existence.
She went through her tiny cramped house, room by room, looking at it with a new perspective. There was only one tiny bedroom. She decided to give that room to her children and make the living room her bedroom. During the day it was a living room, but at night it became a cozy, spacious bedroom.
She positioned the sofa bed in front of the fireplace, and when she crawled into her “bed” that night, she lit a small fire in the fireplace and snuggled down to watch the flames and thought to herself, How many people do I know who have a fireplace in their bedroom?
She helped her children make her old bedroom into their special space. They were happy and she was happy. In fact, she told us she slept soundly for the first time in years.
What had changed? Only her perspective.
During the remainder of that last week in class, she actively sought out information about re-training and potential jobs. She was excited about the possibility of a new job opportunity through a training program she was in that actually paid more than her previous job.
Was she going to have to struggle?
Would it take hard work?
Would she still have to live with limiting conditions?
But she would be bringing into that space a new outlook, a new perspective that held possibility, options and renewed energy.
The world you live in has been drastically changed because of your loss.
You are challenged as never before to be innovative, creative and flexible. The old beliefs you have about yourself can seriously impact your ability to move forward if you let them.
Your loss may seem catastrophic and the end of the world for you. But there is within you that capability to take what you have and create something new and exciting from it. Out of the ashes of one disaster you can create the promise of a new beginning, if you are willing to re-invent yourself, grow and change.
We need validation for the turmoil of thoughts and emotions we experience. But we also need the tools necessary to create a new beginning that is both satisfying and meaningful. My new book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, offers those tools to help work through the problems you might be facing.