How do you react when life throws you a curve ball?
Do you curl up in a self-pity ball of sadness? Do you get angry and lash out at others? Or do you figure out a solution and attack it from every angle?
Let me tell you a story. A few months ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Celiac disease is a strong autoimmune response to the ingestion of wheat, barley, or malt. Basically, it damages the lining of the small intestines, causing malabsorption of nutrients and making you very sick. I was under the impression that my years of stomach troubles were caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome. However, I was becoming very ill by not treating the real issue.
My doctor discovered the condition almost accidentally during a routine upper endoscopy. When I received the diagnosis, I was shocked beyond words. I didn’t ask questions. I honestly couldn’t think. What does this mean? No more birthday cake. No more pizza. NO MORE DOUGHNUTS??
I’m gonna admit. I wallowed for a few days. I was positive the testing was wrong for weeks! Finally, I accepted my condition and decided to learn everything I could about the disease. It turns out, that most whole foods do not contain gluten (the substance in wheat, barley, or malt that makes people with Celiac disease ill). There are a lot of resources for gluten-free recipes and products. Most recipes can easily be modified. The biggest hurdle to cross is dining out. I’m learning what to ask for and what ingredients to avoid. I mess up constantly and get pretty sick for a few days, but each time I learn something new.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, I’m sure that you will face an obstacle at some point that brings you to your knees. In fact, there are many different types of adversity, you can read about them here. Something, at some point, will bring you major change in your life. You will meet a crossroads and be forced to make decisions that change everything you are accustomed to. Here are some tips to help you when that happens:
Take it one day at a time.
Don’t try to build Rome in a day. Take baby steps and start with bite sized pieces of the solution. Very few problems have to be solved right away. Take some time to pray on it and get your emotions in check. Emotional decisions do not often bring forth the best results.
Don’t beat yourself up.
We tend to internalize things and make them our fault somehow. Do your best to come to grips with the fact that some things happen without reason. You don’t always need a “How”. “How?” does not solve problems, “What now?” solves problems. You will go off track. You will mess up and some days will feel like failure. Move on. Do not linger on your mistakes. Learn from them.
Research and learn.
Exhaust yourself in researching your obstacle. You should spend significant time reading legitimate research material on your topic. This means that Dr. Google is not where your information should come from. Visit the library. This site gives good information on researching topics on the internet. Look for books on your issue written by knowledgeable sources. Talk to people who have had a similar problem. Read scholarly journals for solutions that fit.
Get your mind right.
Self-talk is a powerful tool. Daily affirmations can help improve how you see yourself and the world around you. If you hear something frequently enough, it becomes your truth. Tell yourself that you don’t want gluten (or sugar, or that toxic relationship). Tell yourself that it makes you sick, whether physically or emotionally. Tell yourself that you are better off without it. Celebrate your accomplishments when you are able to remain true to your self.
A strong support system can make or break you. Co-workers, spouses, family members, best friends, even strangers online in Facebook groups or blogs can encourage you and be a sounding board when you are tempted to backslide. The bottom line is, find someone who you can talk to that will give good advice. You will need someone to lean on at times.
Once you have knowledge about your problem, you can be prepared for it. For me, that means always having a gluten-free snack on hand. For you, it could be redirecting your mind when you start feeling a certain way. Use your solution to get out of your own way. Prepare yourself for unexpected challenges.
Keep these tips on hand for when life hands you lemons. You will have lemonade in no time.