Do you believe in yourself? Always? Or do you sometimes lose faith?
Life is hard. We all go through tough times personally, and lately it seems like the rest of the world is on the brink of disaster too.
Even if you generally have confidence, and strength, and a grateful, positive attitude… even if all of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met, for the most part… everyone gets weary from time to time.
So…I was thinking about this favorite quote (which is anonymous as far as I know):
A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not on the branch, but on her own wings. Always believe in yourself.
I was also thinking about how this relates to worrying, taking action, preparing for emergencies, giving yourself permission, and clearing mental clutter.
And I had an idea.
The Accomplishment List
But first, have you ever done the exercise where you make a list of your past accomplishments to remind yourself how awesome you are, and to lift your spirits when needed?
It’s a worthwhile exercise, if you haven’t!
Just sit quietly, with pen and paper, and think about your life, starting when you were young. What do you remember doing that you are proud of? Write it down. Have you ever won an award? Developed a skill? Write them down. Did you earn a degree or certificate? Solve a problem? Raise children? Write them down. What did you help someone with that really made a difference? Write it down. Can you list 10 things? 50? Keep the list handy so you can refer to it, and add to it.
The Survival List
Well…(and here is my new idea)…I decided to make a list of unfortunate events that I have overcome — survived — in my life:
- physical health issues
- relationship breakups
- career downsizing and lost job opportunities
- death of a parent
- sudden and extremely expensive car and home repairs
- home burglaries
- deaths of friends and pets
- financial difficulties
Do these sound familiar to anyone else? I’m sure there’s more. I’ll add them to my private list as I think of them.
But….ack! Why on earth would I want to make such a depressing list?!?!
Because things happen. (Branches break.)
And thus far I’ve overcome them all. (I’ve learned to trust my own wings!)
I find that reassuring…don’t you?
If something happens — and it always does (branches break) — I just think, “OK, what am I going to do about it?” (Trust my own wings, that’s what.) And, after a suitable period of feeling sorry for myself, if it’s something within my control, I take action.
Really, what’s to be afraid of? In some ways, hasn’t the worst already happened to most of us? And here we still are.
Which reminds me of another anonymous quote:
On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad bays so far is 100% and that’s pretty good.
What have YOU overcome that makes you realize you really have nothing to worry about, or to be afraid of?
Extra points if you didn’t just endure the circumstances, but overcame them by using (or developing) your survival skills.
(If you are still worried and fearful, perhaps you need to consult The Worry Matrix.)
Please share with us in the comments. Or, if you prefer, just make your own private list.
Remember: Always believe in yourself!
And (quote origin debatable): Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.
Copyright 2014-2018 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life
Social media links directly to this page are encouraged!
Please contact me for other types of reprint permission.
Great post, Hazel. I’ve already started my list, which is very long – which means I am super awesome!
Thanks, Anne! And yes…you are super awesome! 🙂
Have faith in your own strength! It is amazing how resilient the human spirit can be, and Hazel, you have a beautiful spirit. Thank you for the post, we are all super women (and men).
How sweet, Chris. Thank you! Oh, and you’re welcome, too!
Great post, Hazel! You are truly an inspiration.
Yes! Whenever things go badly, I always remind myself that I’ve been through worse.
I’m thinking now of the phrase, “This too shall pass”….maybe we should change it to: “This too shall pass, and this too will I deal with successfully, and learn from, and find the humor in one day.”
I want to thank you so much for this article. I am going through a period of self-doubt and feeling inadequate. Reading your article is such a profound “pick-me-up” and reality check! I am going to print it and read it whenever I am in fear or worry. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this article!!
Oh Nancy….your comment made my day! I always hope that what I am writing will help someone. I’m glad it was you today. Never forget to always believe in yourself!
Great post, Hazel. You are right, even though things seem monumental at the time, we wake up to another day and continue on, I think that is an important thing to remember.
I once heard a busy mother remember telling herself, “I’m not sure I can do this.” But then she said she simultaneously thought, “Well, actually I guess I am doing this.” Self-talk is so important! Be kind and encourage yourself:)
I do that, especially if it’s something I’ve procrastinated on, when I finally get started (usually the hardest part) and I get on a roll, I say to myself, half out of disbelief, half out of relief, “I’M DOING IT!!!” Lol!
Brilliant! What an excellent reminder that we ALL need to hear. I love the quote about the bird trusting its wings and not worrying about the branch that might break. I also appreciate the list you shared of life events that test us to the core. They absolutely resonate with me. And there are periods when we’re tested more regularly than others. Thinking about the past times of how we got through and the inner strengths we relied on, has helped. And again, your reminder is so much appreciated.
Just the other day I was thinking about writing a note to my younger self. And then future thinking about writing a note to myself as if it was 20 years from now looking back to now. Sometimes we forget about the self-knowledge and insights we have and just need to remind ourselves of that.
As always, I appreciate your thought-provoking post.
This exercise could totally be a first step in writing such a letter to one’s self! Good idea, Linda. I think we would all have more insight if we would only stop and think about it. And we do forget. All the time. I just created a customizable app in my head that you program to remind you daily of a lovely memory or accomplishment: “Remember when you spoke to the group that gave you the standing ovation? That was awesome!” Or, “Remember when you were driving alone in the Camargue region of France and you saw the men with guns and dogs, and you were afraid at first, but you figured out they were just hunters, and it was so wild and beautiful?” What do you think?
Such a thought-provoking post, Hazel! It makes me think how I (and I think you too) have a jar I keep throughout the year that I stuff with notes of happy memories and then open and read on New Year’s Day. Maybe I need an obstacle jar too, to remind me that I made it through the year despite those “broken branches!” Thank you for your positivity today!
Yes, mine is a box (see The Gratitude Box blog post). I find it hard to be grateful for tough times when they are happening, but if one made a list of things to be grateful for having overcome, it could totally go in the jar or box! Thanks for tying those two things together, Sarah!
I like the idea of a list of “unfortunate events that I have overcome.” Perhaps it could be called the Survival List. Thank you for sharing your widsom, Hazel.
Or maybe Survivor List? Survival List reminds me of emergency preparedness. Although ….that IS what we’re talking about, right? Ways to prepare one’s self for inevitable hardships and not dread them so much or hope them away?
This is a fabulous post, Hazel. I have never thought of making a list of things I’ve overcome, or how that list could help with positivity. Thanks for the idea!
Overcoming treacherous parts of your life is hard, but every one else is doing it. Great post, I enjoyed reading it and helping contribute to my self development.
What an important message to continue sharing. I’m glad you brought it back again and highlit it for us to see. Life has darkness, and we all need tools to help us through. Finding that inner strength, knowing that we can endure and to grow it sometimes all we need to keep during those challenging times. A few years ago I worked on a happiness or positivity project that combined pictures, words, descriptions of personal discoveries, accomplishments, and words of encouragement and support from others. Every so often I revisit it. It gives me a boost and fills me with an immense amount of gratitude.
Thanks, Linda. I think any sort of gratitude or happiness project helps boost self-esteem too!
I don’t think you can share this too many times, Hazel! I forget this lesson over and over again, appreciate the gentle reminder today: “Really, what’s to be afraid of? In some ways, hasn’t the worst already happened to most of us? And here we still are.” Yes indeed.
This post, Hazel? It’s worth the price of admission. It was exactly what I needed to read exactly when I needed to read it. I’m going to keep this tab open for a while and keep a running list — it’s easy to “yeah, yeah” one’s own accomplishments, but being able to see where we’ve survived is really empowering. Thank you!
Great post Hazel. My branch broke when my husband passed away 20 months ago. I am fluttering not fully flying yet but getting there. This was a great read for me. I lost my mom 4 months before losing Bill, what a hard year 2018 was for me. But I am a pusher, doer, flyer. I push through adversity but yes I sometimes get tired. This was a great reminder. Thank you for this
I know it’s still hard for you, Lisa. Just think — if you can overcome this (which you ARE doing), you can overcome anything!