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Where do you draw strength from?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm just popping in hoping to get a bit of insight/inspiration.

When you've had difficult times in your life, how do you cope? When you've gone through multiple disappointments and difficulties, and you're having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...what inspires you, gives you hope, and strengthens you to keep going?

Do you have an outlet for your negative emotions, or do you try to just find the light and keep looking for the positive side?
post #2 of 22
I have hit rock bottom in my life, and knew at that time I had a decision to make. How was I going to handle myself in such a dire situation? I made the decisions as to what was important to me - I would not lie, I would not steal, I would not shop lift. Getting to the core of my values, sticking to them, is something I have been able to look at ever since. The experience, which happened my first year after graduating college the first time (went back for a second degree in my late 20s), was my "school of hard knocks". Everything that could go wrong had - re job, health, relationships, car etc.

I have also drawn upon what I used to think was simply a bad character trait...I am stubborn. I've come to appreciate that this can be turned into a positive tool, it can be used as strength.

I've said this before, to a medical student undergoing a horrific first year - you can't control those around you, what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. He took it to heart, and I was able to see him perservere.

hope any of the above helps.

ps honestly? the last time I had an awful panic, dh unreachable, horrible decision to make with an abruptly ill cat in true crisis, I simply asked God to help me..it was from the bottom of my soul, and I felt something give me a warm hug. Honest. It worked for me, I got the help I needed as I then talked with my vet, and was able to make the best decision. The deep fear and painful panic left.

Call it a placebo effect because I needed it, call it an angel, call it a guardian spirit, I suddenly was not alone.
post #3 of 22
My strength comes from within. I have had some truly dark times in my life and I have managed to keep my head above water through a combination of Hurculean effort and a sheer stubbornness to die. We all have a fighter within us, and people are far more resilient than they give themselves credit for...
post #4 of 22
My mom had a saying. When the going gets tough, the tough do laundry. What she meant by this statement was to find a mundane routine activity and do it. Something you don't have to focus your attention on because you are distracted by the difficult situation. By doing that activity you are accomplishing something, which makes you feel better, and because it is mundane, it frees your mind to work thru the problem. This was her response to life when my dad passed away.

I use it for really bad times, and amazingly, it works. The other thing I've added is to only eat comfort food. DH knows when I come home and make chicken and dumplings, to cater to my every need that night.
post #5 of 22
What a good question. I really had to think about it, too... and my answers surprised me:

1. In moments of acute distress, my Pearl always comes running to comfort me, and it works every time. Her sweet, loving little spirit reminds me how lucky I am and makes me think of everything that's good in the world... and the pain eases.

2. My best friend and former significant other, Rush, who lives down in Austin, is always there for me. No matter what's happening, I can tell it to Rush and he will either get righteously outraged on my behalf and do some creative cussing-out of whoever has upset me (which makes me laugh and gets me on the route to recovery), or uncannily put his finger right on exactly what I need to do or say to resolve whatever conflict I'm having. Usually both.

3. Strange as it sounds, the other resource I turn to is myself. Even in my worst moments, I can usually bear in mind that despite my many failings, I am a good person at heart, and that gives me value as a human being... if not to the people I wish valued me, then at least to strangers I can be kind to, animals I can help at the shelter, etc. So now matter how someone may crush me, I know I'm not completely worthless.
post #6 of 22
I think there has been a lot of good advice and wisdom given from this thread

When I get in a rough spot....i pray for God's help. And I try to do everything I can to get myself out of a rough spot and into a better situation- i try to work hard and make things happen. If it's a situation out of my control- i know God never gives me more than I can handle...so i try to be wise in my decision making and understand some things are out of my control- but the things that aren't - i can make positive decisions and help impact them in a good way if that makes sense.

It also really helps me to be able to talk to Colin about stuff- he's given me soo much good advice- and i really appreciate knowing he's there for me. And when ALL else fails- i spend time with my family and my animals- I know they love me no matter what my situation or what kind of hard time i'm going through.
post #7 of 22
I pray like crazy! My prayers have always been answered, and I feel that if I turn to God he will always show me the way and let me know what to do. I even pray like crazy during good times just to thank God for everything he has blessed me with.... good husband, health, financial stability, good friends, family etc. Another thing I do in hard times is spend extra time with my family and friends because it is so comforting.
post #8 of 22
like Gene, my strength comes from within I put my head down and keep pushing till I get thru it. I also remember that life is full of ups and downs and "this too, shall pass" I also turn to my family for help and support, they've been there for me thru good and bad.
post #9 of 22
I am still working on that question. Ask me again in 50 years.

From what I figured out so far, it seems like ultimately, it has to come from within. At least in my case. I am not very close to my family and I have few people I can talk to about personal difficulties. I have also never believed in a higher power. So there isn't really anyone for me to turn to for help.

But recently, I have become very interested in studying and practicing Buddhism (which doesn't require faith in a higher power, so I'm happy with that). To me, it means that I have a set of belief and a community I can draw advice from. But ultimately, the inner strength and the will to get better has to come from me.

Sometimes I wish I could rely on someone else. It would be so much easier. But I think even if you have close friends / family or faith in God, these can provide some comfort and some advice, but ultimately, you need to find strength within yourself.

The good news is, most of us are stronger than we think.
post #10 of 22
I pray a lot, that gives me comfort. Of course, just being with Sash, giving him a big hug and kiss always makes me feel happy and more positive. My bf Will is great too, he's a much more positive person than I am. I always say I don't know what I would do if I was with someone who was like myself. I've been blessed with a wonderful man and sometimes it's still hard to pull through my dark times.
post #11 of 22
I always turn to my faith. My family is good, but my faith is first. Doesn't always make it better when I want it better, but it keeps me going.
post #12 of 22
Hmm... I think I just go with the flow. Rather than getting upset, angry, sad, etc about a situation, I just let things unfold on their own, but if there's something I can do to direct the outcome in my favor then I'll simply try my best at it. If things turn out sour, then I can't say I haven't tried.

I know it must sound awfully apathetic, but people have always relied on me during crisis situations because I never seen to panic, and I have a clear head and can think things through before acting on pressure. I can also adapt on the fly, when situations arise and change, I'll think accordingly rather than panicking about the new issue that just popped up out of the blue, or if something isn't working, I won't be afraid to ditch it and try something new.

I guess it's not really drawing strength from anywhere but being flexible.
post #13 of 22
Originally Posted by tuxedokitties View Post

When you've had difficult times in your life, how do you cope? Do you have an outlet for your negative emotions, or do you try to just find the light and keep looking for the positive side?
I read ( I love reading, it challenges me, helps me see different perspectives, and understand problems and life from different angles and levels of thinking) and take nature walks, they are good outlets. I also pray/meditate. I have a best friend that gives me inspiration. Like many, I also find most of my coping comes from within.
post #14 of 22
There are 2 things that really help me get through. My cats, and how determined I am to be a vet. No matter how bad things get, I just know I'm going to be a vet so I keep going. As for my kitties, they seem to know when I'm felling down and they always seem to be extra affectionate.
post #15 of 22
That's easy - thru the worse times (and the good) its God and Jesus. And DH and I have gotten each other thru good and bad times
post #16 of 22
Most of my life i've always turned to my mother because she lived through alot during her life and was very wise. Last April she passed away from cancer and i pretty much shut everyone out. I shoved my pain down so i didnt have to deal with it. Then last July my fiance died of a brain anerysm and i couldnt take it. Losing two important poeple turned my life upside down. People poured in and after a week it died down. NO phone calls or visits-- its like people just went on. I quickly learned who my true friends were. So now i turn to my friends for strength. Going through that expereince really strengthed our bond with one another. I just dont know what i'd do without them...through thick and thin...they are there. I hope that i'll be able to return what they've given me.
post #17 of 22
1) I pray - a lot. God has answered my prayers and comforted me through tough times. I feel comfort right away when I pray. I know He is listening.
2) Hug my husband. I love him more than anyone on earth. He's my best friend and listens carefully whenever I need him to. He may not have the answer, but he is there for me.
3) Pet and snuggle the kitties. If one of them purrs it helps a LOT. That sound is the most comforting sound in the world IMO.
4) Exercise. Going to the gym after a tough day releases an amazing amount of stress.
post #18 of 22
I always keep in mind that no matter how crummy my health or my situation is at any given moment that there are others far worse off than I have ever been. It keeps me grounded and prevents me from wallowing in self pity.
post #19 of 22
My whole life has been one big rough patch!! Now I like to think my daily crap as what anyone in their 20's has to go through, just struggling with the usual. which is much better then the earlier years so I can handle that. My animals, boyfriend and close friends are there when I need them. When john & I lost are job the same week in october and having all the pets and not finding a job until march and may, I don't know how we survived. I was almost at the point where I though I may need to adopt out my cats cuz I could barely afford to feed them or ourselves. I'm just lucky i have good friends that helped me with food and my grandma and uncle helped me a lot too. I'm getting sad thinking about all of that, it was insane...I was going insane. We had been in a similar position when I was 19-20 but we didn't have any of the cats or other critters at the time. Then we had the issue never getting in touch with the landlord and our heat always going out. We went in debt bad over it to make sure we paid rent to have a place to live. again thanks to the friends & family. Meditation and yoga is good too!! To be honest that is when I discovered this site and all of you is probably what kept me from losing my mind!
post #20 of 22
I think back almost three years ago when my one of my greatest fears came true-one of my neighbor's shot and killed my soulmate cat Sheba. After I found her body and called the police the next day I had to make the decision to pursue further legal action or not. Neil did not want me to but it was my decision. I was just sick and tired of this guy shooting so I told the police to file the report. I knew that there would be articles in the newspaper (and letters to the editor)and TV stations calling (they did) but I knew I could not let this stop me.

Sometimes I feel you have to make a stand. (my mom while I was growing up called me and sis "bullheaded".

While I cannot bring Sheba back I feel the actions I took made a difference.

I think everyone has that core of strength in them and that there will be some circumstance in your life that will cause you to find that strength and use it.
post #21 of 22
God and his son and our savior, Jesus the Christ.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all of these replies - We're all different in how we cope with things, but we all manage - I appreciate all of these thoughtful answers. Thank you!
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