Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all (Dale Carnegie).  Hope is the very engine of living.  Without hope, people often give up and it’s a short few steps from there to death (whether it’s an actual death or a living death).  When we are hopeless, we have two options–to keep trying or to give up.  If we have no hope then there really is nothing to lose by continuing to try.  Without hope there would be nothing to lose.  Therefore, never give up and keep trying regardless of whether there is hope or not.  The only way to truly fail is to stop trying.  As long as we are trying we are not done, we have not given up, we have not lost, and there is still hope.  Separate feelings from decisions.  Don’t let feelings dictate actions.  Practice continuing the effort regardless of the feelings.  Make a commitment to do things when we don’t “feel like it” and go against negative feelings by making choices regardless.  Feelings don’t ask for permission–they just come.  We do not have to let random or unpredictable feelings control our lives.  If we have made plans and then wake up “not feeling like it” we could still fulfil our plans.  The myth that feelings are accurate and justifiable reasons for doing or not doing something is not empowering.  If we make conscious choices and not allow our feelings to alter them, little by little we gain control of our lives.  When we control our choices and our decisions, we ultimately control our future.  We do not have to allow things that happen throughout the day or feelings that surface to control us.  We can, instead, move forward regardless.  We can, rather, smile when someone else frowns at us.  We do not have to give our power away to others, circumstances, and even our own physical responses.  We can use our minds to transcend external and internal influences and carry on, carry on.  We can use the phrase “this, too, shall pass” when having a bad spell or moment.  Life is made of ups and downs.  The ups, of course, pass and the downs, too, pass.  It’s a steady rhythm we can count on.  There will be good times and there will be bad times.  We simply ride out the bad times and enjoy the good times.  When I recognize I’m experiencing a bad phase in life (and it’s really obvious when this happens), instead of feeling sorry for myself and catastrophizing, I tell myself “here we go again–time to buckle up and hang on tight” and then work on just getting through.  Sometimes the bad phases last several months (the last one lasted nine months).  When the bad time is finally over I look back and realize all my growth and strength that came of it.  No, these times are not pleasant in any way.  I’m always glad when it’s over but I also recognize there were benefits (lessons learned, character gained, and priorities straightened).  Never give up hope and when you feel hopeless then never give up. 2017



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