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Last Updated on December 22, 2019

12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead

12 Sad Things That You Should Learn to Be Grateful For Instead

The best part about life is how unpredictable it can be. Unfortunately, that can also be what many consider to be the worst part of life too. The unpredictable roller-coaster of life offers many people the hope for a better tomorrow. It also creates the worry that others have that causes them to wait for “the other shoe to drop”.

This brings the question of how should you handle sad things. If sad things are a part of life, why does it seem some handle life a little better than others?

The key lies within the perspective you give the events in your life.

When sad things happen to you or someone you know, what do you tell yourself? If you speak negatively to yourself and internalize the event, then you are only going to make things worse. When you tell yourself “you always mess up“ or “you deserve this bad thing to happen in your life“, you turn yourself into the victim.

Do not allow sad things in your life become your life. Instead, assign the blame outside of yourself.[1]

Tell yourself things like, “this could have happened to anyone“ or “things could have been much worse.“ This subtle shift in mindset enables you to bounce back much quicker. This is because you are no longer assigning your self-value based on the events in your life.

It is never fun to blame yourself for things you could not control. That is why it is better to focus what you can control; things like your attitude, reaction, and mindset when you are sad.

Instead of focusing on what went wrong, try to focus on what went right. It is rare that everything goes wrong. Even though you may feel that way in the moment, if you take a moment to assess the situation, you will realize there is always something to be grateful about.

Here’s how to give these sad things meaning and learn to be grateful about them:

1. Death of a Parent

The death of a loved one is always difficult, especially your parent. They have mentored, cared and given you the best years of their life. They believed in you when others doubted you and they were always your biggest fan. It feels like there is a void that will never be filled.

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Keep in mind that the beauty of life is the fact that it ends. That is what make how we live each day so important. One of the cool things about a funeral is all the stories you get to hear about the person. It is a reminder that they were human just like you. They had dreams, aspirations, and fears. Funerals should be focused on celebrating the life more than mourning the death.

2. Being Diagnosed with a Disease

You are sitting in the doctor’s office. You have not been feeling well over the past couple weeks and assume it is nothing big. You probably went to the doctor just to be on the safe side. The doctor sends you home and says they will call in the week with the results. A few days later, you get the call from the doctor’s office and find out you have a serious disease.

This can feel like a punch to the gut. You went from feeling invincible to feeling like your life will never be the same. Whenever you have the ability to know what is going on inside of you, think of it as a blessing. Your body is designed to signal to you when things are not working at optimum levels.

Another way of thinking about this is if you could not feel the burning oven, you would not know to move your hand and could end up losing it. The same goes for when you are diagnosed with a disease. You now have the knowledge to make changes in your life.

3. Ending a Marriage

Change is one of the few guarantees you have in life. Overtime, partners can grow closer together or they can grow further apart. While divorce is not something to be taken lightly, neither is staying together. Marriage is where two people with different backgrounds, beliefs and feelings come together to create a new person. This person should be balanced, compassionate, and considerate of their spouse.

It is hard to end a relationship that was supposed to last forever. However, staying in an abusive or toxic relationship is not good for your health. In some situations, it would be better to live alone than it would be to stay with your spouse.

It is never a failure to make the best decision with the best information you have available. If the information that resulted in your marriage were to drastically change over time, then there is nothing wrong with admitting that divorce is a reasonable conclusion.

4. Losing Your Job

Losing your job is a tough one because of the amount of time you spend at work. Outside of sleeping, most people spend the majority of their life at work.

This causes the loss of job to feel like failure and a loss of identify. Not to mention a lack of income to cover your lifestyle.

While this may be the case for many, losing your job may be the opportunity you need to chase your dream life. Each of us have settled at some point in our life and we look for a sign that we should strive for something more.

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If you find yourself performing well at your work and you were fired for a reason you were not aware of, then it might be a sign you were not meant to be there.

5. Children Moving Away

As you age, the sad things in your life will transform as well. You have spent the better part of twenty years raising your kids to be upstanding adults. It never seemed as if they would ever grow up, but somehow they have. They not only want to move out of the house, but they want to move out of the state or country.

In this moment, you realize your relationship with your children is never going to be the same again. Much like losing your job, you have devoted so much time over the last few decades into raising your children. The idea that they “don’t need you” is a sad thing many parents have to endure.

While it may not feel this way all the time, it is actually a time to celebrate. For your children to have the option to move away from home, it means you have set them up for success. You have taught them how to be independent and courageous individuals.

The truth is, you do not really want them to live with you forever. You are nervous about the uncertainty and change in your life, but you are excited to see what your children make of their own.

Here’re some tips to help you cope with this: How to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again

6. Failed Business Venture

You had a vision and took a leap of faith. You invested half of your retirement into starting a business. You feel the business will work as long as you do not give up. As a result, you continue to pour additional resources into your failing business.

When you are out of money and the bills are mounting, you are left with no other option than to close up the shop. This feeling can be one of the toughest times in your life. Not only do you find yourself with a failed company, but no money for your retirement.

It is unfortunate that so many people look at failure as a bad thing. Failure is actually a very good thing. Failure means you have taken a risk and learned something you can only learn by taking action.

This information could be the missing piece to your next successful business venture. If it is not, you at least get to live with the peace of mind that you went for it. Too often, people find themselves playing it safe and end up with a life filled with regret. By taking risks and allowing yourself to fail, it is less likely you will have a feeling of regret later in life.[2].

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7. Not Performing Your Best on the Big Stage

People tend to believe they only have one opportunity on the big stage and when it is gone, it is gone forever. While the circumstances may not be the exact same, you will always have another opportunity. Life provides you with the amazing ability to learn and grow from your experiences.

If you feel you were not well prepared for the event, this experience will ensure you that there will be the next time. This is often the case when people talk about sporting events. The team that has been the Super Bowl or the World Series before usually is given the edge when the talent of the two teams is similar. By having experienced the big game already, they know what the moment feels like and can prepare accordingly.

8. Investment Didn’t Work

You thought you found the next big thing and poured your entire fortune into this project only to find out the CEO was a crook and ran off with the money. Sounds crazy? Of course it does. However, things like this happen more often than we like to realize.

Whether you are talking about a Ponzi or pyramid scheme, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You need to do your research and make sure you are not looking for a get-rich quick scheme.

The good news is, money is something you can always replenish. Money is not as precious as time. Time is something you cannot get back.

9. Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You Back

It is a sad thing when you love someone and they don’t love you back. The best thing you can do it is to admit your feelings and see how they feel. You may discover they feel the same way, but you may also discover they do not see you that way.

The best thing that can happen is for you to have the chance to know how they feel, so you can determine if you want to continue to pursue them. The worst thing that can happen is you never tell someone how you feel and they never tell you how they feel. Then you are living a life of stagnation. You do not have the closure needed to move on and you may find yourself alone and full of regret.

By telling someone you love them and finding out they are not interested in you, you are free (in-time) to move and find someone who completes you.

10. Ruined a Relationship

Similar to a marriage, if your relationship with a close friend or family member grows apart, you should take a moment to understand the cause. If you were in high school together and one of you moved away to attend college and the other stayed in town, then geography and interest have driven you apart.

If you are married with children and your friend is single and ready to mingle, then it stands to reason that your relationship may strain.

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The best thing you can do in any situation is be as authentic and honest as possible. You never want to maintain a relationship by forcing yourself to be something that you are not. By being your authentic self, you will always draw people with similar passions to you and repel those who have a lack of interest.

There’re also more lessons to learn from a failed relationship: 8 Important Lessons You Can Learn from a Failed Marriage

11. Abandoned as a Child

The feeling of rejection is one of the most difficult feelings to grapple. It is why people fear public speaking more than they fear death. The fear of rejection is also why people hate cold calling and dislike sales in general.

Everyone likes to feel wanted and accepted for who they are. When your parents abandoned you early in your life, it is something that many people cannot overcome.

While the result may not have been what you would have done, consider the possibility that you were raised in a better environment than your parents would have provided. If that was not the case, your children will benefit by your promise to never abandon them.

Sometimes sad things happened in our life and there is nothing we could have done about it. Yet, the experience enables you to understand the importance of shielding your children from the feeling of abandonment.

12. No Luck Having Kids

You grew up in a big family and your dream is to have a big family of your own. As you have noticed with the sad things we have discussed so far, life does not always go as we plan. Having difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a baby to full-term is tough on everyone.

The good news is there are a lot of kids in the world who need your love. Whether you travel down the road of adoption, or you choose to volunteer your time as a mentor. You still have the ability to significantly impact the life of a child and they will love you for it.

Final Thoughts

There is nothing anyone can do to avoid sad things occurring in their life. Sad things are going to happen whether you are chasing your dreams or playing it safe. The best thing you can do is to give yourself the opportunity to live your dream life by taking risks. These risks may not always work out as you intended, but they will always place you exactly where you need to be.

As I always say, be content in results, not complacent in effort. As long as you did your best, you can be grateful for the experiences, no matter where they take you.

More to Be Grateful For

Featured photo credit: Maria Oswalt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Shame and the Pendulum of Blame
[2] Pennsylvania State University: Regret in Decision Making

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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