My theme today is “Difficult Roads Often Lead to Beautiful Destinations.” Now, I know that today’s thought is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re slogging through hard times. I get it. We’ve all been there, but if you were truthful with yourself, you’d have to admit that, more often than not, when you do come through the storm and land on the other side, it’s usually never as bad as you thought or expected it to be. And if it was a miserable experience, you can count yourself lucky to have survived.
The truth is that many times in life and love, and family and friends the difficult road you find yourself traveling today, with all its frustration and pain and agony, will, in time, lead to a beautiful destination.
We all go through hard times, and when my friends and clients tell me their woes in life, I am reminded of the quote I read years ago, Falling down is an accident; staying down is a choice. I love that thought because we all know that, sometimes, staying down is a whole lot easier than getting back up to fight another day. But we also know that staring at the floor isn’t going to get you very far in this life…so your responsibility is to get up and get going.
In our time together I want to focus on some very basic truths that I have seen in my life’s works, which have given me the confidence to encourage you to fight through whatever it is that you’re going through. No matter what is going on in your life, trust me when I ask that you let the issue, whatever it is, run its course and then make a decision based on what you’ve learned.
In the end, your choice that life will give you will be one of a few recognizable outcomes; most will deliver as a success or failure, but some will simply be an issue of not right now, meaning that, in time, the event you think you cannot abide, your idea, concept or relationship will find an ending. And be aware that, no matter what happens in the end, it will be alright, because no matter what road you choose, all difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.
I know you want it to be easy, to be over, to be on your way–that would be the ideal–however, that is rare in today’s world where one tweet or Facebook post can jerk you right back to the middle of all the mess you had just walked away from.
So, no matter what is in your way today, let’s focus on three ideas that I believe will give you guidance to make the best decision for you, your family and your future.
First, believe me when I tell you that obstacles don’t have to stop you.
Second, know the difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough.
Third, sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.
You know that obstacles don’t have to stop you. You’ve got to push hard against the machine if you want to win. There is no doubt that you will, at some point in your successful life, run smack into a wall, but the key to all success in life is not to turn around and give up, but to figure out how to climb it, go through it, dig it or walk around it. You’ve got to believe that everything is going to be alright, maybe not today but eventually it will settle.
I am a fan of Marcus Lemonis of “The Profit,” and he is famous for saying, “trust the process, ™”and I completely agree. You know if you’ve been alive for more than 35 years, in life there is a process that, many times, we can’t visibly see but instinctively we know that it is there. And we know that the path, if acknowledged and respected in the end (and it might be the very end) will all come to realization as it was meant to be, maybe not as you had hoped for, prayed for or begged for, but rest assured that it is as it should be.
My second thought is this, know the difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough. The idea of giving up isn’t always a bad thing. Think about it. When you stop putting all your time and energy into something that is leading you nowhere or is not in the path that you should be going, friend, you need to free yourself so you can focus on your path for success.
Many counselors will tell you that when you give up you are making the decision that what you are going through needs to stop immediately in order for your current life to be better. In contrast, when you walk away from a situation, it is usually because you have decided that you have had enough and that decision is based off the future. Life wisdom is making your decisions based off the long-term future outcome. I grew up hearing this saying, don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.
The difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough is when you choose to live the life you have imagined for yourself long-term.
Third (and I really hated to bring this one up on Valentines weekend), sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t. The hard truth is that you can’t change people, they have to change themselves, and the sooner you realize this universal truth, the sooner you will be able to heal and move down that difficult road to a more beautiful destination.
I know for most of us it is not in our nature to walk away from someone we once loved, whether it is family or friend, or who we felt once loved us, but when that bond is broken, it is at that point you need to, with eyes and heart wide open, see the situation for what it is, and then close the chapter in your book.
I suppose most of us, because of family and education and the media, feel that we need to fight for the one we love or we’re not showing love if we just walk away. But, remember, this isn’t about you anymore, it is about them and their choice whether you like it or not. They made a choice, and you cannot control them. Ah, friend, you do not have the power in this situation and you’re fooling yourself if you think you do. Now, you may be able to wear them down for a while with your emotional distress, but the sharp edge of uncertainty will, in the end, cut you deeply.
Understand this truth, you cannot change other people. You only change your response to other people, and accept that you may have to give up on them, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.
Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations, and the destinations will be found on your life path. Whether it is the obstacles you must overcome, the internal knowing when you’ve had enough or the heartbreaking truth of accepting when it is time to walk to away, friend, trust the process that has been in place since time began, and re-learn to trust yourself to know that you’ll be guided to do the right thing for you and your life.
Let me leave you with this thought: Friend, be strong, because things will get better. It may be stormy now, but, remember, it never rains forever, and when the light dawns on that new day, it will be a beautiful destination of your choosing.
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