4 Important Life Lessons That Can Change Your Life

Life has this weird way of showing you what you are capable of, and of course what you still need to work on. I always say, "God's testing me today!" But in reality, we also need the good, bad and the ugly, along with the happy and the sad. We should be able to find a piece of joy in the midst of life's chaos. But I admit, sometimes it's so difficult to find a crumb of joy when you are in that miserable state of depression. I used to stay way too comfortable there, until it was agonizing to find my way back out of that pit. And of course---it's OK not to be OK. Feel the feels, but please don't stay there too long. 

Happiness Is Not The Absence of Problems - It's the Ability to Deal With Them

Easier said than done, right? Even if you are unable to "deal with them" --- doing nothing at all is still a decision, (I think that was quoted in a Rush song.) When in doubt---do nothing. Then there are times when you need to let yourself go with the flow. I remember when my dad passed away and I was welcoming people into the funeral parlor where his ashes and photos were displayed. I kept it together, because I had to for my mom. People hugged me, told me they were sorry for my loss, and then moved toward the center of the room. No one appointed me to be the greeter, it just happened I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, so to speak. One lady we knew came up to me for a hug, and also tossed around some funny memories of my dad. He was such a comic! And we started laughing. There are so many people who find it incredibly inappropriate to laugh at a funeral. Then I noticed more people walking up to us, wanting to absorb the positive energy that was being exchanged. Of course we had one person who came said, "I don't think this is the right time to be laughing." He didn't even know my father or had ever met him. So I said, "If if offends you---you're more than welcome to leave. We are talking about my dad's funniest moments." 

You NEED a relief when you are grieving, or in a depression. You NEED something that'll soothe you, while you're going through the rough times, whether it be a good comedy, a bowl of ice-cream, or just another friend to laugh with. Laughter has proven longevity! It's not "disrespectful" to find joy in a very sad time of your life. This is your "harm reduction" tool----and it's the best one. I used to find my "harm reduction" tool by drowning my sorrows with alcohol, but now I find it in my prayer time and being around good people, cooking delicious food and exercise. I found new ways to cope with my 'not-so-pleasant' times in my life. Don't ever feel guilty about finding happiness in a sad season of your life. Remember how beautiful it is when the sun shines through the rain. We gasp and try to take pictures of it---that's how beautiful it is. And then, the rainbow appears. The same for you smiling through your difficult seasons. 

Feeling Sad After Making a Decision Doesn't Mean It Was the Wrong Decision

I truly believe some decisions are all about fate and God's will. It may seem like a "bad" decision, when in fact, it may have saved your life. I have a friend whose husband was driving to work over at the World Trade Center on 9/11. He was running late because he hadn't eaten anything, and decided to stop to grab a bagel and cup of coffee. On top of that, he ran into traffic. He missed the tragedy that killed so many people. I truly believe that God saves some of us because we have a purpose that goes beyond the scope of what we can see. Our decisions can be blocked due to God's will. 

Do you ever feel guilty when you decide to keep certain people at a comfortable distance? Maybe decline invites, press "go to voice mail," or just decide that this person isn't good for your overall wellbeing? Whenever I do this, it's usually because I found out either my friend had been lying about something important, or just being two-faced and not genuine overall. Whatever the case---it is your decision to choose that distance, or separation. Forgiveness doesn't require reconciliation. If it does, then that's a wonderful thing, but you have to choose *YOU* when forgiveness means opening the door to another chaotic event or any type of verbal or physical abuse. What's that famous line? People come into our lives for a season, a reason and for a lifetime---I truly believe that. 

You're Not Stressed Because You're Doing Too Much, You're stressed Because You're Doing Too Little of What Makes You Feel Most Alive

I hear people say they don't have the time to do the things they love, or they feel hesitant or guilty about doing something that makes them happiest. Especially after the last couple of years, many people haven't even seen some of their family and friends yet, or if they did, it is not often enough like it used to be. These life changes can affect our mood and mental health. It can also lead into negative thought patterns, assuming your family and friends don't want to be around you, or that you're not good enough to play whichever sport made you feel alive. Anything you used to love to do, is still there and able to be enjoyed again. Honestly, I haven't really picked up my guitar in a couple of years, and when I did, it was short-lived. The other day, I spent about 2 hours playing my guitar and it was so therapeutic---I had forgotten how much pleasure I get from playing guitar and writing music. Even the work that I do is something I enjoy. Every job I have right now used to be a hobby at one time. So I am grateful that when I do step into my office, it's not like the dreaded days of doing accounting in IBM. That was a snore fest. Make sure you love what you do and if you don't, find ways to get back to what made you feel alive. 

The Lesson You Struggle With Will Repeat Itself Until You Learn From It

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." --Albert Einstein 

Stop being a people pleaser. I keep running around this mountain too, because I want to be of help or if someone needs anything, I'd like to be there for them. But that's not humanly possible every second of the day. I try my best to give, help or be the person to go to if they need an ear. But sometimes, people will not appreciate what you have to offer, whether it's due to an underlining resentment or jealousy issue, or maybe they're just unappreciative of anything in life. I had to learn that my time and whatever I have to offer is valuable, and some people don't deserve it. So what I'm saying to you is: who are you overextending yourself for, and why? Some folks have an incredible talent to be an adult bully if someone disagrees with them or says that dreaded word: "NO." Most narcissists hate rejection or the word "no" when asked to do something. They make the other person feel guilty and manipulate them into thinking that they're a bad person. Boundaries are so important during this time, and so is the word, "no." 

Self-medicating. This was a huge lesson for me. If I was stressed or having anxiety, I went straight to the freezer to grab the vodka and poor me a straight up martini. Life was good for about 3-4 hours, until I went to bed and found myself with my heart racing out of my chest at 200 bpm for never 24 hours afterward. Many hospital stays later, I learned that the alcohol was bad for my heart. I get a reaction that most people don't get---tachycardia. When the alcohol starts leaving the body, my heart starts racing like a bandit. When the hospital's cardiologist sat at my bedside and said, "If you keep doing this to yourself, one day your heart's gonna get tired." That was February 6th, 2021. I'm almost two years sober today and I have definitely learned my lesson. My days are more productive, my work has excelled and I'm feeling so much better than I once did. Sometimes, you have to just go through the muck in order to learn that life lesson. I'm glad I did. I'll never forget it. 

What's a life lesson you learned the hard way? 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com for some of her famous recipes and check out her Instagram full of food videos!