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Feeling good sometimes requires work! Life naturally presents us with ups and downs. I believe we must learn to go with the flow through this journey we call life. How can one know happiness without the experience of sadness? How can one appreciate abundance without first experiencing lack? How can one truly strive for success without the experience of failure? How can one appreciate the beautiful rainbow without experiencing rain? It takes a great deal of courage and strength to successfully navigate through life - any life! Someone once told me that every person has a story that will break your heart. This statement was a turning point in my life. What I have since discovered is that every person faces trials and tribulations. The specifics of the story, and how it affects that individual, are always unique. The question is, "What has their experience created within them?" Are they drowning in victim mentality or have they risen above the trauma and created a life worth living? I recently was acquainted with a woman spending her life seeking sympathy. When she finds herself experiencing consequences, for her less than favourable actions, she immediately turns on the tears and begins talking about how rough life has been for her since her mother died at a young age. It makes me wonder how this woman can ever hope to find happiness when she insists on wallowing in her own self-pity. On the flip side, I have seen many people thrive in life regardless of their experiences. For instance, I have an old friend that buried not one, but two of her young children - one as an infant and the other a toddler. While this was certainly devastating for her and her family they did not let it destroy them. Given enough time, they found it within themselves to accept what is and move on. A new acquaintance in my life has experienced poverty to the point of hunger and homelessness. Did it break her spirit? No! She has found a new home and is taking the necessary action to put her life back together. Why, you might wonder, does it destroy some and not others. It is all about choice. Some choose to live their life in victim mode while others take their life experiences as challenges only to rise above them. A small part of the problem for the victims is the pay-off they are receiving for remaining where they are. Perhaps they enjoy the attention and sympathy. On the other hand, the survivors thrive on challenge and change. They open their eyes to their misfortune, accept it for what it is and find a way to move forward with the motto, "Life is worth


living." The question might then become, "How do they do that?" Indeed, there is no easy answer, especially since each life is as unique as their specific challenge. However, I do believe, one must first summon the desire to overcome the hurdle and want better. It also depends on how strong that desire becomes. When I look back on my life I remember one small step I took towards my dream of living a life full of love, harmony and joy after leaving my abusive marriage. For me, and my children, life back then was in such turmoil. It lead me to experience severe anxiety attacks. However, with my strong desire to create a happy life I decided giving up was not an option. Instead of wallowing in my self-pity, choosing to believe there was no way out, I create an affirmation for myself to use in times of trial. Whenever life was attempting to knock me down I would take the time to focus on my breathing (deep breaths) and repeat: I want to be happy. I intend to be happy. I am happy. I would repeat this affirmation as many times as necessary until my emotions began to shift from "doom and gloom" to "hope". Honestly, sometimes all we can hold onto in times of despair is hope and/or faith! Now this was not magical formula to cure my mood, but it did manage to change my focus. It certainly fueled my determination to be happy. By refusing to let life knock me down, I found one small step to keep moving forward. Sometimes one small step is all you need to keep climbing that mountain. My motto is, "Baby steps lead to steps, steps lead to strides, and strides lead you to your dream goal." Try it, you just might like it!

Kathryn Lee-Ryder is dedicated to helping abused women find a whole new beginning in their life. Find more resources @ http://www.journeytofreedom.ca

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Feeling Good - One Step at a Time