How to Keep it Together

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Round Table Companies, Inc. Alesia Shute - bizmom.com article September 24, 2010
The Tipping Point - How To Keep It Together When You're at the Edge
Over the course of my 40-plus years, I have been at the edge many times. As a child who battled cancer, I didn't exactly know I was trying so hard to keep it together, but there certainly were times when I just wanted to give up fighting and simply be a "normal" kid. As a cancer survivor who continued to have trouble and trauma well into my 20s and 30s, I now know how close to the edge I can get and can only imagine how my parents felt taking care of me as a child. But in situations like mine-and that of my parents-we had two choices: to either keep it together-or not. It's that simple. Amazingly, when you keep it together, you project a positive vibe that people want to be around. When you "lose it" (so to speak) and constantly drone on about all the trouble in your life (whether you or someone you are caring for is sick or not), you push people away. Taking on life with a glass half-full perspective is much more rewarding then bringing yourself-and others-down with a half-empty outlook.
The kicker is trying to keep it together in your darkest moments when you feel like you've hit rock bottom. If you feel yourself close to the tipping point, what are the critical steps that you can take to keep yourself positive about your illness or that of your child, and what are the triggers that might send you down an even darker path? Here are some thoughts:
- Surround yourself with positive people. Find your closest friends and go see a funny movie, share a glass of wine, or do something that takes your mind off the heavy weight you're carrying. No, it won't make that weight go away, but it will alleviate some of the stress that's causing you to feel down. You'll step back into your situation ready to tackle the problem feeling a bit recharged, thanks to your "mini-vacation."
Round Table Companies, Inc. Alesia Shute - bizmom.com article September 24, 2010
- Avoid those people who bring you down. Misery does not love company, in your case. You have enough on your shoulders and don't need to worry about someone else's complaints or problems. While you may want to be empathetic, someone who is constantly harping on all the bad things in their life is going to bring you down, too. And as a result, you'll be the one projecting misery, and people will shy away from you. You're not being mean by steering clear of the downers, but right now, you need to surround yourself with good, positive energy.
- Pick an argument with yourself. I know this sounds crazy, but you can lift yourself up with words of encouragement from your number one fan-you! As an adult, I was on the way to the hospital for yet another emergency with my husband, and I kept saying to myself that I wasn't going to let them operate on me-that I just couldn't do it again. So I argued with myself on the way to the hospital: I wasn't on my death bed; I could do this! And I quickly took my negative outlook and turned it into a positive.
- Know who your supporters are when you're at your lowest. Who are the people you can truly turn to when you are feeling half full, who will understand that you simply need to vent for a bit? For me, my mom and dad, and now my husband, are my biggest fans. I turn to them when I need a positive pick-me-up. Who can pick you up when you need it most?
We all hit that tipping point in our daily lives-whether we're healthy or struggling with a life-threatening disease-and sometimes it's tough to stay in the positive world. But remember that a positive attitude simply breeds more positive, and right now, you need to feel good. Take a deep breath. Know that you're giving it your all in your battle. And
Round Table Companies, Inc. Alesia Shute - bizmom.com article September 24, 2010
then turn to those closest to you when you feel like you're tipping too much the wrong way.
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