Finding the Positive in Rejection

I’m privileged to blog for Novel.Academy about writing. Although I’ve been published in various Chicken Soup for the Soul books, I’m still struggling with my novel writing. I’m also interested in screenplays. Both of those seem like a pipe dream at times. But as daunting as it can be, I think it’s good to dream big.

But with many dreams, there are days of discouragement and rejection. So, while my post for Novel.Academy this week is geared toward writers, I think the words are true for all of life. The post is called “Secret to Victory: Let Rejection Your Fuel.”  Hope you will click the link and take a moment to read.

If you’re interested, my previous posts are linked below:

http://learnhowtowriteanovel.com/blog/2018/04/18/the-one-thing-all-writers-must-do/

http://learnhowtowriteanovel.com/blog/2018/03/07/one-secret-to-push-through-doubt/

Please share what you do to fight discouragement, doubt or rejection. I’d love to hear from you.

Little Things

This summer seems to be filled with anger from an ugly political season and violence. Many people I know are also facing tough times, with health issues and tragic deaths in their families. For me, I’m just upset about computer problems. That may seem minor, but my entire job is on the computer and this time of year, having everything work is critical.

Ok, compared to what others are going through, I have no problems. However, all that to say is when you feel surrounded by sadness or anger, how do you battle through? How do you keep from being pulled into the pit of negativity? Life events may take us to negative places, but how do you not stay there?

For me, I find solace in little things. Admittedly, sometimes I have to look hard for the little things that are positive, but they’re there. The other night, in the midst of my computer frustration, a friend texted me. The conversation evolved from what I’m not doing to how to reach future goals. She lifted my spirits in unexpected ways.

Then the next day was just coffee and breakfast with a friend. Thinking that I really didn’t have time to be away from my desk, I felt rushed and hurried when I arrived to meet her. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see my friend. But I was concerned about the timing of our visit. As always, God showed up then. That breakfast had good conversation, serious thoughts that moved to laughter, and a sweet morning of sharing. I’m so glad I took the time. It was the boost I needed to power through the rest of my work day.

None of this will solve the grief my friends are experiencing with tragic deaths of relatives, or help others with serious health issues. But friends, family, and little moments can help all of us get through one day to the next. Knowing friends are there for prayers and support are God’s way of saying “I still have this.”

So despite the turmoil surrounding us, we cling to our faith. God’s still got this. He has us! He’ll make a way for us to walk through these trying times.

I’m determined to cling to His promises and to look for the little things.

Fighting Back from Discouragement

We’re several weeks into the New Year… and this is traditionally the time when we’re already failing in our resolutions that we made three weeks ago.

How are you doing with your goals for the year?

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big fan of tennis. The first Grand Slam of the year is going on now with the Australian Open. And a major upset of the tournament just happened — Roger Federer lost his match. The first time since 2003 that he won’t be in the second week of the Aussie Open. (This is one of the reasons I feel like he’s the greatest of all time… his consistency in the sport to reach semi-finals and finals of the tournaments…but that’s another discussion for another day.)
Roger-Federer-5-418x300
Last time Federer was upset this early in a slam, everyone was talking that his career was over. It must have been a discouraging time for Roger. His desire to play the game is still so strong, yet, these defeats will happen. So, now, at the ripe old (in tennis years) age of 33, is this his swan song?

I can’t wait to see. After the last time he was defeated early in a grand slam in 2013, he played inspired tennis for 2014, and was so close to reclaiming his #1 ranking. He started out this year with his 1000th career win (see why I believe he’s the greatest of all time?). I believe that Roger will take this defeat and turn it into an even stronger, burning desire to compete and win. I don’t think he’s giving up yet. Wimbledon will definitely be the tournament to watch for him.

Watching tennis inspires me again and again to fight my discouragement. I fought for years with my weight. About 2 1/2 years ago, I started to win the battle and lost 85 pounds! It felt so good. Now, the pounds are creeping back and discouragement is settling in. It would be so easy to have the attitude of giving up and belief that I will never beat this.

That may be true. I’ll be fighting my weight for the rest of my life. However, knowing I have achieved success makes me hungry to achieve that success again. And that takes hard work. Roger Federer is the great tennis player he is from hard work. And like Roger, I need to go back to the “practice court.” Sometimes you have to start with the basics and build back up again.

I need to start with what’s in my diet that’s sabotaging me. I need to get back to my strong exercise routine. We’ll see if I ever equal that 85 pound weight loss again. But I know I need to fight back. I feel stronger, more energized when I know I’m doing the right things. Whether I lose another pound or not, I’m going to fight this discouragement, one day at a time.

Roger will fight his discouragement one practice, one tournament at a time.

So, if you’ve fallen away from the goals you set for the new year, today’s the day to take a step, pick up your racquet and step back on the practice court.

Fight against the discouragement. You might be surprised how far you’ll go.

Being There

As I write this, the world is talking about the shocking passing of Robin Williams. As the TV talking heads are going through his television and movie credits, I realize how many of his movies I’ve seen… and loved.  It is incredibly sad to lose such a great talent.

But through all of this discussion, this man who is being heralded as a comic legend, who entertained millions, has suddenly become very human.  Yes, we tend to put celebrities on a pedestal, forgetting that along with their immense talent, they are human beings, going through this life of ups and downs, marriage, children and everything else.

Obviously, Robin Williams was battling more.  He was always open about substance abuse, but did many of us realize he struggled with depression?  Severe depression.

It’s almost inconceivable that someone who was so loved and admired was in such a dark and lonely place where he was driven to take his own life.  He brought such laughter to everyone else, but couldn’t find the joy for himself. It’s tragic.

I’m almost embarrassed with my last post, when I talk about “wallowing” in my own sadness of recent events in my life.  Thankfully, I haven’t been to the darkest place where I’ve thought of a “permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  I always knew I’d pull out of this and things would get better.

But I didn’t share with many how sad I was feeling.  I don’t always share, because I don’t want to burden others, I don’t want to come across as a whiner, and I don’t want to be considered a negative person.

Was that mindset preventing me from getting the support and encouragement I needed at the time?  How do you balance reaching out without being a whiner?  How do you invite people in without pushing them away?

Hopefully, more discussion will come from this awful passing of Robin Williams about depression, about how to help others.  One thing I heard this morning was just be there. You may not be able to solve the problem, but you can come along beside someone and just remind them that they mean something to you, that their life has value.

Maybe this is a reminder to all of us to hug your family and friends and say “I love you.”  I hate that we have to be reminded, and that we’re usually reminded when someone else has died. We need make this part of our daily lives.

Life is short.  Reach out to someone.  Touch base.  Just be with someone today and hold their hand, give them a hug…. heck, just smile at someone and wish them a wonderful day.

What a difference we could make if we all did that every day.

The Tough Days

We all have tough days.  The difficult moments where we’re so frustrated at our jobs or reaching our goals that we can do nothing but sit down and cry.

I had one of these days recently, where I felt so overwhelmed all I could do was cry, pray, and then push through it.  And guess what?  I got through it.  In fact, it felt great to accomplish all I did on that very difficult day.

In talking with my writing buddies, they understand those days and have them as well.  Days when the cursor is blinking on a blank screen and there’s no creative muse to be found. Or times when your critique partners dislike the chapter you thought was brilliant.

I imagine it’s this way for professional athletes or Olympians.  They train so hard, yet there have to be days where they wonder why they’re even doing this.  Even on a show like Dancing With the Stars, where the celebrity is trying to learn something new and their feet just won’t cooperate.

So, why do we do this?  Is it worth it?

I’m learning that anything worth while is worth it.  When the celebrities dance the great dance on DWTS, when the publishing contract arrives for my writer friends, or the review from a reader that talks about how much their words spoke to them — somehow that makes it all worth it.

Even the frustrating day at my daily job — pushing through that and achieving the feeling of a job-well-done makes it worth it.

I can’t imagine any goal you want to achieve in life as being easy. The tough days WILL come.

So, how do you get through the tough times?  Is the frustration worth the end result?

 

 

Stop the Negativity!

There are times when I get down on myself and I get in my own way of trying to accomplish what I need to accomplish.

How do I get in my own way? With negativity!

Take this past week, for example.  I have been an eating machine!  After losing 85 pounds recently, it seems like I’m trying to negate all of that by just how much I’ve been eating.

Truth be told, I should have lost more than that 85 pounds by now, but I’ve slacked off a bit with my exercising, and I’ve increased my eating.  That’s not a good combination.

So, I started beating up on myself.  I focused on everything I was doing wrong, instead of the things I was doing right.  Last week, I increased my workouts, partly because I knew I was over eating. I took the first step to turn the tide.exercise

Did I give myself credit for taking that step, and increasing my workouts?  No… I only focused on what I was doing wrong.

Finally, with a little bit of prayer, with the weight of  all the negativity bearing down on me, I woke up determined that “today is a new day.”  I can’t go back and change what I did yesterday… or not eat all the food I ate yesterday.  So, it was time to focus on what I could do right today!

So, being that it was trash day, I went into my pantry and my refrigerator and threw out the unhealthy snacks I had started buying again.  It was time to start fresh.

I had a good week with exercising, so I was going to give myself credit for that, and then have a good, better day with food.

It was time to get out of my own way.  And when I took those unhealthy snacks to the trash — I realized how empowered I felt.  Instead of surrounding myself with all of the negativity and beating up on myself for what I had done in the past, I took charge of today!  It was up to me to change what I was going to do… only for that day.

So, the lessons learned:

1. Every day is a new day.  A new opportunity to make better choices.

2. Stop the negativity and give yourself credit for the positive.  Get out of your own way.

3. If you screw up, learn the lesson and move on.  Tomorrow will be a new day and a new opportunity.

4. Pray! Every day!

It’s time to stop the negativity and take one small step toward the positive.

What about you?  What ways do you have to stay positive?  I’d love to hear how you stay motivated.

I’m “normal” today!

I know the theme of this blog is the “new” normal, which is dealing with my new physical body, making decisions about reconstructive surgery, visiting doctors every three months for the next couple of years, etc., etc.

But after yesterday’s post on feeling discouraged, I realized I’m “normal,” at least for today – hee hee. I’m not alone in feeling discouraged or upset that I have aches and pains preventing me from exercising, or a sinus headache like no end this morning.

This past weekend, hubby and I attended a wedding and a funeral. As my aunt so aptly said: it was the circle of life. So, it’s part of life to be frustrated or discouraged. It’s normal today that I have a deadline for my job and am battling a sinus headache.

So, because I had cancer do I get to crawl under a rock? Nope — one has nothing to do with the other. Which is why I’m normal today. I’ll have to do what hundreds of other people have to do today — take my medicine and plow through to complete my work. Since my boss commented on yesterday’s post, I for sure better buckle down and “get ‘er done!”

But I want to take a moment to thank everyone for their wonderful comments and words of encouragement. I don’t know what possessed me to start this blog thing. It’s difficult for me to express my feelings and put it all out there. But the comments yesterday and wonderful words have lifted my spirits, and once again, showed me how blessed I am. Y’all won’t judge me forever as a negative person because I have a discouraging day. Thank you for that. Oh, for those reading me on blogger, most of my comments came via Facebook. But thank you to all for being encouragers and for your kind words and prayers.

Finally, although I’m just a normal, average person, maybe my experiences can help someone else not feel so alone. That may have been my goal in starting this, but yesterday proved that I received the blessing.

Okay– medicine taken — let’s pray the sinus headache recedes, and onward I go to complete my work for the day. This day which is a “normal” day!

Keep on truckin’ everyone! 🙂

Discouraged today… And parts of this are quite whiney, so forgive me in advance.

I’m generally a very positive person. Even after my mastectomy last summer and dealing with those wretched, awful drains, I tried to stay positive. I was happy that overall I had very little pain from the surgery, that I wouldn’t have to go through chemotherapy (Praise God!). It seemed like we got all the cancer so now was the time to just focus on recovery.

Yes, having sarcoma of the breast changed me. No doubt about that. Now, I wanted to be very purposeful and intentional with my life. I felt God’s blessings all over this entire situation. So, let’s take those blessings and run!

But then there are days like today. I don’t want to be whiney — especially when overall I have it SO good! But today I am discouraged. I’ve been trying to exercise more, take good care of myself, really make the most of things. But it seems like nothing but roadblocks are in my way. I mean, gheez, how long does it take an immune system to build back up from surgery!!!

So, I’m finally working on an exercise program I really enjoy. I’m getting into it, really trying to focus on just feeling good. In February, I got bronchitis. Both my hubby and I were down with that one. And it was the cough that lingered and lingered. It didn’t want to go away. Okay– so we work our way through that. Then I get tendonitis in my foot. I do some more stretching and get through that. THEN — I strain a muscle in my back. That was two weeks ago, and it still hurts! Damn exercise. Is this what happens when you try to get healthy?! This morning, I wake up with a sore throat and clogged sinuses. Whaa… poor me. I suppose overall, this is just life. So, we’ll get past all of these, and I PROMISE to quit whining about it all. I hate how this sounds. Time to shut up and pray!

But along with the back and sinus issue this week, I have some swelling. Here’s where the “new normal” comes in when living after cancer. Muscle strains and coughs are part of daily life. But swelling is a different story. I have swelling in my upper arm and under my arm. After a mastectomy, swelling is not good. The kicker is the swelling is on my non-cancer side! If I was swelling on the side where my sarcoma was, then we’d think lymphedema. It’s something we watch for once they take your lymph nodes under your arm to check if the cancer has spread.

This is different being in my “healthy” arm. For now, hubby and I are treating the swelling like we would with the other side. My occupational therapist showed us massage we could do to keep fluid moving. We’ve focused on my right side (cancer side) up til now — and now we’re doing both arms. And it’s helped. I’ve increased my water intake. I’m back to at least walking, even though exercise bites my back. My left arm originally looked about 2-inches larger than the right. Now, after only a few days of intense massage and water-drinking, it’s looking better, and more even with the other arm.

We have an appointment with my doctor on Tuesday. I’m sure I’ll feel silly, because the swelling will have gone down. But, I guess we have to double-check because of the swelling under my arm, near my breast area, near the surgical site.

So, onward we go… despite feeling discouraged. Thanks for reading through this anyway. Sometimes I just want to wallow in my whininess — but I know the thing to do is shut up, pray, and get busy working on something — anything — to keep moving forward.

Overall, that’s the goal — keep moving forward. Enjoy every moment of this life I’ve been given. I wish there weren’t discouraging days… but it’s going to happen — whether you’ve had cancer or not.

Onward we go…