“With everything that happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” Wayne Dyer
Over the years I have reflected back on this quote on more than one occasion. I have even sometimes wondered if the author was a single parent. During the past nine years I have been through living with an addictive wife, a broken marriage, interventions, rehab. centers, a separation, a divorce, the death of my children’s mother, the death of their grandmother, the executor of two estates, an IRS audit (which I won), a failing business, the meltdown of my investments in the stock market, a depreciating home value, raising my children on my own 24/7, dealing with their grief, anxiety and fear issues while wondering when, or if, it will ever stop? So again I say to myself:
“With everything that happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”
Regardless of what life has thrown at me, the one thing that I refuse to do is feel sorry for myself. Hell, I don’t have enough hours in the day to feel sorry for myself. I remember that someone once explained to me that the difference in life between a pessimist and an optimist is basically nothing, only that the optimist enjoys life more. I have to say that I have really tried to enjoy life more over the years, but sometimes it can be a challenge. When you spend your whole day taking care of, and worrying about everyone else, it can wear on you. Thank God I’m an optimist! Another saying that I love is one that my mother always likes to remind me of, “God only puts as much on your shoulders as you can handle.” Maybe this is why I work out six days a week, my shoulders need the strength.
But again as the saying above goes; “With everything that happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what happened as a gift”.
You see all of us can easily find a reason to feel sorry for ourselves, but when we do, we miss out on the gifts that are right in front of us. I have been so blessed over these past few years that I can not even begin to tell you. I have friends, family and I think two teenagers that love me. I have optimism, drive and courage that has only been strengthened from my past life experiences. I even now have the opportunity with www.BillMcLeodCoaching.com to help thousands of other single parents make sense of everything that has happened to them. I have the opportunity to grow from my experiences and not allow them to be an obstacle to my happiness, but a path to becoming the person I want to be.
But my gifts don’t stop there. I have been blessed to realize how much people truly want be there for you in your time of need. I have also been blessed to realize that this life that I have been given is for a reason. It is for me to learn from, to become stronger because of, even wiser, but mainly to be more compassionate towards all of those who have traveled the same path.
The path may not always be easy, but it can be a gift to you if you make it such. Be thankful for what you do have, not for what you don’t have. Be thankful that you are fortunate enough to have people out there who care about you and love you. But most of all be thankful for yourself. Because when you believe in yourself, you believe in your future. And when you believe in your future, your optimism shines through for all to see.
Bill McLeod is the founder of www.singleparentstown.comauthor of “Kickin Butt as a Single Parent – 99 Tips That Every Single Parent Must Have” and a Life Coach to Single Parents www.billmcleodcoaching.com . He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org