“The beautiful thing about setbacks is they introduce us to our strengths.” ~Robin S. Sharma
It was the most difficult year in my entire life. Financial stress. Problems with relationships. Pandemic caused separation from family. Mentally I’m a mess. It seemed like I’d reached rock bottom. The worst was still to come.
After years of ignoring my health problems, I finally went to an ultrasound. The ultrasound was booked because I knew that I had a fibrid. The sonographer confirmed that I had numerous fibroids. My uterus had been taken over and my life was ended.
While she was going through the scans, I recall feeling numb. It was clear that there wasn’t another option. My fear of a hysterectomy made me anxious. This was a scary decision for me and my future. I have high anxiety about hospitals and doctors. Imagine how scared I was about having surgery.
Eric Thomas talks about pressure creating diamonds. It’s one of my all-time favorite motivational speakers. Just when you think you’ve had enough pressure and all you can bear, life turns up the heat. I felt like My heart was inflamed.
Surgery was something I had to do. Even though I struggled to stay positive over the past year I knew I would be able to make it through the procedure.
The Japanese call this kensho, which means growth through pain or finding positivity in life’s challenges. These strategies will show you how to transform yourself into a diamond, or make you stronger no matter what you’re going through.
1. You can feel it all. It’s normal.
When coping with health challenges, you’ll probably filter your feelings with shoulds:
I shouldn’t feel anxious (angry, sad).
I shouldn’t act so irrationally.
It is important to be more positive.
I should feel grateful it’s not worse.
To be a good person, I need to keep myself in check.
The truth is that you will experience all emotions. You’re also going to feel your body’s symptoms. It’s easy to get stuck in the pain because, until it stops, it’s hard to see the good in life.
You can feel anything. If life is continually knocking you down, of course you’ll feel angry. Anger can actually be a powerful motivator. It’s the fuel you need to rise up and change things.
My feelings of guilt and shame grew when I started crying in theatre prior to surgery. The nurses kept telling me it’s perfectly normal. You know what, it’s perfectly normal. And you know what it is? Fear is completely normalBefore surgery. It would be weird if you weren’t.
Accept all of the negative emotions without feeling guilty. It’s part of grieving and healing. It may take some time for you to process the loss of a loved one or to accept that your life has changed. It may be necessary to take some time for yourself to grieve and to feel what you are feeling. Let go of what is not necessary.
But the way you make sure it doesn’t consume you is by allowing yourself to feel the good too. And it’s the good that you want to blow up and make bigger in your mind.
There are many things that you will find to be gratifying about your daily life. It’s possible to take the time to enjoy a good meal, or simply feel the warmth of your sun. I find a lot of happiness in my cat’s funny antics and cuddles, so I always make sure I am fully present around him.
Small goods won’t fix your big problems. Trust me. I understand how difficult it can be to see the good in anxiety. The misery caused by a medical condition can’t be fixed with mindfulness. You will still have daily pain.
The good things can make you stronger and help to overcome the negative.
2. Develop your mental strength.
The choice is yours as to how to deal with this problem. It is possible to let this problem get you down, or it can be used as an opportunity for you to grow.
Surgery was inevitable. Anxiety was inevitable. It was inevitable to feel pain. All of this was to my advantage. I promised myself I would fight for the best.
Unfortunately, after a really difficult year, I knew I wasn’t in the right headspace for it. I had to start “training my brain” in the same way you might train your body for a big mountain climb or fitness event.
Your brain can be trained in many different ways. Positive people can support you. Counseling is available. You also require something that you can do every day on your own.
Selective use of Google+ and social media is one of the best methods to train your brain.
If you Google your health problem, you’ll find positive stories, but you’ll also find a lot of negative and scary information. My case was one of surgery, and I fully understood the risks. Why needlessly worry about outcomes I couldn’t control?
Instead of focusing on my natural inclination for over-research, I chose to ignore it and read one positive story about hysterectomy each day to prepare myself. That’s all I allowed myself to look at. This was something I do for my mental wellbeing.
By going on a regular walk, and by listening to motivating podcasts or videos, I trained my brain. It was an easy way to connect and calm myself, and it helped me to build my mental strength to recover from surgery. The benefits were evident the day after surgery.
It is important to search for speakers and videos that resonate with you. Everyone will have different needs. Eric Thomas, who is a great speaker and tough-love approach to life, is my favourite.
On the day of surgery, whenever I would feel a wave of anxiety, I would say to myself “pressure creates diamonds.” This idea gave me strength and reminded me that this surgery was a gift I was giving myself so I could have a better future.
3. Keep one foot in front the other.
You will have days when it is difficult to get out the bed. You will start to feel better and then you’ll feel worse. This will cause you to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. You will get overwhelmed and discouraged. However, you can improve day to day, even with the setbacks.
Progressive overload is how you gain strength in the gym. It means that you do more training each session. As a coach, I show my clients that even small actions can result in big changes. It’s all about consistency and patience.
These principles were important to me as I recovered from my surgery. To begin, I needed to be able to stand up. After that, I could walk around the hospital. The next day, I began walking in my backyard and then I moved down the street. Each day was a new step. After surgery, I was determined to be able to cross the bridge. It took me two weeks to get there.
My personal bests were achieved in the gym before surgery with large deadlifts, presses, and squats. It will take me a while to regain that strength, but it is possible. Every step of the way I’ll build my strength and make myself stronger.
My body will thank me for being patient, kind and understanding. Some days I have to give in and just sit in the sun with my cat because that’s all I can manage.
Knowing how difficult it is to cope with medical issues, I am well aware of the difficulties. Sometimes you have to let yourself cry and feel angry—or whatever else you feel. Despite setbacks, remember that this is an opportunity to grow stronger and more healthy than you ever have before. You are well on your way towards becoming the most stunning gem. Pressure makes diamonds.
About Melanie Durette
Melanie Durette is an expert in nutrition and fitness coaching. She is passionate about inspiring women to transform their bodies, and live a healthier life. Female Fitness Systems is her website, which she blogs about nutrition, fitness and long-term health. Her online community is thriving and she offers training for women from all walks of life. On her YouTube channel, she shares her personal experience and advice.
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Tiny Buddha published the article How To Strengthen Yourself When Facing Health Challenges.