Have you ever been knocked down?
I mean… really knocked down?
I certainly have. I’m a self-proclaimed extreme optimist and I’ve struggled with life’s trouble and hardships that we all encounter.
In fact, I’m an optimist to a fault sometimes. I always like to think the best of others even when they are wrong.
For example, when someone says something rude to me (although it makes me a little angry) I silently think that they must have something going on in their personal life that impacts how they interact with me and the world around them.
My husband, on the other hand, is a realist. He always wants the best outcomes to occur, but always has a plan B when my extreme optimism approach doesn’t work out. That is what keeps us balanced.
Learning how to survive and thrive
Well… the recent months were brutal for our family. Life certainly doesn’t make concessions for you whether or not you’ve already got a lot on your plate. For example, we experienced:
a family members’ ICU hospitalization,
the disappointment of my husband’s “big job” didn’t come through,
my heart palpitations while working on business taxes (numbers are not my friend),
my sprained painting arm from a failed attempt to be a gladiator at bootcamp,
and to top it all off — my husband was laid off from his current job .
Not exactly a bed of roses.
As an optimist I try to look at all the good in my life (I have tons; a great husband, daughter, family and friends that love me, a warm bed to sleep in, food on the table, great clients, a business that I love … and the list goes on. ).
Even as I write this I feel guilt set in momentarily.
Many people in the world have it way worse than you or I do right now. For example, “If you make more than $50,000 a year, you are among the top 1 percent of earners on the entire planet” and “more than a third of people on earth live on less than $2 a day. 1.2 billion live on less than $1.25,” according to RELEVANT magazine.
But my feelings still are very real. My thoughts can still go to that place of asking myself, “Why is this happening?”
Resilience is an acquired skill
I know these are examples of small trials in our life and that we will get through them as we always do. Times in our lives that require resilience remind me of quotes like, “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get back up,” or “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow. Don’t give up,” by Robert Tew.
(Then I overthink it and admittedly freak out as I silently wonder, “What does God have planned for us tomorrow if this trial is giving us strength to get through something else?!”)
For example, several weeks ago my 9-year-old daughter Pixie said, “Come to my room for a family meeting!” Upon entering her room we discovered that she had scribbled a chart with Mommy, Daddy, and herself at the top on her white board.
She sat us down and asked us to call out places that her daddy could find work (given his recent job loss). Of course my first thought was a local discount clothing store (hey, I want the discount on the discount clothes!). Pixie chimed in mentioning a new pizza place that’s opening soon (she loves pizza!). I replied with a few fun suggestions and after going around the room to each of us 3-4 times we all agreed that the local staking rink was the best choice (P.S. our family has some sick moves on wheels.).
So, the lesson our daughter taught us was simple: you have to find a sense of humor in everything (even recent job loss within our family that definitely was not a laughing matter).
When life throws a curve ball
Life can be hard! Life will definitely throw you some curve balls. Yet as you go through the hard times, in both life and business, find a way to laugh.
Studies have found that “Laughter did not evolve to make us feel good or improve our health. Certainly, laughter unites people, and social support has been shown in studies to improve mental and physical health. Indeed, the presumed health benefits of laughter may be coincidental consequences of its primary goal: bringing people together.”
Find any small thing that makes you smile each day so you can get through the toughest circumstances. That being said, we’ve said our prayers and asked for guidance on the next chapter of what life will bring us.
And true to form, I dove face first into my painting where I find peace. Remember: we wouldn’t recognize the good times without the bad. So if you’re in a good place cherish it, appreciate it.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Heidi Easley is an artist and founder of Texas Art and Soul. Heidi lost everything in 2007 and used art to heal her soul and started a surfboard painting business that became an instant hit, selling 1,000 boards in just two months. After moving back to Texas she started holding paint parties to make extra income. Since 2009, Heidi has held hundreds of successful art parties and works as a studio artist selling her cherished “Day of the Dead” family portraits! As a very passionate artist she thrives by helping others discover their potential at her art parties while showing others how art can heal your soul and your bank account! Connect with @easley_heidion Twitter.