The process of rebuilding our lives after traumatic events can take time depending on how much of an impact the trauma has had on our lives and on our well-being. It also depends on how resilient (or able to bounce back) we might be. Whatever the situation, it’s important to remember that you can change your life for the better, even if it seems like you’re taking only small steps.
When rebuilding our lives, coping with unexpected changes and even initiating changes are part of the process. Think about changing from a job we dislike to taking a great job. No matter what it entails, it would be less traumatic than being fired, because of the positive aspects of taking a better job. However, even though it’s positive, the changes can still be a bit stressful, but well worth making.
Sometimes when traumas and losses occur, we may find that we need to change where we live. If the loss was a divorce or a spouse passing away, we might find ourselves needing new friends. Couples tend to get together with other couples, so when a divorce occurs or the death of a spouse, we can find ourselves being around other singles rather than the couples we were once close to. We may be left asking what’s next in life or find ourselves going in a totally new direction.
Often, we also look beyond the physical realm to do some soul-searching to determine whether we are heading in the right direction so our lives have meaning, impact, and fulfillment. That’s what we’re covering in this post. Looking within to make adjustments might reveal the need to change our beliefs, thoughts, and/or attitudes.
First, let’s look at beliefs. What are we believing? That can be a huge, but important question to answer. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines belief as “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.” For example, as Christians, the Bible tells us to put our trust in God and His ability to work in us and through us and in others rather than solely relying on ourselves or on others.
An example of this is whenever a loved one passes away or a divorce occurs. During that time, we typically see the voids that are now in our lives as a result of that person no longer being with us. I’ve heard women say that they had no idea how much they believed in and relied on their spouses ability to handle all of the financial affairs, the home repairs, the car maintenance and repairs, and the yard work until their spouses were gone. It was a bit of a rude awakening. Suddenly they struggled to believe that they could handle the task without that person’s help. But they realized they have God’s help.
Yes, of course, I’ve also had guys tell me that they had no idea how much they relied on their spouses handling everything around the house, until they were not around. Suddenly they had to do the cooking, the laundry, get the kids bathed, fix their hair, and get them ready for bed. Not to mention, get them up in the morning and dressed, fix breakfast, fix hair again, and get everybody fed and off to school, and more.
Over the years, they had put more and more confidence in their spouses to handle things. They believed in them. Sometimes, they realized that because their spouses were visible, they had even trusted them more than God Who is invisible. Another rude awakening. At some point, they make a shift back to God for His help and guidance to fill the voids that their spouses left in their lives and to give them the wisdom they need to go forward. Not that they ever stopped believing in God, but just that they had quietly slipped towards believing more in the spouse who could step up in a physical body and get something done. Does this make sense? Have you ever had an experience like that?
Another example is that sometimes we trust more in a company giving us a paycheck than in the God we say we know Who can open the door to any company and give us a bigger and better paycheck. So the question again is what are you believing? What is your confidence in? Who are you trusting? Are those beliefs accurate or are you believing something wrong that could lead to regrets? When we believe in God and trust God and ask for His help, He will lead and guide us no matter what the situation might be. We can change what we believe and it will change our lives.
Second, let’s consider our thoughts. What we believe can lead to what we focus our thoughts on throughout the day and even during the night if we awaken. Again, let’s check the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary definition of thoughts. It says that thoughts are “an action or process of thinking; an opinion or belief in the mind.” What we think can dictate our attitudes, decisions, emotions, habits, character, and where we end up in life. Wow, that’s pretty powerful!
If we believe that we can’t handle a task, then our thoughts will begin to line up with that and we’ll be thinking about our inability to do something. For instance, if we think we cannot handle balancing the checkbook because a spouse has done it, then it’s time to reconsider the task of learning new financial skills and quickly change our thinking so there aren’t negative consequences. We can always learn new skills and/or find the help we need. It may take a little extra work to do it, but we can change for the better by taking small steps. We really can change our lives by changing how we think.
Third, let’s look at our attitudes. What we believe and what we think can impact our attitudes. If we believe we can’t do something, then we might need to check for wrong attitudes and thoughts about doing it. For example, we might not “feel” like learning something new so we can do a task, but yet we need to push through and do it.
When rebuilding our lives, what we go through may require us to change our attitudes. Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines attitude as“a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state.” The wives who lost spouses have often told me that they didn’t always appreciate or have a good attitude about all that their husbands did. They found themselves looking back realizing that they their attitudes were ungrateful. They wished they hadn’t taken their spouses for granted. So they decided that their attitudes had to change going forward. Their decision to change often impacted others whom they had also taken for granted.
My closing tip is to be alert to what you’re thinking about, because it can cause your life to go in the direction of your thoughts. You know the saying, we become what we think about. Well, it’s true, but that also means that if you change your beliefs, thoughts, and attitudes for the better, you “can” change your life and the direction of your life for the better as well!
I would love to hear about a time when you had to make changes in your life and what you learned from it. Leave me a comment and I’ll be sure to reply.