When to stop dwelling on your problems

Dear Daughter,

There’s a great country song by Rodney Atkins that says, “If you’re going through hell, keep on going, don’t slow down. If you’re scared, don’t show it. You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there.”

I think this is some of the best advice I’ve ever heard.

Basically he’s saying, when you’re in the midst of a trial, don’t wallow in misery. Don’t let yourself get caught up in it; instead just stay strong and forge through. In another part of the song he says, “Keep on moving, face that fire, walk right through it.”

You will go through many trials in life, Daughter. It’s inevitable. I hope and pray that your trials will be minor, but they might not be. Major or minor, however, you have a choice on how to handle them. You can either let them consume you or let them refine you. I advise the latter.

That’s not to say that you can’t go through a grieving process. Rodney Atkins isn’t telling us to deny our problems but rather to face them and then do something about them. If someone you love dies, for example, it’s both natural and necessary for you to take some time to grieve, to be sad and angry and whatever other emotion comes upon you. But after a while, you do need to get on with your life. You’ll never stop missing that person, but you’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you don’t learn to live without him or her.

My example pales in comparison to death, but one time I went through a devastating breakup. The jerk I was with for months (which isn’t very long but felt like it to me) just up and left me, without a word. It broke my heart into pieces and I couldn’t go a minute without thinking about it. My poor sister was the recipient of many tear-filled phone calls, when I would go on and on about how horrible I felt and how awful he was and how… how could he do such a thing to me?? Finally, your aunt being the wise, straight-shooter she is, said, “You need to forget about him. What he did was wrong, yes, but that’s just further clarification that he’s not right for you. He’s the wrong guy, Julie. You know that now. So forget about him.”

Her words shocked me at first. Up until then she had been just a patient listener. But she’d had enough. And she wanted me to have enough too. I’d had my time to be sad. Now was the time to move on. And so I did.

When you do healthily progress from such an experience, you become a little bit stronger. You sport a thicker skin that will better handle the next hardship. The next time around, you know that you’ll survive because you’ve lived through it before. You’ll know that good days will come again, and they’ll come even sooner when you choose to stand tall and keep moving forward.

Love,
Mom

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