Two Golden Rules

Today I want to share the experience that I had a few years ago. It was a situation that reminded me how our ability (or inability) to manage our self impacts the way we feel and how we handle circumstances that we don’t like. By sharing my experience, I want to pass on to you lessons that made a tremendous impact in my life and greatly empowered me.

photo of Inga

At the time I wrote about it:

“Today was one of those days when I felt annoyed that I had to stop working with my book and go to the kitchen to make something to eat. Feeling deeply annoyed, the first thing I announced on the phone to my girlfriend was, “When the time comes and I can do this, one of the first things I’ll do is hire a private chef so that I don’t have to waste my time on cooking!”(My friends know that I have never been a fan of cooking and don’t like to spend time in the kitchen.)

In a moment, I remembered the rule that I have set for myself a long time ago (the golden rule!) – if I cannot change what I don’t like, I need to change my point of view on that. In this case, since I cannot hire a private chef :), I asked myself – what is the good side of this situation? What valuable lesson can I see in this?

Suddenly, it felt as though my eyes were opened and I saw a completely different side of this situation! I realized how good it was that I was actually ABLE TO COOK at all! 

It seemed that it was just recently when I heard the diagnosis for my left arm – a full paralysis due to the severe nerve damage. There’re no chances for the arm to recover. It felt as though I was getting one hit after another, watching how our night out in the pizza bar and a fatal race through the city continued to destroy all areas of my life.

“What? It will never recover?!” It was one of the strongest strikes. “But how can I live with one hand?” I was in a complete shock.

Then, a series of endless questions devoured me.  “How can I possibly live with one hand and without legs? How will I dress, how will I take care of myself? And how will I be able to cook and do all the household duties with only one hand?”

And now, I do all this without even thinking about it!

The feeling of annoyance began to leave. Instead of irritation, I began to feel gratitude that I actually could cook and do everything I needed to do around the house despite my physical traumas. I have forgotten that at some point it was my big dream to be able to do it!

Then, I remembered another golden rule – never forget where you came from, how it all was when you began your journey. Remember what your life looked like and how you felt when you cried out to God for help… so that you always appreciate what you have now and what you can do today.

My memories brought me back to the first few years after the accident, when I was learning to do everything with one hand. Oh, how much effort it took for me to learn to take care of myself independently…  How hard it was to find ways to do household chores and cook that requires two hands. Oh, how I dreamed of not depending on anybody! How much I persevered to become independent again! 

And now, I do all of this by myself and do not even think about it! The feeling of even greater gratitude filled me.

And then I asked myself, “How would you feel if you lost what you are so annoyed about?”

And in that moment, my perception of what I had to do changed completely. After all, I already know how you can lose everything in one moment. The feeling of irritation faded away, and the way I felt transformed. Now I felt a sincere gratitude, and instead of being annoyed that “I need to do this,” I was GLAD that I get to do this!

Feeling sincere joy that I was about to make a meal, I cooked spaghetti with meatballs and mushroom sauce while listening to the inspirational audio, and this dinner turned out to be more delicious than my last two dinners in restaurants. 🙂

I smiled to myself…

The way we look at the world around us and our circumstances has so much power! Our perspective shapes our perception of what is happening and it directly impacts how we feel about it and what we do about it. I must never forget this. “

~

In addition to our faith and prayer, we must make an effort in managing our thoughts, feelings and actions. We can easily lose what the Lord gives us if we make wrong choices (simply by not managing our ways of thinking we can easily lose peace or joy that the Lord gives). Our mindset has a direct and significant influence on our feelings and choices that we make.  Many people seem to believe and pray, but after their prayer they automatically fall into doubt, anxiety and fear.  They constantly think about what they don’t like and how unhappy they are. And this is a straight way to discouragement, disbelief, depression, and the like. If you do not control negative thoughts that come to you it will become your habitual way of thinking. Then you will never feel blessed and happy no matter how much good you have in your life.

In my life, one of the key elements of my inner strength and joy is the skill to manage my own self. Once I realized how my mindset impacts my inner state and decisions, I began training myself to be in charge of my perspective and focus. This skill has empowered me greatly. Our perspective is what meaning we give to an event or circumstance. Depending upon our point of view, we will feel about it in a particular way and then choose further action accordingly.

If you cannot change circumstances, instead of dwelling on your dissatisfaction change your point of view. Ask yourself a question that will help you see the same situation differently so that you can see the good and useful side in a given situation/circumstances.

For example:

– Is this a failure, punishment, or is this an experience with a valuable lesson for me in the future?

– What value can I see in this situation, which I could use as a good learning experience?

– Is this a devastating crash, or is it the end of something that will be replaced by something that really needs to take place in my life?

– Based on Matthew 10:29-31 (Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.), if the Lord says that even my hair are numbered and nothing happens without His knowledge, then I shouldn’t be afraid. What is God’s plan in allowing this, what is His purpose behind this situation in my life?

– Trusting the word of God that everything works together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) – that is, all problems and even that which seems like a destruction and a loss will work out for the good – what good could come out of this situation? Where is the blessing here? If not now, what benefit could come through this situation in the future?

– Is this a problem, or a challenge for me to find a way to improve and create what I want?

Many think that it’s circumstances that make them feel in one or another way. But circumstances are only facts. It’s how we look at those facts/circumstances and what meaning we give to them what makes us feel in a particular way. Our choice of point of view shapes how we perceive what is going on and what experience we will have in a given situation.

As a bee extracts nectar from a flower, so we need to take the best out of all that we go through. I believe that there is a purpose behind everything. Instead of being dissatisfied and constantly thinking about how difficult it is, take the most valuable lesson from your experience and put this gem into your wisdom basket that will always be with you, and you can use it in the future when you need it.

And yes! Never forget where you came from … Do not be quick to forget where you were before you improved your life. It’s so easy to get used to the blessings and stop appreciating it! We take for granted so many things in life. I had to learn it the hard way – it can be gone any day in a split of a second. So, take a deep breath and see how much you have and how much you can do! How truly blessed you are!

A choice to live in gratitude for what we have and what we can do, completely changes our perception of anything that happens in our lives and in general, it changes the world in which we live!

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