Fighting for Happiness in the Midst of Tragedy
By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta
Whoa! Life is moving along just fine, thank you very much—when out of the blue, it hits us—a crisis! For me it was a recent house fire which destroyed 90% of everything material that I owned, loved and cared for. A crisis is something so far from what we wanted or expected that it totally knocks the breath out of us. “It’s like a dream,” we say. “I’m going to wake up and discover this never ever happened at all.” But unfortunately we don’t wake up. There it is, a looming force to be reckoned with right smack dab in the middle of our life. And there’s no turning back. We feel trapped and out of control. Enmeshed in a situation that is controlling us—or is it?
That’s the first question we have to ask when hit with a crisis—who is in control from this point on? While we certainly didn’t choose to be in this situation—we can and must CHOOSE to take charge moving forward. And that choice will make all the difference in the world. So get ready to learn how to emotionally deal with a crisis rather than allowing the crisis to wreak havoc with your emotions.
Let’s take a look at what happens to our mental state when we are faced with a crisis. The two go-to emotions that usually follow pretty quickly are either HURT or ANGER. Or both. We can feel sad, depressed, worried, overwhelmed, or fearful…these fall under the category of HURT. Or we can feel mad, bitter, resentful, vengeful, or hateful…those are a few of the angry emotions. And those emotions are part of a normal cycle when crisis steps in. But what happens next is what is important if you want to take charge of the rest of your life and get through the crisis. The healthy approach is to experience HURT or ANGER for what is is—a natural “temporary” result of crisis or tragedy –while working hard to regain a sense of balance, control and even…HAPPINESS.
This is the hardest part of all. Believing that you even have a right to experience HAPPINESS—even for a moment or two–when the world is falling apart around you. So often people will FIGHT for their RIGHT to stay sad or to stay angry. As though those emotions are a penance they must pay for the rest of their life. And then something heartbreaking happens—they literally become an ANGRY person or a SAD person instead of a person who is just experiencing those emotions. The emotions take over their personality and change who they are. They believe that even experiencing tiny moments of HAPPINESS belittles the seriousness of the crisis and the effect it has had on their life. They yell or cry out “But I have the RIGHT to be angry” or “I have the right to be sad!” And I answer, “Yes, you do. But you also have the RIGHT to be HAPPY. And not feel disloyal to the pain you are experiencing.”
People who successfully deal with crisis take charge and look for ways to still find a joyful moment. Or a kind thought. Or a smile. Or a hug. They believe that the intentional search for happiness within the tragedy is their only true way out of the pain. In other words they FIGHT as hard for their RIGHT to be HAPPY as they do their RIGHT to be sad or angry. Tragedy and crisis do not demand lifelong penance. You’ve already paid a terrible price. But they do demand a clear intent to want your life to be better, move forward and become healthier. Otherwise the crisis is not just something that happened to you—it has become you. And you certainly deserve more than that!
The following video is an excerpt from an interview I did just days after my house fire. I was scheduled to do it from my home—which I decided to go ahead and do even though most everything was gone. It was the perfect time for me to walk the walk and share my thoughts about how to find HAPPINESS in the midst of tragedy. A subject I have long talked about—but now I was living it day by day. My goal is that this offers you hope as you continue to live life with all of its ups and downs.
Want to learn more about FIGHTING for your RIGHT to be HAPPY? Read my new eBook Re*Defining Happiness. It might just spark what YOU need to create a wealth of happiness in your own life (regardless of crisis or circumstance!)