What To Do When Life’s Not Fair

What To Do When Life's Not Fair

What To Do When Life’s Not Fair

The year 2013 was not incredibly kind to our family.  Between my husband’s motorcycle accident, Evan’s hospitalization, and a whole host of other not so great things, we were looking forward to starting fresh in 2014.

Unfortunately, since January, we have had a laundry list of challenges, including the diagnosis of a tumor in my neck that was found the day Evan came home.  Now, when I’m on stage or with clients, I share the importance of being optimistic, handling daily challenges head on, and the power of positive thinking.  While I absolutely believe and try to live those philosophies daily, sometimes it’s easier said than done.

So what do you do when life’s just not fair?  What do you do when you feel like you are confronted with one obstacle after another?

While everyone handles it differently, most of us initially start with some combination of denial, anger, frustration, and “why me?”.  I am certainly no exception.

But when the dust settles, you still have to deal with reality. While some people seem to be more resilient than others, most choose to push on through because giving up is not a practical option.

Whether we cope with crisis through prayer and positive thinking or using unhealthy vices to numb the pain, we all have to cope.

Even when the sky seems to be falling, it’s important to remain grateful for the successes along the way.  I found out two weeks ago that the tumor is benign (thank God), but I still have to have it removed this Wednesday because it can become malignant.  While I’m not looking forward to having my face and neck sliced open and drinking dinner through a straw for a week, I am grateful that it wasn’t a whole lot worse.

I am grateful that Evan is home, and while we’re not where we need to be, he’s definitely made progress.  I’m grateful that I have a family that loves me, an incredible support system, and the means to be able to receive medical treatment. Even in the midst of what feels like the perfect storm, there are positive things that happen along the way if you make the effort to look for them.

Life happens.  Sometimes it doesn’t happen the way we would like it to, but it happens nonetheless.  While having a pity party, getting angry, and shedding a few tears is totally natural, we all get to choose whether or not we’ll stay stuck there.

Life happens.  Sometimes it doesn’t happen the way we would like it to, but it happens nonetheless.  While having a pity party, getting angry, and shedding a few tears is totally natural, we all get to choose whether or not we’ll stay stuck there.

If you are in an up cycle (life is good), celebrate every day.  Be grateful and revel in the good times. If you are in a down cycle, and everything thing that can go wrong seems to be going that way, find things to be grateful for, lean on the people who love you, and trudge on because it WILL get better.

The next time you see me, I’ll be sporting a cool scar from the top of my ear to the middle of my neck.  I have decided that it happened during an Olympic fencing event, rescuing a baby from a burning building, or one hell of a bar fight (and you should see the other guy).

One way or another, I’ll come out stronger, and I’ll be grateful.  How will you handle it the next time life’s just not fair?  You get to choose.

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Anne breaks down the daily habits and skills needed to grow and cultivate RESILIENCE.

Read that again. 🙌 ...

I played piano from the time I was four years old until the age of 15 and during that time, I had a lot of recitals. I remember being so nervous before each recital. What if I played the wrong note? What if I forgot the music? My dad would look at me, hold my hands, and say:

Whatever you do, DO NOT think of pink elephants!!

At the time, I had no idea why in the world he would say this. All I do know is that when I sat down to play, all I saw were pink elephants, and I was able to tackle my nerves.

Turns out my dad was helping me to practice the ironic process theory which explains that when we try to suppress our thoughts, we focus on them even more. Seventy to 80% of our thoughts are negative and repetitive. If not managed, intrusive thoughts can lead to anxiety, depression, and a whole host of mental health challenges.

If you tend to get stuck in rumination, or if your thoughts sometimes get the best of you, here are a few ways to take back control:

1️⃣ Recognize that your thoughts are not facts.
2️⃣ Use your brain. Do a math problem, practice a different language, or play a puzzle game. When you access the prefrontal cortex, the higher level thinking part of your brain, you get out of the emotional limbic system.
3️⃣ Distract yourself. Sometimes a simple distraction gives you enough distance to quiet your intrusive thoughts.
4️⃣ Practice mindfulness.
5️⃣ See a therapist. When negative, intrusive thoughts impact your ability to do your job, maintain relationships, or start clouding your judgment, it may be time to get help. As someone with plenty of intrusive thoughts, therapy has helped me tremendously.

Don’t forget, your thoughts and feelings are not facts. They are simply habits that need to be shifted. Be patient with yourself, and if all else fails, whatever you do, DO NOT THINK OF PINK ELEPHANTS!

Pets provide a deep sense connection and unconditional love. I don’t know what I’d do without without these two nut jobs! Happy National Love Your Pet Day! ❤️🐶 #mindfulmonday #mindfulness #petsnuggles #ilovemydogs #petsofinstagram #nationalloveyourpetday ...

I hope your Friday includes donuts. 🍩 ...

Midweek reminder: Reset your mindset. 🧠 ...

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Anne Grady is a Speaker, Author, and #TruthBomb Dropper.

Anne shares practical strategies that can be applied both personally and professionally to improve relationships, navigate change, and triumph over adversity. And she’ll make you laugh while she does it. Anne is a two time TEDx speaker, and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fast Company and Inc. magazines, CNN, ESPN, and FOX Business. She is the best selling author of 3 books. Her newest, Mind Over Moment: Harness the Power of Resilience, is available on Amazon now.

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  1. Just what I needed today. Thank you Anne. Your positiveness is so inspiring! I do pray for you and your family and hope everything turns out great.

  2. Thanks for sharing such personal and inspirational stories with us. Prayers for you and your family during your surgery and recovery.

  3. I would recommend the baby and burning building with acquaintances and with your friends, I like the bar fight scenario best! In all seriousness I am putting you and your family back on my daily prayer list. I’ll ask Him if He can’t give you a break, for at least a little while. For me self pity has not worked well, if it lasted for very long. I did learn though you have to seek help it doesn’t always find you.

  4. Ann–I’m so relieved that the tumor is benign! I’m thanking God too! Very glad to hear that Evan is home from the hospital and is doing better.

    I was trying to think of a fun, Game of Thrones explanation for your scar, but I don’t think Tyrion can reach that high.

  5. I always appreciate your blog. It is easy to relate to and it reminds me that we are all linked together in the experience called life. All of us have scars, some physical and some emotional. Your words of encouragement are a way for us to be connected and support one another. It will get better Anne. Keep trudging!

  6. Anne, I am so sorry to hear of all of the trials that you and your family have encountered recently. I am thankful that your tumor is not malignant. I share your stuggle, I was diagnosed with leukemia 6 yrs ago. At first I went through the usual gamet of emotions. But after the initial shock I decided that life is a precious gift and that I could be consumed by pitty, or live each day for what it is “a very precious gift”. I have to tell you that it has made such a difference in my quality of life. It amazes me how after a life changing experience how you look at life so different. The rose smells a little sweeter, a childs laugh warms your heart, a sunset makes you drink in each and every ray of color and for these things I can be thankful for each day. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I remember meeting you on the way in from the parking lot at a meeting at the University of Texas. You are a sweet lady and I hope you have a blessed day. Please keep us posted on how you and your family are doing. We really do care!

    Tammera Rivers

  7. Anne,
    What an amazing story of resillence and positive thinking. I am right now in a season of everything that can go wrong is going wrong. My health has been an issue for over a year and I had to limit my physical activity as well as many of the community and church activities. But reading your story gives me a renewed hope and encourages me to do those things I can physically do until things get better.

    I pray God’s blessing upon you and your family. That he will bring complete healing to you and Evan.

    Thank you and keep trudging!

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