Bitter or Better

“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate. It belongs to YOU.”

Josh Shippyouth motivational speaker

Actor Christopher Reeve once said, “You play the hand your dealt. I think the game’s worthwhile.”

Considering his paralysis following a severe spinal cord injury, this quote carries much weight. As we learn to accept the hand we are dealt, we move beyond the pain of the past. We begin to flourish in the present, and look forward to the future. We also model this important life lesson for others.

Recall Memories

I have found that one way to accept the circumstances is to focus on the person who died or left. If the relationship was positive, consider what your mother meant to you; recall memories of lovely experiences, celebrate her contribution to the world.

Even if your relationship was negative, consider what she missed and will miss in the future by removing herself from your life. With this focus, grief or acceptance will be easier than if you concentrate solely on what you’ve lost.

Susan Cain, author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts, writes, “If you’ve interpreted the events of your life to mean that you’re innately unlucky or unwise, then it’s hard to look optimistically at the future. Conversely, if you acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes and faced difficulties but seek (or have already glimpsed) redemption, you’ll feel a much greater sense of agency over your life (and your future).”

Now What?

As you begin to accept the hand you were dealt, you will discover the path back to joy, fulfillment, and contentedness. Along the way, check out who is in your corner. As you rediscover joy, it’s important to have supportive people around you. Associate with friends and family who will help you move in a positive direction. Also, get rid of the “shoulds” in your life. Do what you want to do, be who you want to be. Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop beating yourself up. Be kind and gentle with yourself.

Coaching Questions

  • What’s one thing you will do to begin to accept your loss experience?
  • Acceptance doesn’t mean embracing bad behavior on the part of others. In what ways can you accept past negative behavior and move on? How will this make a difference in your life?
  • If there is someone holding you back from accepting the past, how will you keep from having them negatively influence you?

Mershon Niesner

Mershon Niesner has a background as a Certified Life Coach, child welfare social worker, marketing/communications entrepreneur, freelance writer, and author. Mershon lost her mother at eight-years-old and was widowed at fifty-five. Her mission is to help other women who have experienced loss move forward in a healthy way. In addition to her own experience, Mershon interviewed over fifty motherless daughters for her book, Mom’s Gone, Now What? Ten Steps to Help Daughters Move Forward After Loss. Between them, Mershon and her husband have six children, nineteen grandchildren, and nine great-grands.

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