Welcome back to Twelve essential questions to tell a life story. By joining me in twelve blog posts you will create what Rabbi Leder calls your ethical will.
By answering the questions your loved ones will get to know you deeper and you will understand yourself better. Let your memories bring meaning!
To join – read the blog posts, reflect on the questions and write your own answers. You are very welcome to share them in the comments.
Welcome on an interesting journey!
What got you through your greatest challenge?
Since Steve Leder is a rabbi he is often the first person people call when their lives fall apart. He says he has learned 3 important things from his own suffering and from supporting others in theirs.
Denial, ego, fear or shame prevent us from facing our failures, making the consequences worse than if we had dealt with these failures sooner rather than later.
Pain is halved when shared with someone we trust
We endure challenges and learn to live and love more fully because of them.
Thinking about and sharing how we got through our greatest challenge will help ourselves and our loved ones face future challenges.
One of the answers in the book resonates fully with me, I agree with every well written word in the following paragraph.
“Know the difference between adversity and disappointment, a heartbreak and a bummer. Keeping a sense of perspective has always been what has gotten me through life’s challenges. It is difficult to count our blessings when we’re in the midst of trauma, but there are alway blessings. Give yourself time to grieve, to lick your wounds. Never discount your real feelings of pain and loss, but also don’t lose yourself in them.”
When I thought about my challenges, I found it hard to select one. We all experience several challenges in life and ranking them can give the faulty impression some of them weren’t that painful. When I think about the different challenges I have experienced, I find two things that got me through them.
The unwavering belief I will get through it. There simply is no other option than “getting through”. Like Winston Churchill said:
If you're going through hell, keep going.
That’s what I do. I keep going. I don’t even consider giving up or getting stuck in despair with my feet burning. When I go through hell I keep going.
The other behaviour that helps me get through tough times, is looking beyond the misery. Finding the light in the darkness. This is one of the many wonderful things I learned from my mother. No matter how dark it is, there is always a light somewhere.
As Elvis Presley sings in If I can dream:
Out there in the dark, there's a beckoning candle
That beckoning candle guides me out of hell.
So my advice to my loved ones when they are facing difficulties is:
Keep on walking. Hell has an end. The beckoning candle in the darkness will guide you out of it.
If you want to read more about how to get through challenges, you are welcome to read some of the blog posts I have shared over the years on this topic.