A few weeks ago, I wrote a list of five reasons why you are going to make it. You can read that here. Below is a list of five more reasons you are going to make it, even when things feel hard. I have included an affirmation for each of the reasons. (Affirmations are a tool we can use to help grow potential already present in us, but it is usually unwise to force yourself to use affirmations if they feel inauthentic to you.)
One: Creative Wisdom is always calling to you.
The first reason you are going to make it is because you have an infinite supply of Creative Wisdom waiting for you.
There is certainly a lot of irrationality and stupidity in the world, and it can cause us a lot of pain. There is, however, something much older than irrationality and stupidity: it is Creative Wisdom. Creative Wisdom is the source of the all the diversity and beauty in the world, and it underlies our intelligence and creative thinking processes.
Whenever we figure out better ways to live or to think, Creative Wisdom is behind it. For instance, Creative Wisdom is responsible for developments such as the recognition of individual human dignity, as well as movements to stand against irrational tyrants and oppressive governments.
Creative Wisdom is also behind relationship miracles such as when friends, family members, and partners learn how to care for each other better. Creative Wisdom is one of the drives in the world that sustains love and excellence. It also works to help these things flourish.
So what does this have to do with you? Creative Wisdom always surrounds you and reaches out to you to. Creative Wisdom wants to communicate with you. It is actually part of your true nature and one of the deepest, most real things about you.
Creative Wisdom doesn’t take away all our pain or prevent all bad things from happening to us. Rather Creative Wisdom teaches us how to bring new life from pain, as well as wholeness from brokenness. It also creates surprising new paths forward when all we see are obstacles.
You know those times when you are all out of answers and you see no way forward? I know those times are painful (I have them, too). Those are exactly the times when Creative Wisdom is waiting in the wings to help you level up. By “level up”, I just mean to gain a higher level of wisdom that helps you inhabit your life in a fuller, more authentic, wise, and creative way. Creative Wisdom never intends for you to figure it all out on your own.
And it is okay if you are not sure if Creative Wisdom exists. Creative Wisdom isn’t offended by your doubts. It is always reaching out to you. All you have to do is ask for wisdom and be willing to receive it. You can say (or pray) simply: I need more wisdom. Please help me. You can sit in silence and wait, or you can just go about your day, trusting that some form of wisdom is on the way to you. (I usually do the second one.)
Here is an affirmation you can use when you feel fearful and despairing: I know I do not have to do life alone. I allow Creative Wisdom to give me the wisdom I need for today. I trust Creative Wisdom will be there for me tomorrow, too.
Two: You have the power of reaction
The second reason you are going to make it is because while you can’t control everything that happens to you, you do have the power of reaction.
When bad or fearful things happen, as they inevitably do, we have two choices. We can respond with cruelty, hate, and violence (and humans have been doing that for thousands of years), or we can respond with love and compassion, with wisdom, and with creativity (primarily to ourselves and also to others).
When we respond the second way, we invite Creative Wisdom to reinvent and reinvigorate our lives.
I learned about the power of reaction vividly one time when I felt betrayed by some people I loved and trusted. In my pain, I simultaneously wanted to lash out at these people and also try to do anything to fix my relationship with them.
I eventually realized that neither of these options was a good one. So instead, I decided to care for myself by taking up a new hobby. This hobby introduced me to a whole new group of friends and greatly improved my life.
Of course, I wish I had never been betrayed by my old friends. I am not grateful for the suffering, but I am grateful for the beautiful new life chapter to which it led.
We always have the choice to respond to painful things in our life in a way that allows Creative Wisdom to do her thing. The trick to reacting well is to consider these two questions:
- How can I treat myself with kindness, compassion, and respect in my response?
- How can I treat others with kindness, compassion, and respect in my response?
We are our own primary caretaker, and so treating ourselves with dignity (or love) must be our primary focus because we cannot treat others with dignity if we don’t treat ourselves with dignity. And truthfully, sometimes we have to focus on ourselves and not worry about others.
However, it is usually possible for us to figure out a way to treat both ourselves and others with dignity. (By the way, treating others with dignity does not mean being nice. You can read more about this here.) When we do this, we react well to painful situations and create new possibilities.
Affirmation: When I experience suffering, I react with kindness, compassion, and respect first to myself and then to others when I can. I allow Creative Wisdom to help me find life-giving responses and forge new paths.
Three: You have the power to create beauty.
One of the reasons we struggle with fear and despair is because we fear that we will have a bleak, ugly, and meaningless life. These feelings are understandable because sometimes we are surrounded by people or life circumstances marked by these qualities. We also often feel this way when we have cherished goals or desires that go unfulfilled year after year.
This is one of the hardest parts of life, and there is no denying that it is painful.
Once again, we cannot control how other people act, but we can choose to add to the bleakness, ugliness, and meaningless in the world, or we can decide to add more beauty. Choosing the second response nurtures and strengthens our spirits.
There are thousands of ways to add beauty to the world, but here are some:
- We can treat ourselves with compassion, kindness, and respect.
- We can be silent or meditate to cultivate inner calm and peace.
- We can nourish ourselves and others through beautiful food.
- We can take a walk (especially around a lot of trees) to calm our minds and hearts.
- We can express gratitude to someone for the beautiful things we see in them.
- We can read wise books or listen to wise podcasts.
- We can create art or experience art.
- We can take up hobbies that strengthen our bodies, minds, or spirits.
- We can volunteer in our community to bring light and hope to people.
- We can listen to a friend going through a hard time.
- We can reach out to the Divine if we believe in the Divine.
- We can listen to good music.
- We can adopt pets.
- We can foster children.
- We can be good teachers or invest meaningful in whatever job we have.
These activities will not necessarily change how other people act (although acts of beauty often inspire other acts of beauty). However, acts of beauty nourish and strengthen our spirits, which is incredibly important in a world that does have a lot of pain, disappointment, and ugliness in it.
Affirmation: I consistently make choices to add beauty to the world, and I nourish the spirit of myself and others.
Four: You are the editor of your story.
The fourth reason you are doing to make it is because you are the editor of your story. You get to decide ultimately if your life is a tragedy or a story of grit and survival—certainly our story can have elements of both.
One of the things that helps me make it through tragic circumstances is a determination to gain wisdom from my circumstances so that I can help others. This allows me to give tragic circumstances in my life purpose and to direct my life story as a survival story.
Of course, you are not required to use your tragedies to help others. That’s how I respond to suffering. Some people use their suffering to do other things. For instance, my friend Jack wrote a guest post on my blog last week about how he uses anger from suffering to fuel positive personal change. (You can read about that here.)
Some people respond to tragedy and suffering by doing art or writing or taking on physical challenges. One of my friends who suffered a traumatic brain injury decided years later to hike the Appalachian Trail to show (among other things) that his brain injury had not beat him. My mother became a paraplegic at a very young age but decided early on to take up swimming to maintain her health and give herself hope after her accident. (You can read about this here.)
I know that it can be very hard to try to turn our lives into a story of survival when we are depressed and full of despair. It’s okay, Friend. You are not required to have energy today, and you are not required to know how to turn your tragedy into a story of survival right now. You don’t have to take any action today. All you have to do is be willing to treat yourself with kindness, compassion, and respect in the face of your tragedy and be willing to use the energy of your tragedy for some kind of good for yourself or others. Eventually you will have more energy than you have today.
Affirmation: I honor the tragedy in my life. I am willing to use its energy for something loving in the world. I am willing to write the story of my life as a survival story. I trust I will know how to do so when the time is right.
Five: You have the power of “No.”
Sometimes we suffer fear and despair because we feel caught in bad circumstances. Friend, I don’t know the circumstances of your life, but I sincerely believe that your purpose is not to dwell in circumstances that crush your spirit or demean your dignity.
If you are in a relationship or job or addiction that is crushing your spirit, please know that you are not alone and that that you have the power of “No”. You have the power to say “No” to people who treat you badly or jobs who demean you, and you have the power to seek help for addictions you are suffering.
I am not going to tell you that it is easy to do these things, but I do want to tell you this:
Creative Wisdom is waiting to help you.
Thousands of people have been in circumstances similar to yours and have been able to say “No”, walk away, or get help for addictions. These people aren’t better than you. You have the same light and power they have.
You have a light inside you that is waiting to help you and steer you in a good path. (You can read more about this here.)
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 While the phrase Creative Wisdom is my invention, all the major world religions and most ethical systems talk about Creative Wisdom in one form or another. Two of my favorite mentions of Creative Wisdom are in Proverbs 8 (you can read that here) and the Tao Te Ching, chapters 8, 19, 21, 22, and 25.
 By the way, you might be wondering if Creative Wisdom is God. I tend to think of Creative Wisdom as a part of God. I practice Christianity, and I think of Creative Wisdom as the Holy Spirit and the feminine aspect of God. Some people in the Christian tradition refer to Creative Wisdom as Sophia (you can read more about that here.) I also find a lot of wisdom in Taoism and think the Tao is Creative Wisdom. But, you don’t have to believe in God or enjoy the Tao Te Ching to believe in Creative Wisdom. Creative Wisdom loves you no matter what you believe, and it is still reaching out to you.