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20 Ways Life is Amazing (Even When it Hurts)

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” ~Anne Frank

I have a confession to make: The last few weeks have been some of the hardest I’ve lived through in my entire life—but not for the reasons you’d think.

Thankfully, all of my family is safe and sound. Today is actually my grandmother’s 80th birthday, and we’re having a wonderful dinner to celebrate her life.

My husband and I have just moved into a beautiful new home and are ecstatic to finally have a little nest of our own. I have my health, my family, and my life—so what could possibly be missing?

The puzzle piece I have lost is what makes me most proud: the results of my intellect and mind.

In January of this year, I left my corporate job to launch a startup. The business grew, and I achieved many interesting goals. I hired a staff, met amazing new people, served great clients, launched a platform, and even published a mobile app.

Ten months later, I am now left with only a fraction of what I built. What makes this devastating are not the reasons that things went sour, but the fact that it was all my fault.

In the aftermath of a very strenuous episode, I can now see that what I feared would happen did actually happen, and the world has not crumbled. My life has not been stripped out from under me, and I still have all that I find precious.

I have felt anxiety, yes, but it was my own choice to create and suffer it. I have left that behind.

I choose to let the negativity float away, along with all the thoughts of what could have been, because those are the ones that bring me down.

In finding the balance between a harsh reality and a smiling heart, I made a list of what I find amazing about life, even when it hurts. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Courage grows when we choose to open up to another person in a way that creates more connection.

2. After rain stops falling, dewdrops sprinkle our gardens with incredible beauty.

3. A gesture as simple as holding someone’s hand slows our heart rate to a calm and peaceful state, as if by magic.

4. As much as we teach them our ways, children represent an immense learning experience for all adults to find more play and joy in life.

5. Simplicity in communication, design, and thinking will always win out over the complex, both in business and personal affairs.

6. When forming our emotions and actions, how we speak to ourselves within our own minds is much stronger than what anyone else can say to us.

7. Every single morning represents a new opportunity to live the life we always dreamed of.

8. Every single action we choose to take—like when you chose to read this—is a representation of our priorities in life.

9. The power of a shared connection can change our entire outlook on a problem, through empathy, support, and a comforting hug.

10. Moments of sadness and loss are the times we feel most appreciative for our lives, like a pick-me-up that is hard-coded into our brains to alleviate pain.

11. Our bodies are automatically programmed to reject all kinds of extremes (including drinking water), leading us to a path of moderation and balance.

12. While material goods might create momentary happiness, our best moments as humans come from joyful experiences.

13. As each of us grows and changes, we build layer upon layer of amazing personality traits and expertise, which creates new, improved versions of ourselves as time goes on.

14. Even fear can be helpful. The activities and experiences that we fear are usually the ones that provide us with the best experiences.

15. Our minds and bodies are responsive to the care we give them. If we exercise both, they will both improve. If we don’t, they won’t. It’s in our hands to choose.

16. The key to closer human connection is giving more of one’s own self. A material gift could never bring us closer together than a conversation.

17. As time passes, the human connections we make—friends, family, acquaintances—flow in and out our lives. The choice to reel them in when we need them is completely ours for the taking.

18. Learning comes strongest when it is derived from a mistake. Sometimes, the worse the mistake, the better the learning.

19. Each person has a distinct way to overcome personal obstacles. For some, comedy helps ease the pain, while others might choose music or sports. Each of us can find our own way to happiness.

20. While finding never-ending joy may be difficult, finding happiness is much easier—through peace of mind and mindful choices. When we change our perception of happiness, it is obvious that it’s ours for the taking.

What else would you add to this list? Let’s help each other find happiness in the face of difficulty.

Photo by PhilKu

Avatar of Marcella Chamorro

About Marcella Chamorro

When Marcella Chamorro decided to quit her job, she began living a perpetual vacation, starting her own freedom business and speaking at events worldwide. As an author & entrepreneur in Nicaragua, Marcella guides those who want to live and work awesomely — follow along here and get free resources on feeling awesome.

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  • Wings

    Marcella,
    From what you have written, I do not believe that you should ever question the power of your intellect! Your honesty about your hardships and what you discovered along the way, is a real testament of how brave you are! Your willingness to admit your mistakes, teaches that in fact we are all universally connected, and brave people like yourself, help many others who mirror similar experiences. So what I would add to the list is: We all have a story… And our human connection grows stronger through honest testimonials of our life experiences!
    Thank you for an extremely insightful post.

  • Betty

    Marcella, thank you sharing this awesomeness! I love it, and it put a smile on my face!
    Thank you!

  • http://twitter.com/lemead Lindsey Mead

    This is just so wonderful. Thank you for the reminder that even in the middle of the thing we’ve dreaded most there is tremendous beauty and grace. xox

  • Jeffrey Willius

    What a personal, moving reflection, Marcella! I love how so many of your tips are things we tend to think of as small, often inconsequential, things.

    One that’s on my list is a sense of gratitude for the prospect of another day of life. So often, pain and stress close a kind of black curtain between us and the future. Yes, it’s good to dwell in the present moment, but being able to find a sliver of light coming through that curtain can be such a gift.

  • SHAJHAI

    First i thank u 4 sharing YOURself…. according 2 me the first 19 points are fine i would like u 2 explain on the 20th point i am sure u would have had many a lot experiences, time and simultaneous thinking during the realization of it please do expand ur experience on it it would really help many of us
    Thank U . :)

  • Tra

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom with me – this was amazing – it has given me much insight. xoxo

  • Lisa Ross

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been going through a similar situation and have had a hard time articulating my feelings about it. Reading this makes me realize that I’m not alone and that it’s okay to open up and express my feelings. Truly a gift, thank you.

  • http://www.marcellachamorro.com/ Marcella Chamorro

    So glad it provided you with that. Cheers!

  • http://www.marcellachamorro.com/ Marcella Chamorro

    Thanks, Betty! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • http://www.marcellachamorro.com/ Marcella Chamorro

    Thanks! I believe that happiness is not just never-ending joy, but also very much acceptance and contentedness with what is, at each present moment. What do you think happiness is?

  • http://www.marcellachamorro.com/ Marcella Chamorro

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it and shared those feelings with me, Lisa!

  • http://www.marcellachamorro.com/ Marcella Chamorro

    Thank you, Lindsey! I am the first to admit that it’s hard to remember when things get tough, which is exactly why I wrote this post. When things hurt, it’s time to stick to our happiness strongest.

  • http://www.marcellachamorro.com/ Marcella Chamorro

    That is a great #21 for this list! Thank you so much for your words, and I am glad you found it insightful.

  • http://www.marcellachamorro.com/ Marcella Chamorro

    That is so true, Jeffrey. Great point! Not only is the present moment wonderful as is, but the future will bring greatness, as well. Cheers!

  • SHAJHAI

    This moment i type i see happiness s mainly dependent on realization which ultimately comes from acceptance as u told Marcella Chamorro …. the way i realized and still learning life is by standing strong which comes from practice by going right in de opposite direction 2 de already programmed negative by accepting ourselves 2 who v r….. it s very difficult at de beginning and i say it 2 everyone it s surely possible by everyone…. find de plus in urself and trust on it (ur heart) 2 go forward watever de situation may be …DONT GIVE UP…. at de same time don be hard on urself try 2 balance… thank u Marcella Chamorro :)………and i am very thanful 2 lori and team – U are saving many ppl 2 get up n life u ppl inspire me carry on!!!!:D ..

  • Girish

    Pretty cool article. I agree.