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    Harriet Cabelly

    My discussion question is: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” What helps you get going when you encounter obstacles in life?

    I’m really interested in how people deal with their challenges – how some have the resilience and ability to rise up and make lemons out of lemonade. It’s all in our response to our situations as opposed to the situations themselves. We all know people who have met up with unbearable circumstances and yet have plowed through and created good lives despite…. And then there are those who fall prey to the ‘seemingly’ small challenges. Some become bitter, others better. One little letter can make all the difference in one’s life.

    Research is now showing that we can learn and incorporate resilience skills that can enhance our ability to deal with those obstacles that befall us. So whether it comes more naturally to you or you’re on the road to working to develop better skills in your life, what helps you when you meet up with a rocky, untraversed road in your life?


    Thank you for the discussion, Harriet. I have fallen down a few times and I don’t think I have ever given much thought to it. After a rough childhood I found the most wonderful love. Before that, I was just a criminal waiting for a very painful life. This man loved me and gave me a reason to love myself. Once I started living, I wanted him to be proud of me, I wanted my parents and family to be proud of me.

    When he died, I had to be strong. It was like he kept whispering in my ear when ever I was hurt or scared. I picked up and kept going because I believed that he would want me to do well. Six months later when I was in a near fatal car crash that put my limbs out of commission for a long period of time, it seemed important to me to be strong for my family. I wanted so much for them to love me, and I think I wanted to look at myself and feel like I was a good person, worthy of love and respect.

    After that, I’m just not sure. I pray and love the one. I’ve prayed for death but it never came. I’ve eased my pain by believing that there is a purpose for my suffering and that I have chosen this path, family, illness, the big stuff. When I see someone suffering, I feel so much pain, I want so bad to help them. All my life I have thought myself too broken to help others, and have worked to make myself well enough to be part of this world, not just a burden to those around me.

    I have lost everything so many times that my values have changed from the standard of society. I feel quite certain that if there were no purpose for me here that I would have died by now. If I can’t die, I must find something to do to keep myself busy, from going completely insane with boredom, loneliness and despair.

    Since I don’t have anyone to try and  impress anymore, I try to take of myself as I would my own child. I focus my energy on making life bearable by providing for my most basic of needs. I have food and shelter now, a wonderful companion pet, a social group online where I give and receive support and encouragement. There is more in the works but for now, just knowing that I am doing everything I can to change what can be, is enough to bring peace to my mind and body.

    Harriet Cabelly

    Hi Alice,

    Sounds like you’ve been through a lot and certainly understandable in your roller coaster ride of emotional fluctuations.  You’ve had a lot of knocks but it sounds like you’re doing well taking care of yourself right now.  You’re healing your wounds.  Hopefully soon you’ll be able to engage more in the awe, beauty and goodness in this world you’ve been given to exist in and you will turn it into thriving (not simply surviving).

    Onward to you in your life.  May you continue to bring peace to yourself and extend that to outward.

    Halina Goldstein

    Alice, thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes, for some of us,  life takes everything away – until we discover the very essence of it. Self-love is such essence, and it starts with taking care of ourselves exactly as you do. Meaning is that essence too. As Victor Frankl has shown us, it is our ability to find or create meaning that enables us to not only survive, but as you say, Harriet, thrive.

    Also in my experience, when everything is taken away what’s left is our truth. Not ideas, not ideals, not religions, not some distant inspiration, but our our true reality. Whether we have a name for it or not. From there, we can re-create ourselves and our lives in a way that is meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling. I believe in you Alice!

    Much appreciation and many warm greetings –



    I am 23 and have not really developed coping skills. When typing that I’m wondering if what I’m talking about is truly a skill that I desire. I have been feeling untouchable like I could never get sick or never be hurt, I could drink alcohol or numb away things that were stressors. Now that I am dealing with some unknown pain and spending a lot of time at the doctor I am trying to give myself love but I give myself negative thoughts which end up hurting me and causing stress and physical pain. How can i find the path to self love when i am worried about things i cannot control. I think i want peace but I keep thinking regret, anger towards my parents for abandoning me when i was 16 because they were on drugs.. i feel worried about my landlord kicking me out because i have a pitbull i didnt tell her about but i didnt have a place to live that allowed pitbulls and couldnt imagine abandoning my dog the one whose shown me unconditional love.

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