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Can you experience joy despite any hardship?

I held them in my hands. Tiny, perfectly formed babies… but just far too prem to survive. It didn’t happen only once either. And then the blow of an early miscarriage. I could easily have slipped into bitterness, lost in my anguish and the cruelty of how unfair it all was. But I chose differently. I grieved, but I did not lose my sense of joy even in my darkest moments. I’m forever grateful that I was able to cling to my higher self, to move beyond the pain – even using it to find new meaning.

Sadness connects us faster

“Misery loves company.” Ever heard that saying? What is unfortunately true of the human race is that sadness connects us with far greater speed and consistency than happiness.

Think I’m wrong? Have you ever deeply desired something for yourself that seemed unattainable? When faced with someone who then got what it is you so badly wanted – did you truly feel complete happiness for them? Or did your inner-child cry at the unfairness of it all? Maybe you even felt jealous for other’s blessings or successes.

Seems awful doesn’t it? Awful yet interesting that one of the easiest ways to gain connection with someone is to share your woes and heartbreak. It’s very seldom that opening up won’t gain you compassion and sympathy from others. Call it a spin-off benefit of your misery!

BUT… these spin-off benefits can truly only give you temporary relief.

Have you met someone who is NEVER happy? Who ALWAYS brings the vibe down no matter where you are? The reality is that in the long term; expressing and living in a state of misery such as depression and despair are destructive for everyone involved.

Some years ago I recall chatting with a friend, she was deeply concerned about another woman who was so unable to move beyond the grief of her baby loss – in fact she carried around pictures of her stillborn baby. My friend was feeling frustrated, and guilty that this was her reaction. She wanted to have more sympathy but felt helpless and drained by this woman’s endless despair.

Does living in this state serve you?

It simply does not serve you to remain in this disempowered state. While in the short term it may buy you the connection you crave with others – eventually their interest in helping you will erode. The sacrifices others will make in the short term to ease you through the hardship, will eventually turn to resentment as they will eventually feel punished by your hopelessness and your inability to continue living.

Ask yourself: Do you really want to force that connection with somebody – guilting them into staying just to make sure you are ok?

Perhaps you have subconsciously learned that feeling miserable enables you to escape and not face up to the thing that need to change? And perhaps that escape looks like self-destructive behaviours such as alcohol abuse – temporarily bringing you numbness or maybe even false joy?

The question is then: what can you do to overcome these negative emotions once and for all?

The key lies in creating a new vision of your future – one that is compelling. And there is actually a very easy way to accomplish that – AND find enough momentum to keep moving towards it. The simple truth is that switching your focus away from yourself and toward serving others, will give you enough leverage to move from misery into a compelling joy-filled future.

It may sound far too simplistic. But when I evaluate my own life, my losses – I could have easily given up and many would have forgiven me for wallowing in long-term self-pity. But I found that the best cure for grief is always to stop focusing on myself and instead to ask, “How I can help others?” I wasn’t just able to give hope to others who had experienced the same loss - that they would one day feel whole again, but I was also able to relieve those supporting them of their guilt!

By being generous with your love. By focussing on making others’ lives better - it brings your situation into a broader perspective. Suddenly you are able to appreciate that your pain can be used to serve others. It connects you with your higher self. It brings an inner joy that is not temporary in the way that sympathy from others is.

If you have been stuck in misery – it’s time to find what it is you value more than your pain and loss. This will help you gain clarity on what brings your life meaning and purpose.

So again, here are the steps you should take to move into an empowering way of living - where despite hardships - you can always experience joy!


Become aware of what your spin-off benefits look like. And then evaluate the long-term consequences.


Make a conscious commitment to yourself not to over-indulge in self-pity. Grieve in a healthy way – just don’t allow yourself to get stuck there.


Find a way to use your pain for purpose. Consider who is watching – will your courage give them strength to shake off their own self-destructive malaise? Who would benefit if you shift your focus towards love and contribution? And how good would it feel in your heart to meet their needs?

#grief #trauma #meaning #purpose

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