How did you survive? When they took everything from you, you found a way to make something of nothing."
When I was 13 I lived out of a car with my mom for two weeks. We were waiting for her next paycheck to put a deposit down on a rental place. In the trunk were some of our belongings, mostly clothes, and a box of food the church gave us. This was a first for me. It was scary.
I learned exactly what can be taken away.
In those two weeks I mentally took stock of all the things we'd lost: our home, my childhood bed (and other furniture) was sold, lots of my toys I'd grown up with, pictures that were packed or lost, almost everything that represented security to me. The list was long. My focus on the loss was strong.
It was that momentous time in a young life when protection from the real world is stripped away.
Without my "stuff" I didn't feel safe anymore. Like when we clutch our first teddy bear and it feels almost as good as mom. "Things" quickly become symbols of security.
Once I tired of ruminating over what was gone, I came up with another list. It gave me hope and ultimately changed me forever. It's what I regard as our essential ingredients. Everybody has them and should hold onto them dearly. In times of abundance, grow them and nurture them. In times of loss, rely on them!
What nobody can take away: My essential ingredients
Self-respect (How I treat myself and how I see myself. Regardless of what has happened to me, how I treat me is what actually affects me).
Feelings (We are all allowed these).
Learning (Learning is a beautiful part of life, even if it's just learning a tough life lesson. For me it's my curiosity on life. I love to read too. I would never let a tough time go without gaining some sort of lesson from it).
Goals (I know everyone says being in the present moment makes us happier, but when that present moment is shitty, I like to look forward to a better future. Goals help me do that).
Dignity (define yourself how YOU choose, not by any other standards).
Passion (Writing for me! What's your passion?)
Faith (Can't imagine not having it).
This list resulted in being much shorter than my list of losses. Although that did not discourage me because it meant a lot more. It's been a lifesaver during turbulent times since that very first one.
You already have everything you need, with or without "stuff" (and people) that come and go.
Everybody's losses look different. I wrote this because I know I'm not the only one to go through tough times. We all need to be reminded just how powerful we are in our own right. Everybody's essential ingredients list is different...and meaningful to them.
Don't forget to cherish that which cannot be taken away from you! I encourage you to make a list or a mental note of all these precious qualities in yourself. Come up with at least three essential ingredients because even a cake can!
The more you search outside yourself, the more you forget what's on the inside."
I'm passionate about no-nonsense self-improvement. Too many of us are plagued by faulty thought patterns- I aim to change that!