Affirmations prevail when going gets toughJanuary 6, 2020
By MARTHA RASCHE
Special to The Herald
“Dear Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen today that you and I together cannot handle.”
I started saying that prayer as a junior in high school. I’m in my mid-50s and on occasion still say it.
Sometimes when life gets harried or the going gets tough, I tell myself this in the moment: The only thing you have to do right now is breathe.
As I thought about writing a New Year’s column, I wondered what other people tell themselves to get through the hard times. So I decided to ask them.
I asked the people who serve on the Dubois County mental health committee with me.
I asked the social workers at the area high schools to share my question with their staffs and students.
I asked my family after Thanksgiving dinner — and received answers from loved ones ranging in age from 12 to 93.
These are the responses I received, in no particular order (and minus some of the exclamation points; some people evidently talk to themselves much more excitedly than I do). If you don’t already have a go-to affirmation, I hope something you read here resonates with you and you make it your own.
I say the Serenity Prayer.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
“Dear Lord, nothing is going to happen to me that you and I can’t handle together” was and still is my favorite that I shared with my youngest daughter as she was going through those tough teenage years. We still rely on this in her adult life as a pediatrics nurse. The power of prayer is amazing.
I find myself trying to do positive self-talks to help me in dealing with difficult people and situations, which we all do. I pray that I can keep my focus and refuse to allow others to steal my joy. I also try to remind myself that I cannot control what others say and do, but I can control how I react to it.
I try to tell myself that God is already there, He’s got this, and I just need to breathe and trust him. Easier said than done most of the time for me. I have a strong faith, but in the midst of stress I tend to plunge ahead and not take time to remind myself that God’s got this.
Big God, little giants.
You create your own comfort zone. You can stay in joy or leave in peace. There is no third option. — adopted from Cy Wakeman’s “No Ego” podcast
Regret is the belief that God can’t make a masterpiece out of your mistake. Romans 8:28 says that God can make all things work together for the good of those who love him. Lord, please let my story of overcoming struggles today become someone else’s survival guide tomorrow.
I cannot worry about what I cannot control. That worry is not productive and will not change the outcome. Instead, I focus on how I react; that’s where the power is.
You have survived 100% of your worst days; you can do this.
Sometimes when things seem like they’re life or death, I like to remind myself that the world will continue regardless of the outcome of this one thing. That helps me a lot if I get anxious about speaking at an event or something of that nature.
You are enough. You are doing the best you can. That is all anyone can ask.
I have used and advocated a saying that my mother instilled in me when I was in middle school. She always said, “Just break down the interval to smaller increments until you get to a level that you feel you can do it.” I have been using this technique for 40 years now. Amazing how 15-minute victories add up to a successful hour, and each hour adds up to make the day a victory. When I feel really stressed and overwhelmed, I tell myself that I just need to make it through the day. When things get really rough, then I lower it to just getting through the hour. And, when it has been really overwhelming, I have set it at just the next 15 minutes (and once even the next 5 minutes). It doesn’t seem as overwhelming to just focus on one day, or one hour, or even 15 minutes. Anyone can do anything for 15 minutes! Breaking the challenge into smaller and smaller increments makes anything doable. Then, at the end of that hour, or day, the amount of relief and joy that I experience in surviving and conquering is unbelievable. I now have my 18-year-old daughter doing the same thing when she gets overwhelmed.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
God’s in charge.
Live in such a way that if someone spoke badly about you, no one would believe it.
It’s all small stuff.
One day at a time.
Every day is a gift.
God has a plan.
I ask myself if what I am feeling anxious or stressed about is actually that big of a deal. Often I find myself stressed about things I shouldn’t be.
Trust your gut.
I usually pray a prayer something along the lines of “Dear Lord, above all of my stresses and anxiety put somebody into my life that I could help today. I ask that you help me to do my best because I know it is all for a reason.”
During the moment of silence following the Pledge of Allegiance at school, I say, “Lord, grant me the patience to make it through the day.”
You have to do the best you can, with what you have, where you’re at.
Be kind; everyone is dealing with something.
It is what it is.
You got this.
Do your best.
I believe in you.
If you want to change, make the change for yourself.
I am winning.
One day, I’ll own a Tesla.
Do the next right thing. — from the “Frozen 2” song “Do the Next Right Thing”
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” — James 1:2
Take one day at a time.
Everything is fine if this doesn’t get done today.
Slow your roll.
The faster I run, the quicker I am done.
It’s all good.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be kind, be nice, be you.
I don’t have to get good grades as long as I am nice and encourage others.
God is with me.
Tomorrow will be better.
Get it done so you can take a nap later.
Do your best.
Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.
This might suck, but soon you’ll be in your bed.
All of the hard work I have put into this is finally going to pay off.
Give it your all.
(My name), get it together!
“Dear (my name), this is going to be a good day and here’s why.” — adapted from “Dear Evan Hansen,” a song from the Broadway musical of the same name
Bloom where you are planted.
Remember when you wanted what you have now.
It’s only temporary.
You can do hard things.
“Lord, I hope this day is good. I’m feeling empty and misunderstood, Oh, Lord, I hope this day is good.” — From Don Williams’ song “Lord I hope this Day Is Good”
This too shall pass.
Do your best and it will work out for better.
Some respondents told me about actions they take to get through difficulties rather than words they tell themselves.
Here are those responses:
• I just do a breathing therapy for 20 counts. I inhale (that’s 1) then I exhale (that’s 2). Then I just do something or make myself think of something that excites me and makes me happy.
• I hold a finger up to my mouth and pretend that I’m blowing out a candle. I do this a few times and then look around and notice the small things in a room. This calms me down when I get anxious or stressed.
• I call my mom.
• I remind myself that I can go home and eventually talk to my wife. Sometimes it helps just to say it out loud to someone.
• I walk away, reminding myself to take deep breaths.
• One thing I do is remind myself that today will never happen again. I can go home, go to sleep, and tomorrow is always a new day.
• I try to always believe something wonderful is about to happen.
Martha Rasche is a member of the Dubois County Public Health Partnership Mental Health Committee and the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. With funding from the health partnership, she writes about topics related to mental health. Read her blogs at TheseAreOurStories.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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