Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
When you can no longer think of a reason to continue, you must think of a reason to start over. There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction. And there are three little words that can release you from your past and guide you forward to a positive new beginning. These words are: “From now on…”
So, from now on…
1. Let the things you can’t control GO.
Most things are only a part of your life because you keep thinking about them. Realize this. Positive things will happen in your life when you emotionally distance yourself from the negative things. So stop holding on to what hurts, and make room for what feels right. Do not let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control. (Read Learned Optimism.)
2. Accept and embrace reality.
Life is simple on the average day. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. For everything you lose, you gain something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else. You don’t have to like it, but it’s just easier if you do. So pay attention to your outlook on life. You can either regret or rejoice; it’s your choice.
3. Change your mind.
Change is like breath — it isn’t part of the process, it is the process. In reality the only thing we can count on is change. And the first step toward positive change is to change your outlook. Prepare for the positive. Prepare for progress and the “new.” Allow the unknown to take you to fresh and unforeseen areas in yourself. Growth is impossible without change. If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change anything in your life. Sometimes all you need to do is look at things from a different perspective.
4. Hold tight to the good things.
When life’s daily struggles knock you into a pit so deep you can’t see anything but darkness, don’t waste valuable energy trying to dig your way out. Because if you hastily dig in the dark, you’re likely to head in the wrong direction and only dig the pit deeper. Instead, use what energy you have to reach out and pull something good in with you. For goodness is bright; its radiance will show you which way is up, and illuminate the correct path that will take you there. (Note: Marc and I discuss strategies for living true to these words in the Adversity & Self-Love chapters of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently”.)
5. Rest and regroup.
Strength isn’t about bearing a cross of grief or shame. Strength is about choosing your path, living with the consequences, and learning the way on the way. Sometimes you do your best and end up with a mess. When this happens don’t be discouraged. You tried your best. That’s really all you can ever do. You have not failed — you just learned what not to do. So rest, regroup, and begin again with what you now know.
6. Take necessary chances.
Making a big life change or trying something new can be scary. But do you know what’s even scarier? Regret. So realize that most of your fears are much bigger in your mind than they are in reality. You’ll see this for yourself as soon as you face them, so don’t let them stop you. Live your life so that you rarely ever have to regret the chances you never took, the love you never let in, and the gifts you never gave out.
7. Keep climbing.
Every person who is at the top of the mountain did not fall there from the sky. Good things come to those who work for them. You gain confidence and grow stronger by every experience in which you truly push yourself to do something you didn’t think you could do. If you are standing in that place of in-between, unable or unwilling to go backwards, but too afraid to move forward, remember that you can’t enjoy the view in the long run without being willing to climb at least a few small steps every day.
8. Give yourself credit for the lessons learned.
Just because you have struggled does not mean you are incapable. Every success requires some kind of worthy struggle to get there. Give yourself credit for the lessons learned and how far you have come. You’re not the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a week ago. You’re always learning and growing from your experiences. So use your disappointments and frustrations to motivate you rather than annoy you. Remember, you are in control of the way you respond to life today.
9. Appreciate how every step is necessary.
Almost nothing is 100% wrong in life. We learn from nearly every step we take. Whatever you did earlier today was a necessary step to get to tomorrow. So be proud of yourself and notice your progress. Maybe you are not as good as you want to be, or as great as you one day will be; but thanks to all the lessons you’ve learned along the way, you are so much better than you used to be. (Note: Our newest publication via Penguin Random House, “The Good Morning Journal: Powerful Prompts and Reflections to Start Every Day”, is a great tool for this kind of daily self-reflection.)
Afterthoughts… on Tragic Endings
Let’s take a moment to address an obvious elephant in the room — the fact that the aforementioned points are infinitely easier said than done when tragedy strikes. For example, when someone you love passes away too soon, that’s undoubtedly one of the most difficult and heartbreaking endings to cope with. Although it takes a lot more time and work, the general principles for coping with this kind of tragic ending are applicable. Let’s visualize this together…
Imagine a person who gave meaning to your life is suddenly no longer in your life (at least not in the flesh), and you’re not the same person without them. You have to change who you are — you’re now a best friend who sits alone, a widow instead of a wife, a dad without a daughter, or a next-door neighbor to someone new. You want life to be the way it was, before death, but it never will be.
Marc and I have dealt with the loss of siblings and best friends to illness, so we know from experience that when you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open. And the bad news is you never completely get over the loss — you will never forget them. However, in a backwards way, this is also the good news.
You see, death is an ending, which is a necessary part of living. And endings are necessary for beauty too — otherwise it’s impossible to appreciate someone or something, because they are unlimited. Limits illuminate beauty, and death is the definitive limit — a reminder that you need to be aware of this beautiful person or situation, and appreciate this beautiful thing called life. Death is also a beginning, because while you’ve lost someone special, this ending, like every loss, is a moment of reinvention. Although deeply sad, their passing forces you to reinvent your life, and in this reinvention is an opportunity to experience beauty in new, unseen ways and places. And finally, of course, death is an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life, to be grateful for the priceless beauty they showed you, and to begin again in their honor.
Before you go, please leave Marc and me a comment below and let us know what you think of this essay. Your feedback is important to us. 🙂
Which one of the points above resonated the most today?
Finally, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive new articles like this in your inbox each week.
I came across your books and blog writings a couple months ago, and they have really helped me with my journey.
My husband left me and his three kids, a month after I gave birth to our third, because I wasn’t enough for him – I’m not his soul mate. He fell in love with a married woman with 2 younger kids.
I am in a much better place now than I was three months ago, but I still have a lot of anger and hurt that comes to the surface regularly. Reading your articles has really helped me process these feelings better, and confirm the choices I can make in my responses to this. I know I will be a better and stronger person for these challenges, and your writings give me valuable steps that I can take, and reminders of what I need to keep doing.
I cannot thank you enough.
I am so enthralled by your writing!!!
I am so deeply touched by this essay. It speaks to the life that I am living today. Letting go of pain, dissapointment, family, friends is hard and change is hard. Your essay encourages, inspires me to go forward with living, changing, learning & embracing this new chapter in my life. I don’t have to live life anymore in fear, as one without hope. I can now strive to be the best that I can knowing l am wiser, stronger, and more than able to embrace the changes in my life.
Thank you both Angel & Mark. May God continue to richly bless you as you inspire and impact the lives of others with your service.
AMEN & AMEN!!!
Thank you for writing with such a fresh perspective. Like many of us, life has been a struggle beyond what we have overcome in the past, many of us are at our breaking point.
The typical advice and positive outlook quotes seem so empty and trite in comparison to your articles, which are never condescending or over-simplified.
I share many posts on Facebook and have given your link to so many people, as it is so extremely helpful. Please continue the great writing for all of us trying to regain our footing here on planet Earth 🙂
Wholeheartedly agree with you Pammychica.
Continue to share your writing with world. The uplifting messages and tidbits give me encouragement when I read them and reflect. I recently lost my father unexpectedly and I opened up one of your publications and was encouraged. I thank you.
Lucky born says
Dear Marc and Angel,
Thank you for sending us all these positive energy messages. Your articles are always a ray of hope both during happy and sad times. Please keep posting these articles. You simply touch our lives… I am grateful.
PS. I’m enjoying using your new Good Morning Journal! Great prompts!
I am gratefull for your article. I experienced many losses in my live and I am still experiencing it now. Your articles allow me to have some perspectives in order to continue life. I like your idea of reinventing ourselves when facing a loss of someone important and the idea of endings open new. beginnings.
“So realize that most of your fears are much bigger in your mind than they are in reality”
this is sooooo trueeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!
It has happened with me, and I think it sums up everything about taking chances, facing your fears and yeh dreaming big. Thank you soo much for this blog and post.
just love it! always makes my day!!!
Good list of reminders! Your emails and posts here never disappoint, M&A.
“Let the things you can’t control, GO” reminds me of the serenity prayer. I do my best to accept the things I can chance and let go of the things I can’t. I always pray for the wisdom to know the difference.
Joe Oside says
“Afterthoughts on tragic endings.” My wife died 2 weeks ago and I’m in a lot of pain and i cry a lot at all we shared over many years. That paragraph was painful to read and i cried through most of it, but I also think it’s true and will help. It’ll take time to renew, but i think its important to cry for now.
Kathy Strain says
I am in the midst of a major life change, scared to let go of the familiar (albeit not working anymore) lifestyle. I have a lot to leave behind to head toward and Independent Living Home at age 75. I leave 90 beautiful acres, my husband who will stay here, peace and quiet to enter apartment living. I’ve built beautiful gardens around me. But I live in isolation and can’t do the work anymore. What resonated with me are your words “use what energy you have to reach out and pull something good in with you. For goodness is bright; its radiance will show you which way is up, and illuminate the correct path that will take you there. ” Thank you.
Regarding your comment about endings being necessary reminds me of a remark made by the brilliant Swedish rock musician Tomas Ledin. He said that ‘without death, we cannot appreciate life’.
Lacey Mcblain says
I needed every word of this – not enough practical advice out there about how to truly approach the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. Thank you
This could not have come at a better time. My coworker/boss, and best friend of 22 years, has just been diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic and liver Cancer…and she is still in hospital having treatments to try to balance cortisols and blood pressure levels, etc. It feels like a bad dream! She is a good samaritan who is the most selfless person I have ever known, and is always doing for others. She and I worked so well together over the 22 years and she has been my mentor and my main person, who knows almost everything about me. We have both been through so many life changes (in every way possible-kids, marriage, divorce, trauma, loss, etc) and have supported one another in so many ways. Five days a week to see and talk and have lunch, and work with, and now to chaos, loss, fear, and emptiness…Crying all of the time, not sleeping, nerves shot, low appetite, loneliness, anger, etc…the stages of grief…It is getting easier just a little bit, and I am adjusting, and trying to accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in the next part of my journey, and try not to have so much fear in the unknown…I’m starting to embrace the change and become a bit excited for the next job/adventure, etc…because she/this has helped me to realize that life is just too short and needs to be LIVED!.
I thank you so both much for your emails, books, thoughts, tweets, etc..They have helped me out of so many dark, lonely, and sad places, and have given different perspectives to so much. Keep being amazing and helping the world! Thank you!!!
Rachel Edmonson says
WOW! What a great set of examples that I can write down to use and remember. I had a stroke on March 31st of this year and I am 51. It amazes me how when I go to therapy and I look around and I seem the youngest. I am learning everything you have written about here one day, one step at a time. I know there are plans and goals for me. Thank you both for this piece.
Thank you for this article. It has come at a very appropriate time in my life. I lost my husband a year ago to stage 4 lung cancer. We were married 47 years and together almost 52 years. I am at the stage of my life where it is now MY life instead of OUR life. We had no children and very little family. I am alone with the exception of some wonderful friends and several church families and I have the goodness of God. Reinventing my life is not easy. With that said, I am beginning to see a little bit of light to enable me to move forward. Your article has added to the brightness that will illuminate the path to my new life. Thank you so much.
Charles Bodden says
All I can really say is that I really needed what I just read. Thanks very much.
I lost someone special almost 10 years ago and still grieve every day, so your words today really resonated. It’s important to read about acknowledging the more painful parts of life, as everyone has them. Thank you.
Kim Jenkins says
My life is absolute madness, going through 2 years now of loss, grief, pain and trauma from numerous situations. I called a crisis hotline and was admitted for a mental break down and I’m a mth out of the hospital after a brief stay and I feel like I just don’t know what I am doing. Hard to function, and it’s hard to see the silver lining, but everyone saying it’s there and better things are to come.
Your article makes me feel better, kinda like therapy, but nothing I find or any time I’ve had hasn’t taken the pain away. I’m trying to look at the positives and take one step at a time. I appreciate what you do to help people like me who may need a few words of hope.
pradeep ivon says
thank you very much Marc and Angel for sharing and providing such a beautiful and guiding post. I just lost my beautiful wife of 58 years to cancer and last week conducted the Memorial Thanksgiving service at our local church in New Delhi. I know nothing can fill this vacuum she has left but praying to the Lord to let His Holy Spirit guide me and fill me up with inspiration to use the rest of my life creatively and purposefully to transform and help others in knowing the life is so uncertain, hence to live it in glorifying the Lord, also need to look after two daughters one is 28 and other will be 17 this year. God bless you dear for a wonderful guide.
I Love what you have written so much truth I love it keep sending me your articles thank you
Luca B says
I am in a period of my life where I am going through so many changes. From a new relation, that has so many arguments due to our differences, through moving by myself in a new flat( after 20 years of living with my ex partner). I am challenging myself at work so i can reach my potential.
I am overwhelmed, lost, depressed and deeply bruised.
Your writings made me realise that being tough on myself is not helpful. Even if it’s hard to move on and see the light at the end of the tunnel, I am trying to offer myself a chance to grow, so Thank you!
Terri Rattler says
This article touches on everything that I needed to read. When I read these articles I think of how I could share this with my adult children. While i am my worst enemy, I need to remember to gentle and kind. Right now I’m going through a lot with a son who has been trying to destroy himself due to a break up and not being able to see his children.
Thank you for sharing.
Came across this article and I’m.so glad I did. I’m going through many struggles in my life at the moment & many things that were mentioned in the article I could relate to. I think I am going to try and look at things from a different perspective now and try not to have such a negative outlook on my current situation. I hope to see more articles like this in the future.
Yvonne Martinez says
The entire article was good and gave me that breath of fresh air I’ve been needing. The rest and regroup really caught my attention about how sometimes we try our best and still end up in a mess ….that’s where I am at today in my marriage and it is so difficult to feel like there was something else I could of done, however I am confident that I did all I could and gave all I could it’s still just not enough….sad situation and still lost in what’s my next step
Great Article and your books helped me a lot. thank you.