I had coffee recently with a friend who I hadn’t seen in awhile. After hearing the details of my divorce story, she said, “It must be so hard to completely start over.”
I just smiled and nodded. I get that comment quite often since no one is really sure what to say to me, and I haven’t yet perfected a witty response.
For me, “starting over” feels like the game card in Candyland where you are instructed to go back to the very beginning of the game and lose all the progress you have made toward Gum Drop Mountain.
The loss of Candyland progression is upsetting and often leaves my 4-year-old in tears. I can relate on a personal level, as every time I hear the “starting over” phrase, I want to cry.
Starting feels like there is a set course with a definite end, and “starting over” feels like you could be subjected to the same path with the same game cards while fate continues to send you back to the same starting point…and this cycle could repeat itself forever.
However, the phrase “beginning again” feels like a whole new game to me.
As a writer, I am fascinated by the power of language. I marvel at how simple words can transcend thought and emotion and can often inspire with a few words — or how with a single sentence, you can deal a devastating blow.
One of my favorite Proverbs speaks of the power of words:
Reckless words pierce like a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
This past year has been very challenging and I’ve had days where I’ve felt the calling from the pit of depression. I didn’t want to go on anti-depressants, so I took stock of everything.
What I realized was that my language about my life had shifted too often to words like “devastating,” “crushing” and “impossible”.
For my own healing, I decided to change a few words in my vocabulary to see if I could create a more positive life outlook.
This switch has been the secret to my being able to get out of bed each day. Reframing my attitude about my life has given me the strength to keep moving forward.
I no longer TRY things. I DO things. I need to take risks and to challenge myself much more than I ever have had to before.
The recent Olympics taught me the power of doing versus trying: every athlete came to London with a clear mission of doing and succeeding. The Nike tagline reflects the same attitude: ‘Just do it’ is much more powerful than ‘Just try it.’
I no longer HOPE that things will get better for my children and me. I BELIEVE that they will. Simply hoping for a positive outcome wasn’t enough for me.
Making a shift to a committed vision of a brighter future helps me see it more clearly, and I’m finding it easier to figure out what I need to do to get there.
I no longer think about how I can REINVENT myself. Instead, I focus on my TRANSFORMATION. Personally, I don’t like the word reinvent. It makes me feel like what I was before didn’t work, and so I now need to create an entirely new me.
I prefer transformation, as it implies that I am growing and evolving using the experiences from my journey to date. Transformation allows other parts of me to emerge without the need for a complete overhaul.
And, I no longer feel like I am STARTING OVER. Instead, I am BEGINNING AGAIN.
Beginning feels like an unfolding, a journey of discovery where the outcome isn’t as important as the process.
Transformation makes me feel stronger and less fearful about the path ahead.
Have you ever shifted your attitude and seen a difference in your life? What was the adjustment?
Image credit: Persistent Green