Individuals who know of my physical disability have asked me how I manage to stay so cheerful. These tips have helped me in my efforts:
- Recognize that God has put us on earth to be tested and to learn - especially patience and long-suffering. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, look for the lessons to be learned from our trials.- Roll up our sleeves and serve as much as we can. By serving others, we forget about our own trials, and we begin to focus on what we can do rather than what we can't do.
- Reach out to others in every way, by listening, empathizing, befriending and loving.
- Have a positive attitude. The reason I have a positive attitude is I try hard to look beyond the moment and have an eternal perspective.
- Realize Heavenly Father loves us and is aware of our personal circumstances. I strive to have a close relationship with Him; this relationship brings me joy and comfort.
- See ourselves as God sees us - not as objects of pity but as children of potential.
- Come to know that through God any trial can be handled. Our trials can strengthen us. Because of my circumstances, I have developed great compassion and empathy for others. - Jan Dickson, Hawthorne, Calif.
How we did it:
One good deed
Each day, I try to do one good deed. Sometimes overwhelmed with trials and responsibilities, I find it seems impossible to endure. I turn in prayer to the only One I know will never let me down. After prayer, I reflect upon the mission of Jesus Christ. The countless favors and blessings He's bestowed upon me will forever be engraved in my heart and mind. His example has given me love, hope and strength. I, too, want to be like Him. I pray to know whom I can serve and what He'd have me specifically do for each individual. This is something we can all ponder and pray about: "How can I be a steward and fulfill what He would do if He were here?"
The more service and sacrifice I give selflessly, the less I think about myself. I have less self-pity, an abundance of blessings and more happiness. We'll always have trials to help us grow, but we must remember that the growth we also need to return to our Heavenly Father is received through the experience of service we initiate and give to others as we emulate our Savior, Jesus Christ. - Michelle Beck, Crescent, Iowa
I am 31 years old. Between the ages of 20 and 31 I went through three major back surgeries, three knee surgeries and had my spleen removed. Also, this last March, my non-member husband of 13 years filed for divorce. Of the many times I found myself sliding toward self-pity, I found it helped to do the following:
- Pray for strength and understanding.
- Study the scriptures. Pay attention to 2 Nephi, chapter 2.
- Read Church publications.
- Do a service project. Helping others always makes me feel better.
Repeatedly doing these things has taken all of my self-pity away. I've never been more happy and spiritually strong than I am today. Remember, Heavenly Father wants to help all of us through our trials. All we have to do is knock and ask. A knock a day helps keep self-pity away! - Rebekah Snowden-Lubach, San Diego, Calif.
After cancer surgeries left me with physical limitations, I found myself wallowing in self-pity, forgetting my blessings and abilities, and becoming very self-centered. I noticed, however, I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself when I was serving others. My ability to cope with my illness improved, and my personal tragedy seemed minimal.
As I live the gospel more fully, I realize even though this is a life of trials and our limitations may remain with us for the rest of our mortal lives, our Heavenly Father has not left us alone to overcome our weaknesses. Our righteous prayers are heard, and we need only look to the Savior for comfort and relief. Indulging in self-pity can hinder our progression, leaving us spiritually limited as well. It is destructive, unproductive, and benefits no one. Mortal life is short; self-pity takes precious time. - Katheryn R. Clayton, Salt Lake City, Utah
Whole new person
After years of never feeling good and wondering what was wrong with me, I was tested for food allergies. Now that I leave the food alone that I am allergic to, I feel like a whole new person.
Get a complete check-up with a doctor. When you feel good physically, you feel good about yourself.
Next, search your past and present to find any traumatic experience. Seek the proper counseling, if necessary.
Always remember that you are a son or daughter of your Heavenly Father. Take your problems to Him and He will help you find a solution. Pray, read your scriptures, fast, do your Church calling, attend the temple. - Patricia L. Johnson, La Grande, Ore.
I was in a car wreck in February - a rollover that broke my back. I had already known illness because as a child I was paralyzed for a time due to a mysterious illness. It was harder to be laid up this time - having eight children to take care of from a couch. I was upset to have my life changed. I had been so active, and then to be on bed rest. I was able to walk, but when I felt pain, I had to lie down. I overcame self-pity by having a daily goal of visiting someone. I would visit when I felt good enough to walk. It was amazing how it helped. I also made it a point to serve at the school by teaching art as a volunteer and by drawing portraits of the children.
What a difference it made to me to think of others in these ways. Then I could cope better. - Mary Ann Fackrell, Ucon, Idaho
During the past year, I have gone through overwhelming difficulties, some of which include a divorce with residual economic challenges, a serious car accident, a cancer scare and an injury to one of my daughters. Certainly, I have felt the inclination to feel a little sorry for myself. A wise friend suggested that I not underestimate the magnitude of my challenges, but consider them spiritual refinement. Subsequently, I have endeavored to look at my life through different eyes and have been enlightened, uplifted, even excited as I have recognized personal growth. This personal growth has ranged from understanding Christ's atonement better to having a deeper sensitivity for other people and their lives.
As troubles continue to come my way, as they do for all of us, I find myself looking for what I'm learning from the experiences, and I am always rewarded. - Paula Hicken, Heber City, Utah
How we checklist:
1 Live gospel; seek help through prayer, scriptures.
2 Serve others; focus on what you can do, not can't do.
3 Learn from hardship; trials can bring personal growth.
4 Have positive attitude; realize trials are part of life.
Write to us:
July 8 "How to benefit from institute of religion as a college-age young adult."
July 15 "How to help young people learn about the legacy left by the pioneers of every land."
July 22 "How to maintain appropriate relationships among family members separated by divorce."
July 29 "How to respect the privacy of family members and/or roommates."
Aug. 5 "How to be aware of and attentive to the needs and feelings of your spouse."
Aug. 12 "How to make the transition easier both physically and emotionally when moving to a new area."
Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.